The average American spends roughly $1,350 on their home’s electric bill each year, which means an average consumption of 10,764 kWh (kilowatt hour) annually. Heating your home is one of the largest uses of electricity, so anywhere that heat escapes your home costs you comfort and money. The most common places for energy to escape your home are windows and doors. While doors and windows provide ventilation and allow light into your home, your electric bills can feel like a headache.
At Lakeside Exteriors, energy efficiency in a home remains one of our top priorities. We have helped hundreds of homeowners save money while making their home more energy efficient. You can alleviate the headache of a high-energy bill and loss of electricity. Get started with new energy efficient windows.
Common Energy Efficient Terminology
Don’t shop for replacement windows blindly. Know the proper terminology and the factors that make windows as efficient as possible.
- R-Value – R-Value is a key term associated with energy efficiency. A higher R-Value equates to a more efficient window. It measures how well a window resists heat flow. An energy efficient window normally uses a form of gas, such as argon, between its glass panes for insulation. The insulation creates more resistance to heat, meaning the heat produced from your home remains inside your home, and you use less energy.
- Spacers – Spacers are the areas between panes that hold the window together. They provide the room to house an insulating gas, such as argon.
- U-Factor – The U-factor is closely related to the R-Value. However, the U-factor measures the rate of heat loss for the window. This means that the lower the U-factor, the more efficient the window. The U-factor is measured in Btu/h·ft²·°F. For excellent performance, look for a U-factor of 0.25. However, any U-factor of 0.4 or lower is a quality window.
- Low-E – A low emissivity window reflects heat. The low-e plays into the overall U-factor, as it is a part of measuring insulation. It is a reflective coating that redirects the heat either back into the room or back outside, keeping your heated air inside the house when it is cool outside and keeping your cooled air inside the house when it is hot outside. It can also help protect your home’s interior from sunlight.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
The SHGC is the measurement of the amount of solar radiation transferring from the outside of the window to the interior of the home. The lower this number, the better a window performs and protects your home.
Visible transmittance indicates the amount of light that passes through a window. Certain coatings can be applied to a window to stop radiation while still allowing light to pass through. Having a low SHGC and a high visible transmittance means maximizing light while minimizing solar damage.
Choose the Right Window
Choosing the right window means looking at the previously mentioned factors, as well as the materials the window frames are made out of. Typical energy efficient windows can be vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, wood or wood-clad. Vinyl remains a durable and maintenance-free material while aluminum is the strongest material. However, neither are the most energy efficient. Wood is the most energy efficient, but comes with a great deal of maintenance. Fiberglass is an extremely durable and high performance material but tends to be expensive. A wood-clad window is a cross between a wood and a vinyl or a wood and an aluminum window. While this form of window provides durability and efficiency, it requires proper sealing. If not sealed correctly, leaks can cause rotting in the wood interior. Choosing the right material means knowing which material will work best for your home’s climate. So take the time to research your needs.
Benefits of Energy Efficient Replacement Windows
Energy efficient windows can greatly reduce your energy bill. On average, replacing outdated windows with new, energy efficient windows save the American household upwards of 15% annually. And while such windows can create savings, they also add comfort to a home. Drafty windows not only let energy out, they also cause cold drafty areas in your home. Energy efficient windows eliminate the draftiness and provide added comfort.
And while windows allow beautiful sunlight into your home, that light can also be damaging to flooring, furniture and other home valuables. Having windows that can eliminate some of the UV damage will help protect your home’s interior. Energy efficient windows can help protect up to 75% of UV radiation, and while this is not the complete solution to interior home protection, it
does remain a vital factor.
Hire a Quality Window Contractor
Energy efficient windows are rendered useless without proper installation and care. A good window contractor can custom fit a window for a seamless finish to prevent air leakage. Quality window contractors have proper certification—meaning they know exactly what they are doing when installing your window for maximum efficiency.
Do your research on contractors beforehand to ensure they use high quality, energy efficient replacement windows. A quality contractor with quality windows is a force to be reckoned with. At Lakeside Exteriors, we specialize in Infinity from Marvin windows, one of the most energy efficient replacement windows on the market.
Efficiency Starts Today
Having an energy efficient home does not have to mean compromising beauty and comfort. We, at Lakeside Exteriors, want to see your home be all that it can be. Contact us to schedule a free window consultation today. The benefits of energy efficiency are just a phone call away.