Choosing the right windows for your home is a lot more complicated than it used to be. There’s been so much innovation in window technology over the past few decades that it’s not just about style and functionality anymore. Those qualities are still important, of course, but they’re no longer the only things that people look for.
Today, the number one concern for most homeowners is energy efficiency. Why? Electric bills are high and continuing to increase. Coupled with rising awareness of our dependency on non-renewable energy it’s clear why energy-efficient technology is more critical than ever.
Why Choose Energy-Efficient Windows?
Energy-efficient windows help keep the desired temperature in and the undesired temperature out. That means your HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard, which ultimately saves you money.
HVAC systems are one of the largest drains on electricity in any home. They cost a lot of money to run, especially when they’re trying to cool down a house that’s poorly insulated. Energy-efficient windows can help reduce your energy usage and ultimately increase the lifespan of the HVAC system — saving you even more.
With high-efficiency windows in your home, you get to use less electricity without sacrificing comfort. It’s a win-win.
The Four Factors That Influence Energy Efficiency
Getting new windows installed on your home is a big decision, and there are certain things you should know before you get started. Here are four essential factors that influence energy-efficient windows.
Windows are mostly made of glass, so it stands to reason that glass plays a significant role in energy efficiency. Triple-pane glass is the best choice for exceptional insulation. As the name suggests, it’s three times as effective as single-pane glass. The more panes you have, the more insulative the window.
It doesn’t end there, though. You also want to consider the makeup and materials used to create and fuse the glass. For instance, inert argon gas can be used between the panes to reduce thermal transfer.
On that topic, gas type is something to consider. With certain gas types and blends you are able to get pretty close to what a triple pane option would rate in terms of efficiency. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, “A mixture of krypton, argon and oxygen gases is sometimes used to reconcile performance and price, and occasionally xenon and nitrogen are used, as well.”
There are also other types of glass to choose from, including tinted glass, tempered glass, laminated glass and impact-resistant glass. Each type of glass brings different qualities to the table, and you should choose the one that best fits your needs.
2. Frames & Sashes
Window frames and sashes can be just as essential as glass when it comes to energy efficiency. There are many different types of materials to choose from, each with its own set of pros and cons. The most energy-efficient window frame and sash materials are wood and vinyl.
Wooden frames are excellent insulators since cold and heat can’t transfer through them. They also have a long lifespan, which means you won’t have to replace them as often as other window frame materials. The downsides to wooden frames is that they can be damaged by weather and insects, and they’re harder to maintain.
Solid-core vinyl frames, on the other hand, don’t rot or warp. Like wood, they also don’t conduct cold or heat, making them incredibly energy efficient. Plus, they’re extremely durable, lasting up to 20 years without the routine maintenance and inherent risk of wooden frames.
Neither of the two qualities discussed above matter if the windows aren’t installed properly. Proper installation is the key to energy efficiency. No matter which materials you purchase, if your window installation has openings or the window is not put in square, you will likely experience inefficiencies.
Not only does this have an impact on your electricity bill, but it also leaves you vulnerable to pests and water damage, and you don’t want to take that risk.
If you have lots of experience with home improvement and feel comfortable handling the installation yourself, it can be done. However, it’s always wise to hire a professional contractor to come in and install the windows for you. Just make sure you hire a company that has both experience and good reviews from other homeowners in the local area.
Do your research, read reviews, ask friends and family for recommendations and seek advice from experts and consumers alike. A poor window installation can cost a lot more than the price of labor and a bad experience.
Choose a company that designs its products with care. You want windows that are durable and stylish while also reaching or exceeding specific quality standards. It’s important to work with a company that you can trust.
Just like when choosing an installer, look at reviews and do your research. There are many programs and certifications to help consumers stay informed, and many of them are linked explicitly to energy efficiency and quality control.
For example, here at Paradigm, we meet and exceed the standards of all prominent organizations that set performance requirements for windows. These include the AAMA Gold Label Certification, National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Certification and the ENERGY STAR 6.0 program.
Where to Find the Most Energy-Efficient Windows on the Market
If you’re looking for high-quality, energy-efficient windows that exceed industry standards, then you’ve come to the right place. At Paradigm, we manufacture windows with quality, strength and efficiency in mind. We also offer products in various stock colors, including customized color matching.
Our windows are the perfect choice for modern, energy-conscious homeowners. Take a look at our product brochure for more details on our energy-efficient windows, or contact us today to speak with one of our experts. We’re here to help.