A Consumer’s Guide: Buying Energy Efficient Windows & Doors

New windows and doors offer a great opportunity to save energy, increase your home’s value and enhance its beauty. But with so many choices available, finding the right windows and doors can be a confusing process. With this in mind, we’ve put together a guideline to help you choose the right windows and doors for your home.

1.   Check the performance rating of the window

You should ask what each window’s U-factor or R-value rating is. U-factor is a measure of how well a product prevents heat from escaping, while R-value measures how well something resists heat transfer. The lower the U-factor or R-value, the better the product will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. When shopping for new products, look for efficient models that have earned the ENERGY STAR label.

2.   Look for any extra features that will reduce your energy costs

Look for windows and doors that have low-emissivity (Low-E) glass because this feature helps reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Ask if you should choose gas fills or multiple panes to further improve performance and efficiency.

3.   Choose energy-efficient models

Windows and doors are major sources of heat loss. Replacing old, leaky windows with energy-efficient ones will save you money while making your home more comfortable. These tips can help you select the best windows and doors for your home.

Always select ENERGY STAR qualified windows and doors. To do so, you need to know of the energy efficiency requirements. All new windows manufactured after January 1, 2012 must meet the energy efficiency standards set by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC label indicates a window’s U-factor and SHGC, which measure how well a window blocks cold (U-factor), heat from the sun (SHGC), and air leakage. The NFRC label also indicates whether a window complies with tax credit eligibility requirements. For more information, see our page on federal tax credits for windows, doors, and skylights.

Make sure to look for NFRC labels when comparing windows. If a window doesn’t have an NFRC label, it is illegal to sell in the United States.

Factors to consider

When shopping for windows and doors, you should consider several factors before you make your purchase:

– Esthetics – the appearance of the windows and doors

– Energy efficiency

– Proper installation

– Safety and security features

– Cost and financing options (including rebates)

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