Homeowners can significantly lower their energy consumption with the proper windows. While the initial cost of energy efficient windows may be more than traditional options, the investment will pay off over time when you save on your utility bills and improve your home’s comfort and durability.
When choosing energy efficient windows, homeowners should keep in mind a few key points to help them determine what features are best for their homes. Some of these factors include U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient SHGC. U-factor measures a window’s insulating value and indicates how well it keeps out unwanted heat, regardless of whether the temperature is hot or cold outside. The lower the U-factor, the better a window insulates.
SHGC indicates how much sun’s heat a window lets into a room and is important for different climates. For example, a window with a low SHGC will allow in most of the sunlight’s heat, which is beneficial for warm areas, while a high SHGC is ideal for colder climates.
The type of frame material you choose also impacts a window’s energy efficiency. Many manufacturers offer frames made from various materials, including vinyl, wood, and aluminum. Each has its pros and cons, so make sure you research the available options to find one that best fits your needs, aesthetic preferences, and budget.
A good rule of thumb is to stick with windows rated at or above the NFRC Energy Star label. This is a good indicator that the window will perform in varying weather conditions and meet government-defined standards of energy efficiency.
According to MidAmerican Energy Company, heating your home is the second largest component of your energy bill and a great place to make savings with quality, energy efficient windows. Keeping your thermostat set two degrees below what you typically use can dramatically reduce your energy costs. Energy efficient windows will keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, resulting in significant savings on your energy bills.
Energy efficient windows are designed to last for decades and reduce maintenance requirements. Their improved insulation and airtight seals keep out unwanted moisture, which can cause condensation and mold. In addition, they are easier to clean and provide soundproofing capabilities that cut down on outdoor noise.
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the multitude of options out there, if you take a step back and consider your goals for your home project, you can find the perfect windows for your home. Start by outlining your wants, needs, and budget. Then talk to an expert from your local Pella showroom and see how we can help you create a customized solution.