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Energy Saving Windows

Last updated on 01/04/2022

Energy saving windows translate into significant savings when you combine efficiency with the relatively inexpensive cost of vinyl replacement windows. To harness the power of saving money, look for efficiency on labels when replacing glass in your home or office. Review the factors below to understand how to make the most of your money when shopping for energy saving windows.

What Makes up Energy Saving Windows

The U.S. Department of Energy created strict criteria for products to meet Energy Star ratings. This is intended to help conservation efforts through strict guidelines that measure U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). These are aimed to help you, the consumer, determine efficiency, which translates into energy savings for your home or office whether you decide to get steel, vinyl, or wooden windows.

The U-factor indicates how much and how quickly windows allow heat outside. A lower U-factor rating or measurement, indicates a window is better prepared to prevent heat loss. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures how well a product blocks the sun's heat. The lower the SHGC, the better a window blocks the heat of the sun from passing through the window. There is more to consider, though.

Furthermore, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), measures SHGC and U-factor, in addition to three more factors. They are Visible Transmittance (VT), Air Leakage (AL) and Condensation Resistance (CR). In addition to the star, also look for NFRC on product labels for energy saving windows because when NFRC approval is given to a product, it represents an exceptional product.

These terms simply tell you all about the important factors in a window; that is, how well do they block light, block air seeping in, block solar heat and how well to they resist condensation. That said, Visible Transmittance indicates how much light a window allows to come through. The more light allowed in, the higher the value on the window's label. Air Leakage (AL) tells consumers how much air comes through the joints of a window. A low air leakage measurement indicates a low level of air passing through the joints of the window.

Condensation Resistance (CR) demonstrates whether a window will allow condensation to collect, or if it will resist it. It is measured from 1 to 100. The higher the number (closer to 100), the better the window resists condensation.

Department of Energy ratings will generally show a map of the U.S., and highlight the appropriateness of a product for your region, or climate. DOE does not require any particular product characteristics to determine energy saving windows. Although, these products generally have shared features, including: strong, well-insulated frames, multiple panes of glass (creates insulation), low-emissivity (low E) glass and gas fills between panes (argon is commonly used to further insulate glass) regardless of material (aluminum, wood, fiberglass, vinyl or composite.) Those are the factors for saving money from energy saving windows.

Different materials have different features, which may help you determine the most energy saving choice for your home or office. Oftentimes, wood is used for custom builds, though it requires a little more tender loving care in the painting and staining department. Vinyl is valued for its low maintenance, long-lasting styles that are scratch resistant and allow no heat in or out, as it does not conduct heat or cold. Aluminum does conduct heat, although a well built window is protected against such heat loss, allowing this material to be considered when purchasing energy saving windows. Fiberglass is ideally lightweight and extremely resilient to withstanding high and low temperatures, saving you the worry and hassle of high-maintenance materials. There are also composite materials that make up energy saving windows too.

Low E Glass Helps in Saving Money

Low E glass is a thin, metallic film on the panes between the glass, to block heat transfer. This helps to further insulate the glass, allowing heat to bounce off the inside of the glass, staying inside your home or office. In the hotter months, the low e glass bounces heat off the outside panes, keeping the heat outside your home or office.

There are two types: soft and hard low e glass, and knowing the difference can equal saving money for you. Hard low e glass is basically a layer of tin sealed as a layer, into the glass. The soft low e glass is typically sprayed in and is typically silver, which oxidizes. It therefore needs to be used only inside an insulated glass. Soft has a higher ability to resist heat loss, and has a higher R-value.

When shopping for energy saving windows, take a close look at the labels to make sure the money you invest in windows will work for you. And, of course, find a reputable, trust-worthy window installer and dealer who can help guide you to the best windows for your home or office.

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