energy-star-logoWhen it comes to home improvement projects the best choice is replacing your old windows with new energy star replacement windows. These have to meet a certain set of standards in order to qualify for the label.

What Criteria Do They Have to Meet?

Every replacement window that has the energy star label has to be manufactured by an energy star partner. In addition, they are tested independently and certified by the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council).

The NFRC ratings of the window must meet the efficiency guidelines that have been set by the United States Department of Energy. The Department of Energy does not have any specific technology requirements for a energy efficient window. However, there are some features that are common in many of the windows that qualify.

Performance Criteria

Windows are designed to protect your home from the elements, just as a winter coat does. For this reason, you are going to need to pick a window that makes sense for your particular climate. There are some that are best at keeping you warm while others are great at keeping your home cooler. The performance criteria is based on climate zones and ratings that have been certified by the NFRC.

Two elements qualify a window for the Energy Star rating, U-factor and SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient). With these 2 numbers the lower the better in efficiency.

People that live in the northern part of the country need to look for a window that has a U-factor that is less than or equal to 0.30 and has a SHGC of “any” by definition.

People living in north central areas will want to choose a window with a U-factor of lower than 0.30 and a SHGC ranking of less than 0.40.

The individuals that reside in the south central part of the country will want to look for windows that have a U-factor of lower than 0.35. The SHGC should be less than 0.30.

Individuals living in the south need to look for U-factors that are lower than 0.60 and SHGC ratings of less than 0.27.

I know your head is spinning, right? Here is a chart that should help.

window-energy-star-rating

Common Product Features

There are several common features that qualifying products will have. While these features are not required, they are still what are commonly used in order to achieve Energy Star® status.

Frame Materials: The frame materials used in energy efficient windows are often durable and require little maintenance. The materials help reduce the transfer of heat and insulate better.

Low-E Glass: The glass of the window is coated to reflect infrared light. This allows it to keep the heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. In addition, these coatings help protect the inside of your home from ultraviolet light that can damage furnishings.

Gas Fills: Another common feature of energy efficient replacement is gas fills between the panes. Krypton and Argon are the two most commonly used gasses used.

Multiple Panes: double paned glass is much more efficient than single pane. The space in the middle is filled with gas to provide better insulation.

Energy Star Replacement Windows Reviews

There are several choices when it comes to energy star rated window. Andersen windows are one company that offers several choices in there line.

It is important to read the reviews before making a decision. You will want to consider the area that you live in when you are looking for new replacement windows for your home. Look at the recommended U-factor ratings for your particular climate area.

Consumer reviews offers advice on choosing the appropriate energy efficient windows. Consumer reports offer some of the best sources of information as they are based on experience from actual users as opposed to just tests from the labs.

Clad windows are often some of the best rated windows. The main reason for this is because they do not require any type of maintenance or covering for the outside. Andersen windows offers vinyl clad windows for around $250 and up. There are also great fiberglass windows available at a bit higher cost.

Makes Window Shopping Easier

One of the other benefits of the Energy Star rating is that it make your shopping around easier. If you main concern is efficiency then are you need to do is look Star logo and you know what minimum ratings that window has