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6 Things to Consider If You Want Energy-Efficient Windows

If you want to save energy and money, find out the six things you need to think about when selecting the best energy-efficient windows for your home.

Improving a home’s energy efficiency is one of the top reasons homeowners choose to replace or update their old windows. Energy-efficient windows not only make your home more comfortable year-round, but they can also help homeowners cut down on utilities, saving both energy and money. When shopping for energy-efficient new or replacement windows, keep these six things in mind:

1. Energy-Efficient Glass A key component of any window is its glass. The right window glass option, optimized for our Kansas climate, can help reduce heating and cooling costs by slowing thermal transfer. With dual-pane or triple-pane glass, inert argon gas can be used between panes of glass to improve insulating properties. Laminated, tempered, tinted and obscure insulating glass can also add ultraviolet protection to help keep your home more comfortable and energy-efficient.

In addition to energy-efficient glass, keeping curtains, shades and blinds closed is another way to improve window energy savings.

2. Window Installation Proper window installation will help prevent air infiltration and even costly water damage to your home. If installed incorrectly, your windows may not operate properly. Check the level, plumb, bowing, square and the reveal to determine if your windows were installed properly. A tightly sealed and properly installed window helps prevent air leaks and drafts, which can help reduce heat loss and increase comfort in your home.

3. Window Placement You can increase your window's energy efficiency by selecting specific low-emissivity (Low-E) glass coatings for different areas of your home. These are layers of thermal protection inside insulating glass that help:

  • Reflect summer heat and retain interior cooling

  • Reflect winter cold and retain interior heat

  • Block harmful UV rays to help prevent fade damage

4. Region In Central Kansas, we have both temperature extremes. In the summer, cooling your home is likely your biggest utility expense. In the winter, heating your home is.

5. Window Frame Construction Your choice of window frame material influences your window’s overall energy efficiency.

  • Wood windows provide excellent insulation. Wood has low conductivity which means wood window frames transfer less heat or cold into your home.

  • Our proprietary fiberglass material offers insulating properties similar to wood. Durable fiberglass windows are made from a thermoset material, meaning it won’t melt or breakdown when exposed to environmental temperature swings. Pella’s fiberglass is the strongest material available for windows, engineered for lasting durability.9

  • Multi-chambered vinyl window frames reduce heat loss for added energy efficiency – and they’re exceptionally easy to care for. Multiple air-filled chambers have insulating properties to slow the transfer of heat.

All Pella windows are available in energy-efficient wood, fiberglass and vinyl options, so you can choose the material that is best suited for your home. Some products are available with optional foam insulation to further improve energy performance.

6. Energy Efficiency Labels For the greatest energy-saving potential, look for windows with labeling that indicates their energy-efficient benefits. Windows with ENERGY STAR® and NFRC labels have been thoroughly tested to meet specific performance standards. Read more about demystifying window labels.

ENERGY STAR® Windows ENERGY STAR® is a voluntary program through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. An ENERGY STAR® window means the government has certified that the product meets or exceeds energy performance standards in your state.1 Replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR® certified windows can help homeowners across the United States reduce their annual heating and cooling costs by 12% on average.

NFRC Energy-Rated Windows The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) is a nonprofit organization for the window industry that developed an energy rating system based on whole-unit product performance – not just the glass performance. It's the only reliable way to determine the entire window’s energy performance and compare products side-by-side. The NFRC label includes two important ratings:

  1. The U-Factor of a window represents the heat rate that flows out of it each hour. The lower the number, the better the unit insulates.

  2. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating measures the amount of solar radiation that enters as heat. The lower the number, the less heat the glass allows in.

Whether you’re shopping for replacement windows ­­or looking for ways to make your home more energy-efficient, the guidelines above can help make sure you’re paying attention to the most important factors. If you’re thinking about installing energy-efficient windows, MPIRE Improvements can help you select the best windows for your home.

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