Windows

April 13th, 2009  |  Published in Energy Tips

Windows can be one of your home’s most attractive features. Windows provide views, day lighting, ventilation, and solar heating in the winter. Unfortunately, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill. During the summer, sunny windows make your air conditioner work two to three times harder. If you live in the Sun Belt, look into new solar control spectrally selective windows, which can cut the cooling load by more than half.

If your home has single-pane windows, as almost half of U.S. homes do, consider replacing them. New double-pane windows with high performance glass (e.g., low-e or spectrally selective) are available on the market. In colder climates, select windows that are gas filled with low-e coatings on the glass to reduce heat loss. In warmer climates, select windows with spectrally selective coatings to reduce heat gain. If you are building a new home, you can offset some of the cost of installing more efficient windows because doing so allows you to buy smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment.

Buying New Windows

New windows are long-term investments that have a large impact on your homes energy systems. Today, there are many new window technologies available that are worth considering, especially those with the ENERGY STAR ® label. Glazing materials now come with a variety of selective coatings and other features; frames are available in aluminum, wood, vinyl, fiberglass, or combinations of these materials. Each type of glazing material and frame has advantages and disadvantages.

Remember, the lower the U-value, the better the insulation. In colder climates, a U-value of 0.350 or below is recommended. These windows have at least double glazing and a low-e coating.