Across the country, lawmakers, businesses, and individuals are working to improve their energy efficiency. It’s a noble pursuit, environmentally speaking, but it’s also an excellent way to cut costs considering that energy efficient products tend to be of a higher quality and have lower upkeep and maintenance expenses. When people think of how they can improve energy efficiency in their home or office, however, their minds often turn to their air conditioners, washing machines, and even light bulbs, but they overlook one of the most critical places where energy is needlessly wasted: windows.
Windows can negatively impact the energy efficiency of a home or office due to heat loss or gain as well as air leakage. Fortunately, these issues are easily remedied by installing energy efficient window improvements to a home. These can be as simple as hanging blinds–in fact, high-reflectivity blinds can reduce summer heat gain by as much as 45%–and draperies to reduce heat loss in the winter months. High-reflectivity films, awnings, and other coverings can also be effective. To fight air leakage, use caulk for small cracks and gaps and weatherstripping for larger ones.
These improvements can radically improve energy efficiency, but for older or inefficient windows, the best course of action may be replacing them with new windows altogether. Look for the Energy Star label when shopping for windows to be sure that they are certified as energy efficient. Windows USA’s Alaskan Windows are 100% Energy Star certified and offer the highest quality available.
A window’s energy efficiency depends on the sum of its parts. Watch out for the u-value, which measures a window’s resistance to heat loss, and the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), which measures how much heat enters through the glass; lower is better for these factors, and windows need to meet certain standards of quality for both categories in order to be Energy Star certified. Other important considerations when evaluating a window’s energy efficiency are the window’s type, such as double-hung, casement, and so on, and the material used for the frame.
These window improvements or replacements will make a significant difference in a household’s energy efficiency but also on its budget. A household with new energy efficient windows can save up to 15% on energy costs (That figure is subject to change based on a number of factors including the size of the home, local energy costs, the windows themselves, and more). The savings can even translate beyond energy bills thanks to the federal residential energy efficiency tax credit as well as potential low-interest loans that can help to cut down on purchasing and installation costs.
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