One of the largest consumers of energy in the home is heat loss and gain through the windows. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 percent of heating and air conditioning use is through this.
Energy Star has found that energy-efficient windows can save homeowners from losing seven to 15 percent of energy, a monetary total of up to $111 a year in energy bills. This number has also been proven to change with the type of windows a home has, such as single-pane or double-pane.
If you're interested in installing energy efficient windows, keep the following information in mind from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy:
- Energy-star related: Having an Energy Star label on any product you buy for the home is a great indicator of its efficiency. To be Energy Star compliant, these windows must also have an NRFC label, which indicates window performance ratings in terms of U-Value (preventing heat from escaping) SHGC level (the amount of solar energy transmitted through the window) and air leakage.
- Extra air-tightness: The ACEEE recommends looking at air leakage specifications. Although there are many to choose from, experts believe having casement and awnings are a great choice.
- Glazing: A low-E coating, such as a transparent layer of silver or tin oxide can help reduce solar heat gain, without reducing visibility.
- Go bigger: Energy performance is most heavily maximized by choosing windows with larger unbroken glazing, instead of mutli-pane windows. This has been known to reduce air leakage.
Upgrading to energy efficient windows is one of the best things you can do as a homeowner, for both your wallet and the earth.