The 411 on energy-efficient windows

Kitchen with Infinity from Marvin picture windows

If you’ve ever felt like you can hear everything happening in your neighborhood when sitting next to one of your closed windows, then you know what it’s like to have windows that aren’t energy-efficient.

Replacing your windows can not only make your home eco-friendlier, but they can also improve curb appeal, protect indoor items from ultraviolet (UV) damage, and minimize outdoor noise.

Components of an Energy-Efficient Window

Various features contribute to the energy efficiency of windows. Ones you purchase should have some or all of the following:

A long-lasting frame with minimal upkeep.

At least two panes of glass with air or nontoxic gas like argon or krypton in between to enhance insulation. Gas is more effective.

A warm-edge spacer to ensure adequate distance between the panes.

Coatings, such as Low-E, on the glass to reflect infrared and UV light.

The Right Ratings

Additionally, be sure to look for the ENERGY STAR® sticker when shopping for energy-efficient windows. This government-backed designation means a lot of the research has been done for you. In 2021, it qualifies you to earn up to a $200 tax credit as well.

ENERGY STAR®-certified windows will also have a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label. This sticker has four ratings to know about:

• U-Factor – The window’s insulation ability and heat conduction speed.

• Visible transmittance – How much natural light the window allows in.

• Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) – The window’s capacity to keep out heat from sunlight.

• Air leakage – The amount of air that comes in through the window (drafts).

National Fenestration Rating Council label for energy efficient windows

Sometimes you may see a condensation resistance rating as well. These are optional for the manufacturers.

Different ratings are appropriate for different climates. The majority of Georgia falls into the South-Central zone, so energy-efficient windows used in our region should have a U-Factor of 0.30 or below and SHGC of 0.25 or below.

For more information about energy-efficient labels, visitwww.energystar.gov or www.nfrc.org.

Kitchen with Infinity from Marvin picture windows

Makes and Models

There are plenty of styles and frame materials to choose from. Some top frame materials include fiberglass, composite and vinyl. Regarding styles, the team at SoftLite Windows & Doors notes that double-hung and casement windows are quite popular and highly efficient. North Georgia Windows emphasizes that the proper installation of your new windows is equally important. The money you save in energy costs can quickly blow away if your windows aren’t properly installed. Time and money needed for maintenance are also factors to consider when purchasing new windows. www.soft-lite.com, www.ngwindows.com

For more information on eligible tax credits for energy efficiency, please visit www.irs.gov.

5 Ways To Bump Up the Energy Efficiency Of Your Old Windows

If replacing one or all of your windows isn’t in the cards right now, try these suggestions to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
1. Keep window sealant fresh and in good condition
2. Add storm windows
3. Hire a professional to weatherstrip and seal air leaks
4. Regularly replace your air filter
5. Make sure heating and cooling ducts are achieving peak performance

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