Improving a home’s energy efficiency is one the many reasons homeowners today are making the decision to update their existing windows. Energy efficient windows not only reduce your carbon footprint so you feel like you’re doing your part for the environment but they can minimize your utility bills year round.
So it’s a win-win situation.
Living in a climate, like Texas, where the summers are hot and muggy and the winters are short and windy, a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating is important for superior energy performance.
Expressed as a number between 0 and 1, the SHGC measures the amount of solar radiation that enters through a window as heat. The lower the number, the less solar heat it allows in. We suggest aiming for windows with an SHGC of 0.25 or less for optimum energy-efficiency.
There’s much more criteria involved when it comes to determining a window’s performance, but let’s take a look at the basic components of energy-efficient windows so you know exactly what to look for when on the hunt for new windows.
When you purchase new windows for your home you expect improved energy efficiency, as you rightly should, but there are a lot of components that can affect this such as proper installation. That’s why it’s always best to hire the experts who have years of experience installing windows.
SK Windows has been in the business for over 45 years and makes their windows from the highest energy efficient materials so they are beautiful, effective, and meant to last.
Glass affects your windows energy efficiency depending on the number of panes it has - double, triple or single. Double-pane glass insulates nearly twice as well as single-pane windows, while triple-pane glass truly maximizes your home’s energy efficiency.
Just remember the greater the number of panes the less natural light you will have coming through. A great go-to is a double-paned window with Low-E glass and a vacuum-sealed argon fill. It provides significantly more insulation than any single-pane window, and will make a big difference in your home’s energy bills.
To find out how energy efficient your window is you shouldn’t have to look far. All windows in the Energy Star program will have a sticker on the glass with ratings from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
The sticker displays the window’s U-value (resistance to heat loss) and SHGC rating (how much heat enters through the glass). The lower both of these numbers are the more energy efficient your window.
Your choice of frame material will greatly affect your home’s overall energy efficiency. The most common choices are: wood, wood-clad, vinyl, and aluminum. What’s the best window frame material to use? Well, that’s a complicated question as each has their advantages and drawbacks.
Let’s quickly go over some of those so you can decide which material is right for you.
Wood offers the overall best value for insulation, but also requires more upkeep as it has the potential to rot. For overly humid or rainy climates this might not be the best choice. However if done correctly, a high-quality and well-cut wood frame can last generations.
Wood clad window frames offer a low maintenance exterior and a temperature-transfer-resistant wood interior. For those living in wetter climates, be sure your installation is done properly with a rubber water-proof membrane around the cladding, as these window frames can be prone to water intrusion causing rot.
Vinyl frames are less expensive than other materials so they can be a practical choice for those who are budget conscious, but still want improved energy efficiency. Vinyl frames come in minimal colors so it all depends upon your preference.
Aluminum is not the best material in regards to heat transfer and loss, but is the most practical choice for those living in humid or wetter climates. Aluminum window frames can even meet the most stringent building codes for hurricane prone areas as they are incredibly strong.
If this sounds complicated you can always consult a window expert like SK Windows who can assess your exact needs and budget to find the right frame choice for you.
Adding storm windows can be an incredibly cost-effective solution for upgrading your existing windows to a more energy efficient choice. Storm windows restrict the movement of air into and out of existing windows reducing your overall energy consumption.
Coated with a thin, nearly invisible layer of metal, low-e storm windows reflect infrared heat back into the home cutting down on your heating and cooling expenses.
Not only do storm windows offer vinyl window frames similar to a full window replacement, but they also improve curb appeal and reduce noise. These are a great choice for those living in tornado or hurricane prone areas.
While all of the above criteria are key for ensuring you select the most energy efficient windows, you can’t overlook the importance of proper installation. Even the highest quality windows won’t perform effectively if they aren’t installed by professionals. Contact the friendly and expert team at SK Windows Co for a free quote.
Upgrading your home’s windows can improve curb appeal, reduce your carbon footprint, and cut down the overall cost of your energy bills. To us, it sounds like you can’t lose when adding energy-efficient windows to your home.