Improving home energy efficiency is an important factor for homeowners who wish to see higher saving in from their utility bills or for greater home comfort. Investments in energy efficient windows are one of the many ways to achieve these goals. Before determining if your windows need to be replaced or methods to improve your current windows, it’s important to recognize how windows can gain and lose heat as that is how energy efficiency in windows is determined. For windows, temperature can be lost by:
-Direct conduction and convection heat transfer through the glass or multi-layer glazing and framing
– Thermal radiation into a house and out of a house from room-temperature objects, such as exterior walls and windows, people, equipment, furniture, and interior walls
-The solar radiation into a house, which is converted to heat when absorbed by building surfaces
-Air leakage through and around themUS Department of Energy
For energy efficient glass windows, there are many options that can suit a homeowners needs. When optimized for your climate zone, they can reduce the heating and cooling costs by slowing thermal transfer. Single paned glass offers the least protection as more protected windows will have double or even triple-paned glass. The panes are separated from each other by a pocket of air or gas (two if triple-paned) which traps the winter’s colder temperatures or summer’s heat in between the two glass panes. This forms a barrier that blocks heat and cold from affecting home temperature. In addition to the number of glass panes, windows can be laminated, tempered, or tinted to further reduce the amount of ultraviolet rays that hit the surface of the glass and increase home comfort and energy efficiency.
Proper window installation is critical in preventing air from leaking from its connection to the wall. If a window is installed incorrectly, they may not operate properly. Checking the perimeter of the whole window to see if it’s properly sealed is important to prevent air leaks and drafts from losing air and reducing heat loss. If any gaps are found such as in the example images above, then it might be worth the effort to seal those small gaps with caulk on both the interior and exterior.
For the windows that have the best potential for energy savings, be on the lookout for windows that have labeling that indicates energy efficient products. Like many home appliances, ENERGY STAR® labels have been tested and approved to meet specific performance standards compared to standard comparable products. ENERGY STAR® labels are government backed and can save anywhere from 10 to 50 percent energy per year compared to non-energy efficient equivalents. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) also has a similar energy rating system for determining an entire window’s energy performance and can be used as a guide for new window selections. Visit their website to understand how to read their window Energy Performance Labels.
Like many other small upgrades that can be done for a home, energy efficient windows will help add to the overall energy efficiency of a home. We often experience that people are not sure whether they’re losing energy through the glass, or around the frame of the window. This is one of the main things we check when we assess your windows during our energy audits. For more in-depth information and skilled work, many homeowners can easily request a comprehensive energy audit of their homes. Energy Efficiency Experts specializes in home energy audits that can reveal the potential high energy savings a home can see after work is done through attic insulation and air sealing. If you are looking to further reduce home energy utility bills or seeking better home air comfort, an energy audit can help clarify actions are best for your home!
If you have any questions or concerns call Energy Efficiency Experts at 202-557-9200. We are dedicated and passionate about creating a healthier and better home for your family. We can install energy-efficient windows in your home in the Washington, D.C. area. Let us help you too!