Energy Efficient Windows

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Selecting New Energy-Efficient Windows

Windows provide our homes with light, warmth, and ventilation, but they can also adversely affect a home’s energy efficiency. You can decrease energy costs by installing energy-efficient ones in your home. If your budget plan is strict, energy efficiency remodelings to existing windows can also help.

Selecting New Energy-Efficient Windows

If your house has older and/or inefficient windows, it could be more cost-efficient to replace them than to try to boost their energy efficiency. Brand-new, energy-efficient ones will ultimately pay for themselves through lower heating and cooling expenses, and sometimes even lighting costs.

When successfully picked out and installed, energy-efficient windows can help limit your heating, cooling, and lighting costs. Boosting window performance in your house involves design, selection, and installation.


Before selecting new windows for your house, figure out what sorts of energy efficient windows will function best and where exactly to improve your home’s efficiency. It’s a smart idea to understand the energy performance ratings are so you ”ll know what energy performance ratings you need based upon your environment and the home’s design.

For classifying energy-efficient windows, ENERGY STAR ® has set up minimum energy performance rating qualifying criteria by climate. Nevertheless, these criteria don’t take into account a home’s design, such as the orientation.

Windows are an essential element in the passive solar home design, which in turn utilizes solar energy at the site to provide home heating, air conditioning, and lighting for a house. Passive solar design methods vary by building location and regional environment, but the standard window guidelines stay the exact same — select, orient, and glass size to optimize solar heat gain in winter and minimize it in summer.

In heating-dominated climates, major glazing areas should typically face south to collect solar heat during the cold winter months when the sun will be low in the sky. In the summer, when the sun is high overhead, overhangs or other shading gadgets stop excessive heat gain.

To become effective, south-facing windows should have a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of above 0.6 to optimize solar heat gain during winter, a U-factor of 0.35 or less to minimize the conductive heat transfer, and a high visible transmittance (VT) for great visible light transfer. See Energy Performance Ratings to find out more about these ratings.

Windows on East-, West-, and north-facing walls really should be reduced while still permitting adequate daylight. It is hard to regulate light and heart through west- and east-facing windows when the sun is low overhead, and these ought to have a low SHGC and/or be shaded. North-facing gather little solar heat, so they are utilized only for lighting. Low-emissivity (low-e) glazing can help control solar heat gain and loss in heating environments.

In cooling environments, particularly reliable strategies feature the special use of north-facing windows and generously shaded south-facing. The ones with low SHGCs are more efficient at diminishing cooling loads.

Some varieties of glazing help in reducing solar heat gain, decreasing the SHGC. Low-e coating is microscopically thin, practically invisible metal or metallic oxide layers deposited directly on the surface of glass — control heat transmission through windows with insulated glazing. Tinted glass absorbs a large fraction of incoming solar radiation through a window, reflective coatings reduce the transmission of solar radiation, and spectrally select coatings filter out 40% to 70% of the heat normally transmitted through insulated glass or glazing while enabling the sum total of light to be transmitted. Except for spectrally selective, these forms of glazing also decrease a window’s VT. See Window Types to learn more about glazing, coatings, tints, and other options when selecting efficient ones.

Improving the Energy Efficiency of Existing Windows

You can enhance the energy efficiency of existing windows by incorporating storm windows, caulking and weatherstripping, and by utilizing treatments or coverings.

Adding storm windows can lessen air loss and greatly improve comfort. Caulking and weatherstripping can lower air leakage. Use caulk for stationary cracks, gaps, or joints below one-quarter-inch wide, and weather stripping for building components that move, like doors and operable windows. Window treatments or coverings can reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. Most treatments, on the other hand, aren’t efficient at lowering air leakage or infiltration.

If you’re building a new home or doing some notable renovation, you should also take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate the window design and selection as an integral aspect of the whole-house design — an approach for constructing an energy-efficient home.


You’ll discover that you have many choices to consider when selecting what types of energy efficient replacement windows you ought to use in your home.

When selecting windows for energy efficiency replacement, it’s important to first look at their energy performance ratings in relation to your climate and your home’s design. This will really help narrow your selection. Pick ones with both low U-factors and low SHGCs to maximize energy savings in temperate enviroments with both cold and hot seasons. Search for whole-unit U-factors and SHGCs, rather than center-of-glass (COG) U-factors and SHGCs. Whole-unit numbers more precisely demonstrate the energy performance of the whole product.

A window’s energy efficiency is dependent upon all of its components. Window frames conduct heat, resulting in its total energy efficiency, primarily its U-factor. Glazing or glass technologies have become truly sophisticated, and developers often specify different varieties of glazing or glass for different windows, based on orientation, climate, building design, etc.

Another necessary consideration is how it operates because some operating types have lower air leakage rates than others, which will improve your home’s energy efficiency.


Even the most energy-efficient window must be correctly installed to assure energy efficiency. Therefore, it’s best to have a professional install your them.

Installation changes depending on the kind of window, the construction of the house (wood, masonry, etc.), the exterior cladding (wood siding, stucco, brick, etc.), and the type (if any ) of a weather-restrictive barrier.

They must be installed according to the manufacturer ‘s recommendations and be correctly air sealed during installation to perform properly. To air seal, the window, caulk the frame and weatherstrip the operable components.