Your Guide to Replacement Windows and Energy Efficiency

If you’ve been thinking about having the windows in your home replaced, you probably have some very good reasons to want an upgrade. Maybe, for example, you live in an older home and your windows simply look dilapidated and outdated. Or, perhaps you’ve noticed that your household energy bills seem to be rising and you think your windows are to blame.


If the latter is your reason for considering a window replacement project, you aren’t alone. More and more homeowners in the Carolinas and around the United States are emphasizing energy efficiency in their home improvement projects. Even if saving money isn’t your top priority, investing in energy conscious windows is better for the environment because they will help your home’s HVAC units function more efficiently, as well, ultimately helping your appliances last longer – which means they won’t have to be disposed of as quickly, which is a win-win for both the Earth and your wallet!


As you continue reading this guide, you will discover some key things to take into consideration as you begin shopping for new windows that will truly bring your home into the 21st century.


What is the difference between EnergyStar and NFRC?


As you begin looking at window options, you are likely to notice that some styles have EnergyStar ratings, some have NFRC ratings, and some have both. In order to make the most informed decision, it is important to understand the difference between these two energy efficiency ranking systems. 


EnergyStar is a government program operated jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy. Products that receive the EnergyStar label must meet various government standards of efficiency. Windows, for example, must have low levels of heat transfer and provide high-quality insulation. 


The NFRC label, on the other hand, is granted by the National Fenestration Rating Council. This independent, third-party, non-profit organization offers objective performance ratings to help consumers gauge which windows offer the best performance without any type of bias. 


Energy Efficiency Terms to Know


U-Factor – The U-Factor of a window can also be referred to as its “transfer coefficient”. This measurement helps consumers understand how well any given window will insulate your home – various features, such as Low-E glass panes and double- or triple-paned glass play a role in the U-Factor. Lower U-Factor numbers are better. 


Solar Heat Gain Coefficient – The solar heat gain coefficient is a number that tells consumers how effectively a particular window model blocks heat from the sun. This number is especially important for homeowners in most parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, where the summers, in particular, can be quite sunny and hot. 


If, however, you live in a region of the Carolinas where the weather is colder – such as the mountains of North Carolina – you should also pay attention to the solar heat gain coefficient. Those who reside in more temperate parts of the states should hone in on windows that have low numbers, while those in cooler locales should look for higher numbered ratings 


Air Leakage – Air leakage is a fairly self-explanatory term that indicates how much air is likely to seep through a window frame. The more drafty a window is, the less efficient it will, of course, be. Look for low air leakage numbers to make sure the interior of your home remains comfortable all year long. 


When you’re ready to have new windows installed, contact the expert team at Hatch Homes with any questions you may have. We are here to make sure your upcoming project goes smoothly from start to finish.

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Hatch is your partner for exterior remodeling.

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