Energy-efficient windows can help you save money on energy costs while also improving the comfort of your home. However, choosing the appropriate windows to enhance efficiency, comfort, and safety while maintaining a stylish appearance may feel overwhelming once you start searching the wide variety of windows available. Fortunately, modern windows are labeled with standardized window performance ratings, which may help you choose windows that best meet your needs and budget. Here is how to read and understand window energy efficiency labels and save money.
The ENERGY STAR Certification is probably the window energy efficiency label most people are familiar with. The U-factor and SHGC values are used to determine ENERGY STAR certification. This certification analyzes the NFRC’s overall window thermal test findings to develop zones for specific sections of the nation, after which it recommends U-factor and SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) values. The U-factor or U-value measures the window’s ability to resist heat loss, and the SHGC measures how much heat is able to enter through the glass. The lower these numbers are, the better the window will perform.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) assists consumers in comparing window performance by providing ratings such as U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Air Leakage, Visible Transmittance, and Condensation Resistance. Test standards for NFRC labels include NFRC 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500.
The National Accreditation and Management Institute (NAMI) is an independent company that inspects and certifies windows, doors, and other building goods. It rates energy performance based on metrics such as U-Factor and SHGC. A NAMI Certification Label will reflect the standard to which the product was tested, as well as the name of the production site, the grade or performance level attained, the product’s series or model name, and any additional relevant information.
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AMAA) certification uses three different tests, including air leakage, water leakage, and structural strength. Thermally tested items can earn a Silver Certification label, whereas those evaluated for structural, air and water performance, and thermal performance can obtain a Gold Certification label.
When shopping for windows that are energy efficient, you want to look for those that use Low-E, or low-emissivity, glass. Low-emissivity (Low-E) glass is a glass coating that helps your windows save energy. Low-E glass reflects heat back into the room, making it warmer in the winter. It reflects heat away from your home in the summer, keeping it cooler. Also, this glass filters the majority of the sun’s damaging UV rays, which helps to keep your carpet, furniture, and window treatments from deteriorating.
These are common in many residences around the country, and for good reason. They are very energy efficient and have a classic look on almost any home. The bottom of a double-hung window lifts up to open the unit, making them easy to operate as well to ensure they are fully closed to avoid unnecessary air leaks.
Casement windows, which have a crank that swings the window outward to open, actually seal themselves off tighter when wind comes in toward the house and are popular in windy locations. They occasionally require some hinge and seal maintenance to ensure their continued stability and effectiveness, but they will keep the cold winter chill out of your home.
Manor proudly offers window products from two of the most trusted names in the industry; Pella and Marvin. The professionals at Manor can help you choose the energy-efficient windows that fit your home and budget and perform a professional installation to ensure they will perform their best and keep your energy costs down. Get a free estimate on a window replacement with Manor today!