The right energy-efficient windows can help you save on your energy bills, make your home more comfortable, and boosting your home’s value. In this blog, window replacement contractor Ashmen Installations Inc. shares a quick guide on how to choose energy-efficient windows.
Look for the ENERGY STAR® and Energy Performance Labels
If circumstances do not allow much time to compare replacement windows, make sure that the windows are ENERGY STAR certified. Even without looking at specification, you will have the assurance that your new windows will help you save on your energy costs.
If you do have the time for some window shopping, or if you need windows for specific applications, then look for the Energy Performance Label. While it displays various ratings, there are two that you should pay close attention to:
U-Factor — U-Factor rates how much heat can pass through a window. The lower the U-Factor, the better the insulation. Some products may be rated using R-Value instead of U-Factor. While both relate to insulation, R-Value measures resistance. Therefore, a window with a low U-Factor rating will have a correspondingly high R-Value.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) — SHGC rates how much heat from direct sunlight passes through the window. Look for low SHGC ratings. West and south-facing walls may require windows with high SHGC to minimize heat gain during summer.
Choose the Frame Material Carefully
The frames hold the entire windows assembly together, and is the part that window installers fasten to the wall opening. Window frames can be made from materials such as vinyl, wood and composite, each with varying advantages in terms of insulation, maintenance requirements, and resistance to heat and moisture. Experienced window contractors like us can help you find the right balance between these features.
Glass is a naturally conductive material. Therefore, you can count traditional single-pane glass out of the equation, as it readily conducts heat. Choose insulated glass, which should have at least two panes. The airspace between the glass panels, which can be optionally filled with an insulating gas, generally has low U-Factor ratings. Low emissivity (Low-E) coatings can help block UV rays and solar heat, which results in low SHGC ratings.