Did you know your windows can cause up to 25% of heat loss in your home? That’s why replacing them with energy efficient windows is one of the best ways to improve efficiency and save money. With the new year, kick off your resolutions with an upgrade that can increase the value of your home and decrease your utility bills!
With so many options out there, it can be challenging for homeowners to understand what they need and how to choose the best energy efficient windows for their home. That’s why we’ve compiled this go-to guide to get you started:
The Key Elements of Energy Efficient Windows
The materials from which the frames on your windows are made will have a significant impact on their energy efficiency. Many windows are made from metal, but since metal conducts heat easily it can be a major heat-loss culprit. If you want to reduce the amount of heat your windows lose, consider frames made from wood, vinyl, or fibreglass. Just be aware that wood that because wood is sensitive to weather conditions, it’s important to perform regular maintenance on wood frames.
Frames, essentially, are an opportunity to better insulate your home. If you want your windows to retain heat (or prevent it from getting in during the summer months), one of the best things you can do is insulate them. There are several popular ways to insulate your windows, including weather sealing, insulation film, and cellular shades. During the winter, weather stripping helps correct air leaks and can be done on your own or with a professional.
The glazing on your windows and the spacer will be instrumental in preventing heat loss, so consider the thickness of your windows carefully. Thicker panes improve heat retention, but the type of glazing is also important. For example, using spectrally selective coatings can save 40-70% of the heat normally transferred through glazing, without compromising the ability of light to pass through the panes.
Choose Brands Known for Efficiency
Instead of weighing the specifications of each potential new window you look at, it can help to go directly to brands known for making energy efficient products. Replacement Windows for Dummies recently issued a list of the Top 25 Energy Efficient Window Manufacturers, which can be viewed here. Topping the list are companies like Andersen Windows, Kolbe Windows & Doors, and Windsor Windows.
Look for ENERGY STAR Products
Another way to guarantee the energy efficiency of your new windows is to look for ENERGY STAR certified products. The ENERGY STAR program exists to help customers choose energy efficient appliances and household products so that they can reduce their individual impact on the environment and save money by using fewer resources. By replacing existing windows with ENERGY STAR certified products, the average US homeowner can expect to reduce their household energy bills by 12%. To achieve ENERGY STAR certification, all products must meet or exceed EPA guidelines.
Depending on the climate in your region, you may benefit more from some ENERGY STAR windows than others. To determine the most effective products for the area in which you live, find your climate zone by using the tool built into the ENERGY STAR website. Doing so will give you a much more accurate idea of the products you need for your home than simply looking at a list of recommended brands.
In 2018, make energy efficiency a priority. It’s easy to make upgrades to your home. After you’ve switched out your windows, you can work on small projects like insulating your attic or bigger ones like installing solar panels. In either case, it’s changes like these that can make a difference on your wallet and on the Earth.