ENERGY STAR’s Definition of Energy-efficient Windows

The United States has diverse weather; some states get a pleasant climate all year round while others experience extremely cold and hot seasons. Despite this reality, improved energy efficiency is a universal virtue celebrated across the country.

If you are planning to conduct a window installation in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, or anywhere else in America for that matter, reducing your HVAC costs should be high on your agenda. To achieve that, you need energy-efficient products.

So, what does make windows energy-efficient? According to ENERGY STAR, below are the most important features you should look for.

Double Glazing

A two-pane configuration allows for thermal (and also acoustic) insulation. The space between the pair of glass sheets can be filled with a gas that reduces the movement of heat within the unit.

Some windows have three panes, which make them far more energy-efficient than their double-pane counterparts. However, the benefits of some triple-pane units are not that apparent or substantial enough to justify their much higher prices.

Gas Fill

Many window manufacturers pump nothing into the void between the panes. Plain air does not provide excellent insulating value, which is why the use of an inert gas became popular.

The most popular gas fill on the market is argon. It offers a healthy balance between performance and cost. Krypton is another sought-after gas fill; it has a superior U-value, an energy rating that measures thermal insulation, but it is much expensive than argon.

Nevertheless, some window brands do not pick argon over krypton, or vice versa. Many of these companies blend the two or combine one or both with others to come up with an energy-efficient and affordable gas fill and develop high-quality windows.

Low-Emissivity Coating

Also known as Low-E coatings, these super-thin metallic layers are applied to the surface of the glass to block the infrared light to minimize heat transfer.

Generally, products with Low-E coatings can reduce energy loss about 30% to 50% better than their plain-glass counterparts. Although they may cost up to 15% more, they can pay for themselves from the day they are installed.

Low-Conductance Spacer

close shot of a window white frame

Among its several roles, creating a gastight seal is perhaps a spacer’s most notable one. It helps prevent any low-conductance gas from escaping and serves as a thermal barrier to keep condensation from forming.

Aluminum has been a common spacer material, but the industry is moving away from it. This metal is notorious for conducting heat, which is why manufacturers are embracing warm-edge spacers, a jargon referring to spacers with better thermal properties than the traditional aluminum ones.

Insulative, Low-maintenance Framing Material

Be particular with the framing material of your windows. It should be an exceptional insulator and a moisture repellent. Not all material options share such characteristics, so understand the qualities of each one before making your decision.

Energy-efficient windows can be a significant expense, but their benefits are unquestionable. Look for the ENERGY STAR seal and pay attention to the NFRC ratings to separate the good products from the bad ones more easily.

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