Energy efficiency is a concept that has become central to our way of living, through increased government regulations on renewable energy sources and a growing trend towards environmental consciousness in all aspects of life. Twenty-first-century homes are particularly in need of new and creative ways to manage energy use, but efficiency is about much more than using electricity and utilizing renewable energy sources in the home. Windows are one of the hidden culprits leaking energy (via heat) and money (in your energy bills) in the home. If you want to save both energy and money in your home, energy efficient windows are a step in the right direction. We’ve compiled this guide to help you understand the basics of energy efficient windows.
Energy efficient window composition
While the technical specifications of energy efficient windows are quite complex, there are several basic properties to look for when choosing new units for your home. As far as composition is concerned, it’s best to look for models with low whole-unit U-factors and SHGCs (solar heat gain coefficients). According to Home Improvement Leads, a window’s U-factor is determined by the rate at which it conducts non-solar heat flow, while its SHGC is the fraction of solar radiation that is allowed through a window. Energy.gov has more detailed information on these composition factors.
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There are a few more things to look out for apart from U-factors and SHGCs when choosing energy efficient windows. Generally, windows made with multiple panes of glass, quality casings and frames, and reflective coatings will provide more efficiency than single-paned, older windows. If you’re planning on purchasing new windows, it’s also a good idea to check out their Energy Star ratings, since the best kind of windows for your home varies depending on your local climate.
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Types of energy efficient windows
In addition to the technical specifications and composition of windows, the type and design also help to determine the energy efficiency of your windows. Styles such as awning, fixed, casement, and hopper windows have less air leakage than sliding or hung sash windows and will help to retain heat more efficiently. Most new windows, regardless of their design, come fitted with two or even three panes of glass and will have frames that fit tightly and securely to further reduce air leakage and gaps.
How to make your existing windows more energy efficient
Improving your existing windows’ energy efficiency is relatively simple. Although some repair jobs will require professional help, you can easily add temporary storm windows, caulking and weatherstripping, and window treatments and coverings to help increase the natural efficiency of your windows.
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Furthermore, if your windows are old, rotting, damaged, or broken, they will most likely need either repairing or replacing to help them give your home the security and energy efficiency it needs. If you want to find out more about the basics of energy efficient windows, check out this straightforward and handy guide.