Winter is almost over and summer will be here before we know it. No matter the season, your windows are an important part of your home that shouldn’t be overlooked. Over the past several years, energy efficient windows have entered the market. But what is an energy efficient window? Can they actually save you money and do they really bring comfort to your home?
Before diving into the bits and pieces of the window, let’s start by defining energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is used to describe something that only uses the amount of energy that is needed, without wasting any unnecessary energy. Therefore, energy efficient windows are built to keep the heat in during the winter and the heat out during the summer. Not only is your home comfortable all year round, but you will also save money!
Now, how can you determine if a window is energy efficient? Easy, just look for the efficiency ratings sticker located on the window’s glass. All energy efficient windows are ENERGY STAR certified – meaning they meet government energy code standards. The two main energy codes are the U-Value – measures the entire windows resistance to heat loss- and Solar Heat Coefficient Ratings (SHGC) – measures heat transferred into your home through the glass; for both, a lower number indicates better efficiency. Manufacturers use these standards to create optimized windows that reduce overall energy needed in order to maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home.
So, you’re ready to buy your new windows but there are still a few more factors to consider. Including, choosing the frame material and glass options.
Selecting the window frame material doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it’s time to make your selection:
Vinyl windows are becoming more popular now that they’re available in more colors such as bronze and black. Oftentimes, they are one of the more cost-effective type of window, easy to maintain, and most importantly are energy efficient. Overall, vinyl windows are easily customizable to fit your style.
Aluminum windows have been used to give that contemporary/industrial look for years. They are also commonly known for their toughness and often seen in coastal areas that may be impacted by hurricanes. The downside is that the metal frame allows for heat to rapidly transfer through. Therefore, aluminum windows require special frames that are known as thermally broken, among other things, in order to meet ENERGY STAR.
Wood windows have two categories of their own – wood and Aluminum-Clad. Wood windows are known for their traditional and luxury appearance. Those in humid regions should select a wood that is treated to prevent future rotting. All in all, they are the most energy efficient window. Aluminum-Clad windows are also known to be energy efficient and are just as popular as vinyl. These windows have an Aluminum exterior frame that is low maintenance and a wooden interior frame that keeps the heat out of the home. Both categories offer a wide selection of styles and colors that allow you to personalize your window.
Now, here is what you need to know when selecting the glass for your windows. The goal is to keep the heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. This can be obtained by selecting a double pane (double glass for better insulation) window with Low-E coating (reflects heat out while allowing sunlight in). Depending on your location, Argon gas (safe gas used for better insulation) may be required in order to meet ENERGY STAR energy codes in your area. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat loss or heat gain makes up 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling use. So, start saving money by choosing your new energy efficient window!
Gulf & Basco is a leading window supplier in Houston. With our complete window line and experts, you will find the perfect energy efficient window. Stop by today and find out more!