From U-Factors to UV Rays, All You Need to Know
Did you know that 25% to 30% of your home’s heating or cooling bill is spent on heat gain or loss through the windows? That’s more than a quarter of the money you pay to run your furnace or air conditioner taken up by inefficiency. While no window can perfectly eliminate gain or loss, energy efficient windows can go a long way to help you better insulate your home, reduce your energy consumption, minimize your energy bill and help the environment.
It’s no wonder that there are government and industry rating systems and recommendations to help you make the most informed choice about what energy efficient window might be right for you. But these systems can sometimes seem impenetrable and meaningless without understanding the different kinds of benefits and savings energy efficient windows offer. Below is a quick primer to assist you on your way to bettering your home and helping the environment—with windows!
Bottom-Line Benefits of Energy Efficient Windows
Replacing your existing windows is not inexpensive, but it might be a wise decision for any one of the many benefits offered by energy efficient ones, including:
- Savings on utility bills. The Efficient Windows Collaborative, a public-private non-profit promoting efficient windows, estimates that replacing your existing windows can save you at least 15% on your monthly heating costs in cold climates and between 11% and 37% in hot climates. New homes benefit too: by 24% for cold climates and at least 12% in hotter ones. Those are benefits you can take to the bank.
- Consistent comfort. Inefficient windows become places where air is exchanged between your home and the outside world. Cold air can pool by your windows, fall to the floor and create an uncomfortable draft while hot air and excessive sunlight can warm rooms in your house to an unpleasant degree. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has determined that the more efficient your windows, the lower the probability of discomfort you’ll experience at home.
- Avoid condensation. Have you ever had droplets form on your window panes during the winter? Did this moisture drip to the floor, leaving streaks on your wall? Energy efficient windows can reduce the occurrence of condensation and help save you from streaks, corrosion or other damage caused by moisture.
- Protect your furniture from sunlight. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can damage your skin, of course, but they can also damage your sofa, carpets and wood floors through fading. Energy efficient windows can come with low-emissivity coatings that not only improve the insulating abilities of your windows, but protect your home’s things from UV damage as well.
Which Energy Efficient Window is Right for Me?
Depending on whether you live in a hot or a cold climate, what you need from a window might be different. There are three factors that can play a particularly important role in determining which energy efficient window is right for your home:
- The U-Factor. This is the rate at which your windows permit non-solar heat to be exchanged between your home and the outside world. The lower the U-Factor, the less heat transferred and the more energy efficient your window is. Lower U-Factors are helpful for both those who want to keep the heat in and those who want to keep the heat out.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). This number reflects the amount of heat produced by the sun’s rays in your home through the window. The lower the number, the less heat can be produced. Those in cold climates might therefore want a higher number to allow the sun’s rays to provide some warmth outside of summer, while those who enjoy the hot sun most of the year might prefer the solar-blocking properties of a low SHGC.
- Condensation Resistance. For those who live in cold climates a window with a higher number, which will be more resistant to forming water droplets indoors, might be the right choice.
Though energy efficient windows can do a lot of work to help your home heating and cooling costs, they can only work properly if installed correctly. Great companies like Local Home Pro provide the level of expertise necessary to ensure the maximum benefit from your beautiful new windows.