Are you considering replacing your windows in order to improve your home’s energy efficiency? This is one of the smartest decisions a homeowner can make! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat gain and loss through windows is responsible for 25–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use (and thereby energy costs).
Replacing your existing windows with energy efficient alternatives will not only save you money on utility bills, but is also good for the planet and can make your home more comfortable to live in.
If you decide to replace your windows, there will be several key decisions you will need to make along the way. Style and design certainly play a role, but you should also consider energy usage, labeling and warranties.
When shopping for energy efficient windows, it is important to know how to read an energy efficiency label. These labels offer key information about performance ratings by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and serve as a reliable tool for comparing products.
Your local climate will play a critical role in choosing the right energy efficient windows for your home:
- In colder climates, look for windows with a low U-Factor (the lower the U-factor, the greater a window’s resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value)
- In warmer climates, look for windows with a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (the lower the SHGC, the less solar heat a window transmits into the home)
- In temperate climates, look for windows with both low U-factors and low SHGCs to maximize energy savings
When reading energy efficiency labels, be sure to look for whole-unit U-factors and SHGCs, rather than center-of-glass numbers. Whole-unit numbers more accurately reflect the energy performance of the entire product.
In addition to heat loss and gain, other factors to consider when choosing energy efficient windows include:
- Visible Transmittance (VT): a number that indicates the amount of visible light transmitted; the higher the VT, the more light that is transmitted (and the less artificial lighting that is needed)
- Air Leakage (AL): a number that indicates the amount of air that passes through a square foot of window area (this is especially problematic in older windows); the lower the AL, the less air that will pass through cracks in the assembly
- Condensation Resistance (CR): a number that indicates how well a window resists the formation of condensation on the inside surface; the higher the number, the better a product is able to resist condensation
Lastly, it is important to have your new energy efficient windows installed by a reliable, trustworthy contractor. If the windows are not installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, the product may not perform as intended and your warranty may be voided.
Unique Home Solution uses Home Guard Innovations windows, which are among the most secure, durable and energy efficient windows on the market. Home Guard Innovations windows are Energy Star rated and designed to decrease your heating and cooling costs.
Looking to install energy efficient replacement windows on your home in the greater Indianapolis or Cleveland areas? Contact Unique Home Solutions today for a free quote!