As a homeowner, one of the most important things you need to think about regularly is the amount of energy your household consumes. In fact, you receive a monthly reminder of this figure in the form of your electric bill.
If you’re particularly energy-conscious, you probably already own or are thinking of switching to ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and know a lot of energy-saving tips and tricks. But did you know that one of the best ways to keep your consumption low is by installing high-performance replacement windows?
How Inefficient Windows Waste Energy
According to the US Energy Administration’s 2010 Residential Energy Consumption Survey, the results of which were released in 2012, Americans use 47.7% of their total energy consumption to heat and cool their homes. And of this fraction, between 48% and 87% is wasted through inefficient windows. That’s a lot of energy and money out your window!
How High-Performance Windows Save Energy
Energy-efficient windows help lower your total energy consumption in three ways:
- by controlling how much HEAT passes in and out of your home,
- by controlling how much SUNLIGHT enters your home, and
- by controlling how much AIR leaks in and out of your home.
They accomplish this through the combined action of high-performance glazing, low-conductivity frames, viscous gas fills and warm-edge spacers. Window manufacturers use various combinations of energy-saving components to enable their products to achieve the desired performance ratings.
Speaking of which, the performance ratings used by organizations like the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), ENERGY STAR and the US Department of Energy are all based on how well they control heat, sunlight and air.
Window Performance Ratings
- U-factor – a measure of a window’s insulating capacity or resistance to heat flow
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – a measure of the amount of solar radiation transmitted through a window
- Visible Transmittance (VT) – a measure of the amount of visible light transmitted through a window
- Air Leakage (AL) – a measure of the amount of air that passes through each square foot of window area; an optional performance rating
- Condensation Resistance (CR) – a measure of a window’s resistance to condensation formation between panes; an optional performance rating
Check out the continuation of this three-part blog series to learn more about the benefits of installing energy-efficient windows in your home.