Energy efficient windows are defined as having materials and features that optimize the flow of air or noise into your home and save you money on your energy bills. Let’s take a look at the factors that can help you decide if energy efficient windows are the right choice for your home. No matter what shape of window you are interested in, all windows are built with the same anatomy of a frame and a glass pane.
One type of frame that is both popular and inexpensive is vinyl. Vinyl frames are manufactured out of PVC, which makes them good at insulating but not the most durable.
Wood window frames are a more expensive, aesthetically pleasing window frame choice. If the frame expands and contracts with the weather, the wood may rot and become a poor insulator around the window itself.
Aluminum window frames stand up to many years of use. Perfect for more contemporary homes, they have a low profile and are impervious to weathering like other types of windows. One drawback of aluminum frames is that they are not very energy efficient and can increase your heating bills.
Although it is rather uncommon, fiberglass frames have many positive attributes. The material is extremely durable to extreme temperature and weather, and its composition is similar to glass, so both the window and the frame expand and contract in a similar manner. While more extensive than traditional framing material, fiberglass is very energy efficiency and can help reduce energy costs.
The glass portion of your window can also be optimized for energy efficiency. One way to make a window more energy efficient is by placing a Low-E coating on it. If you live in an arid, hot climate, you will want the Low-E coating on the outside of the window in order to keep out the heat from the sun while still allowing sunlight to enter your home. If you live in a northern climate, the Low-E coating is placed on the interior of the window to keep heat energy inside the home.
Double and triple pane windows use pockets to provide extra insulation from the outside. The pockets of air between each pane of glass are filled with efficiency boosting gasses and then sealed. While more expensive, this window choice greatly improves the insulation of the home.
To find different energy efficient window and frame combinations, look for the Energy Star Program logo. To earn this logo, manufacturers submit their windows to be tested against established efficiency standards and successfully meet or exceed the requirements. The cost of energy efficient windows may be more than non-rated windows, but the energy savings will save you on your heating and cooling bills.
Read the fine print on an Energy Star window because energy efficiency will vary. Other considerations for window selection may include factors like overall appearance or cost. There are many window options so you will be able to find the windows that are best suited for your home.
Once you have decided on the right window and frame combination for your budget, architecture, and climate demands, it is time to decide on window styles.
Make it a Single or Double?
Both single and double hung windows are divided into two sashes. For singles, the upper sash is fixed while the lower sash can move up and down. A double hung window allows both the upper and lower sash to move up and down. Because only one part of the window opens on a single hung model, it is deemed more energy efficient than a double hung window. Single hung windows are less expensive than double hung, but they are harder to clean and offer limited natural air movement in a home.
A Fixed Window
Both transom and glass block windows bring extra light into a home while retaining privacy. With a glass block installation, you get plenty of light without a clear view through the window. Transom windows are commonly fixed windows above other windows but some are available in hinged or crank-out styles.
Hanging With Hinges
Hinged windows can offer advantages in both ventilation and insulation. Side hinged casement windows crank open to allow a large volume of ventilation for the window space. Hinged from the top and made from one seamless piece of glass, awning windows can offer superior insulation.
Anyone undergoing a window replacement project should consider energy efficient options. The choice of frame material and window type can be optimized to assure you maximum energy efficiency and reduce your utility bills. Windows are available at a variety of retailers including Home Depot, Lowes, and Window World.