If you are looking to replace your home’s windows or wish to reduce your utility bills and make your home more comfortable, you may be considering purchasing energy efficient windows.
Energy efficient windows benefits are best known for reducing utility bills and facilitating a more comfortable indoor temperature throughout the year. However, they can also make your home quieter thanks to their noise insulation properties. Because they do not cost much more than standard windows, energy efficient windows are an excellent investment.
Here is a look at the factors to consider when purchasing energy efficient windows and some of the best products on the market in 2023 that fit the bill.
What Is an Energy Efficient Window?
Energy efficient windows, as the name implies, improve your home’s energy efficiency. They accomplish this by offering greater insulation than a typical window. This means you will experience less heat transfer between the living space within your home and the exterior.
This works both ways, with less heat leaving the inside of your home and making its way outside in winter as well as less heat making its way inside from the outdoors during summer.“Energy efficient” can be somewhat of a subjective term, so you will want to use standardized measurements to compare the windows you are considering purchasing.
There are a few things to look out for when assessing a window’s energy efficiency. For example, some windows carry an ENERGY STAR rating issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy. This indicates windows that are guaranteed to conform to both agencies’ efficiency standards.
Another reading to look out for is one that comes from the National Fenestration Ratings Council, or NFRC, a nonprofit that has created its own rating scale for the efficiency levels of windows.
Some of the measurements that go into these ratings that you can also consider on their own include:
- U-Factor – The U-factor refers to the rate at which a window loses non-solar heat. Windows that boast the greatest resistance to heat flow and best insulating properties will have a lower U-factor, with numbers below 0.30 ideal for many clients; the lower, the better.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – This is a figure that represents the fraction of solar radiation that can pass through a window, whether it is transmitted directly or absorbed, and then released within the home in the form of heat. A lower solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) means a greater shading ability and lower solar heat transmission.
Energy Efficient Window Options
Here is a look at some of the physical components of windows that can make them more energy efficient.
The type of glass is one of the most important aspects in determining a window’s energy efficiency. Single-pane windows with just one sheet of glass are the least efficient type of window, but many people purchase them because they are more affordable.
However, when you are looking for energy-efficient models, more panes are better and could result in long-term savings. Double-pane windows are made of two panes of glass that contain a sealed compartment between them with an insulative type of gas such as argon.
Although these are generally energy efficient, there are other factors that go into determining their overall efficiency.
Triple-pane windows, with three panes of glass and two layers of insulative gas, are typically the most energy-efficient models, but there are other factors that must be considered as well in determining their energy efficiency. However, these windows are prohibitively expensive for some people.
The material of the window’s frame will also influence its overall energy efficiency.
- Aluminum: This is the most affordable type of frame but is also the least energy efficient.
- Vinyl: Windows with vinyl frames do not cost much more than aluminum ones and offer greater energy efficiency.
- Wood: Although wood window frames are attractive, they are not considered very energy efficient.
- Fiberglass: This is one of the most energy efficient windows frame materials and also one of the most expensive.
Coatings and Treatments
Some modern windows have a coating or treatment that enhances their energy efficiency to maximize utility cost savings.
- Low-E Glass Coatings – These low-e glass coatings reduce the amount of ultraviolet radiation that comes in through the window while reducing the rate of energy loss through the glass of the windows. When you are shopping for new energy efficient windows, you will find options that have these coatings applied by the manufacturer, but they can also be applied to windows that are already in place for additional energy efficiency.
- Window Tinting – Another treatment that can be applied either in the manufacturing process or after your window is installed as an add-on is window tinting. This reduces the amount of sunlight that comes into the home, making it popular in places where there is intense sunlight that can fade the room’s furnishings and cause ultraviolet damage.
- Gas Fills – Many of the windows that have multiple panes of glass have gas fills placed between the panes to offer superior insulating performance compared to regular air. One of the most common types is argon gas, which provides the windows with a greater layer of insulation against the elements.
ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient Windows
A good guide for the best energy efficient windows for 2023 is ENERGY STAR’s prestigious Most Efficient 2022 list, which identifies standout products that meet their exacting energy efficiency standards.
