Having energy efficient window is a major concern for both new and existing homes. In fact, heat gain and loss through windows make up 25-30% of heating and cooling use for residential homes. If you’re current windows are in good condition, taking certain steps to reduce the amount of energy loss through them can keep your home comfortable without running up your energy bills. If you’re looking at new windows as part of a replacement or new construction, you should get the most energy efficient ones that you can afford. You also want to get windows that will work well in the South Texas climate.
Features of Energy Efficient Windows
There are two main parts to energy efficient windows:
- Frame Materials – The material that’s used to build a window frame is an important part of maximizing energy efficiency. Wood, vinyl, composite, and fiberglass are some of the most common types of materials being used to make window frames (though the cost will vary for each one).
- Glass – In terms of energy efficiency, double-pane (or dual-pane) glass will usually perform better than single-pane glass. The space between each pane provides an extra layer of insulation from the heat and cold. Low-E glass is also a good choice for conserving energy, because it reduces the amount of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared light penetration (which will limit heat transfer).
If you want to know if a window is energy efficient, you can start by looking for the ENERGY STAR or National Federation Rating Council (NFRC) logo on the window you want to buy or install. Window installers and companies will often promote products that are NFRC labeled and ENERGY STAR certified, so you can know right away if they sell and install energy efficient windows.
Look for the certification label on every window you buy. These ratings will allow you to measure and compare the energy efficiency of similar products. Manufacturers must be able to pass an independent performance test created by the NFRC if they want to get an ENERGY STAR certification on a window. This test measures and rates the energy efficiency of a window based on the following factors:
- U-Factor – How well it prevents heat from escaping.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – It’s ability to block heat caused by sunlight.
- Visible Transmittance (VT) – The amount of light that’s allowed to pass through the window.
Energy efficient windows will not only cut your energy costs but will also affect the value of your home. According to data that was collected by Remodeling Magazine in 2018, the national return-on-investment (ROI) average for a wood window replacement is 69.5% (which is higher than the averages for major kitchen remodels and bathroom additions).
Updating Your Current Windows to Improve Energy Efficiency
If your windows are still in good condition, you can take steps to improve their efficiency. This would be the most cost-effective way to make your home more comfortable and to lower your energy costs. Some of the things you can do include the following:
- Check your windows for air leaks.
- Caulk and weatherstrip.
- Add window coverings that are more energy efficient.
- Add storm windows or panels.
- Add solar control film.
- Add exterior shading (such as awnings, exterior blinds, and overhangs).
If you’re making any improvements to your windows’ energy efficiency, you want to make sure the installation is done properly. You should always double-check them for air leaks after you have made the improvements.
Replacing Your Windows
If you decide to replace your windows, you will need to make several decisions about the type of window you purchase and the type of replacement you’ll be making. You might be able to replace your windows in their existing frame, but you should discuss it with a professional installer to find out if this strategy will work for you.
You also want to decide what kind of features you want your new windows to have, which may include the following:
- Frame types.
- Glazing types.
- Gas fills and spacers.
- Operation types.
According to Home Advisor, double-pane windows can improve your energy efficiency by up to 24 percent during the winter months and up to 18 percent in the summer. While their upfront cost is higher, the effect it will have on your energy bills will be noticeable. Because you have less heat and cold coming through your windows, the cost to heat and cool your home will go down considerably. But if you want to maximize their benefit, you will have to replace all of your old and failing windows instead of just one.
If you’re looking for one of the best places for window replacement in Corpus Christi, be sure to reach out to Bayfront Exteriors.