Basically, energy efficient windows are home windows designed to provide normal ventilation and illumination while helping you to minimize the transfer of heat into or out of your home. They insulate your home and protect you from the harmful effects of sunlight.
If you want to install energy efficient windows in your home to reduce the cost of heating or cooling your home, here are some of the important factors to consider.
What Makes Window Energy Efficient?
Most windows that carry the Energy Star certification have a number of common features. Although all of them are not required, the organization still considers them to be important features. They include features such as:
- – Quality Frame Materials: A wide range of durable framing materials, which require low maintenance, help to provide better insulation and minimize heat transfer. Aluminum and vinyl are good examples of popular framing materials.
- – Multiple Panes: More than one pane of glass with the space in between filled with gas or air, provides better insulation than just one pane of glass. For greater energy efficiency, some glass manufacturers use three or more panes to offer sound proofing and impact resistance.
- – Low-E Glass: A special coating is sometimes applied to reflect infrared light. This type of glass keeps the heat out in summer and retains heat during winter. It also reflects the dangerous UV light from the sun and helps you to protect your furniture and curtains from fading.
- – Warm Edge Spacers: A spacer helps to keep the window panes at the current distance from each other. Some spacers also insulate the edges of the panes and reduce heat transfer.
Now that you understand how to assess these features, it is vital to note that to qualify for Energy Start status, the two main metrics used are:
- * U-value: a measure of the window’s resistance to loss of heat.
- * Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: a measure of the quantity of heat that comes into the house through the window’s glass.
Window Types Designed for Efficiency
These window designs have proved to be more efficient than others:
- -Casement Windows: These windows have a crank that swings the window out when you open it. Casement windows seal themselves better and offer better wind resistance when the wind is blowing toward the home. They are commonly used in areas with strong winds. But they need some maintenance to keep them stable and efficient.
- -Double-hung Windows: The base of the window slides out to open it. Popular in homes built in the early part of the last century, these windows can offer moderate efficiency in climates that don’t have extreme weather. The air intrusion in between the sliders makes them less efficient than casement windows.
- – Picture Windows: These windows remain closed, they are not supposed to be opened, and they are made in various shapes and sizes. With the right choice of glass, multiple panes, and gas filling, these windows can be highly energy efficient.
Installing Energy Star certified windows will reduce your energy bills. These windows will save you money over either single-pane or double-pane clear glass windows. *Energy Star estimates that you could save between $126 and $465 per year by replacing single pane windows and between $27 and $111 per year by replacing your double pane windows.[i]
The amount of cost savings offered by energy efficient windows varies depending on the climate. In climates that have a lengthy heating season, non-efficient windows permit a lot of heat loss. But energy efficient windows will help to lower heat loss, reduce air leakage, provide warm window surfaces, and minimize condensation.
In climates with a longer cooling season, non-energy efficient windows will increase heat gain in the house. But energy efficient windows with low-E coatings will help to reflect unwanted solar heat and keep the home cool without darkening the interior of the home. Installing energy efficient windows in hot climates can also help to reduce air leakage and increase the savings on cooling costs.
Installing energy efficient windows will offer you multiple benefits now and it will also serve as one of the major factors that will improve the resale value of your home. You could also qualify for tax incentives in certain states and communities.