Some of the windows that were recognized by ENERGY STAR include:
Marvin Wood Ultimate Double/Single Hung Magnum
According to ENERGY STAR, these gorgeous horizontal slider windows boast a U-factor of 0.15 to 0.20, with an SHGC of 0.14 to 0.50 for the wood and clad wood options. Suitable for all climate zones, they are available with multiple exterior woods and finishes to suit a variety of spaces, and they come in expansive sizes up to 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Decorative glass options such as beveled and aqualite are also available.
Marvin Clad Ultimate Double/Single Hung Magnum
These horizontal slider windows feature a U-factor in the range of 0.17 to 0.20, with an SHGC of 0.14 to 0.37 for the clad and clad wood windows. These windows are designed for larger residential areas and historic renovations, and they are known for their excellent craftsmanship.
ProVia Aeris Wood Clad Vinyl Double Hung
These wood and clad wood framed horizontal slider windows have a U factor of 0.16 to 0.20 and SHGC of 0.17 to 0.25. They are known for offering the beauty of wood with the durability of vinyl, which means they are as attractive as they are easy to maintain. They are engineered using a unique process that integrates real wood interiors such as maple, oak and cherry with vinyl exteriors, while their insulated framing makes them highly energy efficient.
ProVia Aspect 501 and Endure 601 Vinyl Double Hung
These horizontal slider windows have vinyl frames and feature U-factors of 0.16 to 0.19 and SHGC of 0.18 to 0.27. The Endure Vinyl windows are made using technology optimized to create windows capable of superior performance.
They use significantly less energy to remain warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and they offer greater comfort in every season. They’re available with a range of exterior paint colors, from different shades of white and cream to blues, red, browns and black.
The Aspect Vinyl windows are a mid-range offering that brings affordable energy efficiency to homeowners who want to save on utility bills without making a significant investment in home improvement.
They are extremely durable and contain a high-tech glass package that results in measurable improvements in thermal performance, which equates to lower heat loss, reduced interior condensation and warmer glass temperatures.
Vinylmax 4600/4700/4800 Series
These horizontal slider windows have vinyl frames and U-factors of 0.16 to 0.20 with an SHGC of 0.16 to 0.27.
The Vinylmax 4600 Series Edison windows are versatile options, with a classic appearance and high performance. They feature Vinylmax’s proprietary IdeaSeal triple-protection weather seal to keep the indoors and outdoors separated for maximum comfort and energy efficiency.
The 4700 Series from Vinylmax is an economical option that comes with luxurious design options and cover molded sash details that replicate the appearance of classic wood windows. Like the 4600 windows, they also use IdeaSeal for greater comfort and energy efficiency.
The Vinylmax 4800 Newton windows, meanwhile, are their premium offerings that use Neopor rigid thermal insulation with graphite particles that reflect heat to enhance thermal efficiency.
Vinylmax Radiance Series
These vinyl-frame horizontal slider windows have a U-factor of 0.16 to 0.20 and SHGC of 0.18 to 0.27. These elegant windows feature IntelliGlass Low-E glass filled with argon for optimal thermal performance.
Vinylmax Prestige Series
These casement-style windows with vinyl frames boast a U-factor of 0.16 to 0.20 and SHGC in the range of 0.16 to 0.23. Known for their appealing design and smooth operation, they are fully customizable through appearance and glass packages.
Reach Out to the Window Replacement and Installation Contractors at Adelphia Exteriors
If you are looking to increase your home’s energy efficiency and reduce energy bills, purchasing the right windows can make a big difference, but even the most energy efficient window will not perform well if it is not installed properly. In fact, proper window installation is just as important as gas fill and frame material when it comes to performance.
Therefore, you need to trust your window installation to experienced professionals. The window replacement contractors at Adelphia Exteriors are known for their precise workmanship and diligence, ensuring that your investment in greater energy efficiency is protected. Contact us today to learn more about our Northern Virginia window replacement and installation services.