When temperatures start to drop, drafty windows and doors can quickly turn into rising utility bills. New energy efficient windows and doors are crucial to maintaining your home's comfort all year long, especially during the coldest months. In fact, replacing single-pane glass windows with ENERGY STAR® qualified products can save you $125 to $450 on energy costs annually. To maximize a home's energy efficiency, consider the following tips:
Start at the Front
A home's front door can play a vital role as one of the first lines of defense against the elements. If a door doesn't close properly or lets in a draft, you'll pay the price in your utility bills. Check the weatherstrip for any gaps around the door. If issues can't be easily fixed, it may be time to replace the door.
Choosing windows, patio doors and exterior doors with insulated Low-E glass is an important step in making a room more energy efficient. This special coating is designed to reflect infrared light and keep a home both warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
- Check the Compass: The direction windows and doors face can make a big difference in the sun's intensity level within the home. South- and west-facing windows and doors should have the highest level of UV protection.
- Calculate the Savings: Beyond the initial purchase price of a product, consider the long-term value that energy efficient products offer in terms of annual measurable savings. In addition to the savings listed above, many local utilities offer rebates for purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified windows and doors.
- Give Your Home an Energy Makeover: A survey or audit of a home's energy usage and costs can identify specific ways to reduce your home energy bills. Many state energy offices and local utilities offer energy audit services, or may be able to provide other sources for this service. ENERGY STAR offers a tool to assess your home and compare your household's energy use to others across the country and to get recommendations for improvement.
Understanding Energy Efficiency Terms
There are a number of factors that impact the energy efficiency of windows. Here are a few terms that will help.
- Low-E Glass: Low-E — or low emissivity — is an invisible metallic coating on the glass designed to reflect infrared light, keeping heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. It also reflects part of ultraviolet light to protect interior furnishings from fading prematurely. Low-E is often the best choice for energy efficiency and frequently standard on many products.
- U-Factor: U-Factor is an important number to consider and use when comparing windows for insulation value. Since windows are a complex assembly, U-Factor considers all contributions to insulation and heat transfer.
- Glazing: Glazing options may vary by region. Double pane is the most common. Other options might include: single glazed, which is typically only found in southern climates and triple glazed which is often better suited for more northern areas.
- SHGC: Efficiency is also measured by Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), which indicates the ability to block the heat generated by sunlight. The lower the SHGC, the more heat is blocked.
- VLT: Experts also evaluate Visible Light Transmission (VLT), which is the percentage of sunlight that penetrates a window or door. Higher percentages mean more light will enter through the glass.
Click here to calculate how much you can save with new windows.