October 16, 2017

Energy Efficient Windows: How to Read Ratings Labels

Upgrading to energy efficient windows is a great?way?to decrease your home?s heating and cooling costs and improve your family?s comfort.

If you have considered upgrading your home?s windows, you may have done a little research and?likely?puzzled over the?incomprehensible series of efficiency labels they bear.


What do all those numbers and ratings mean?

The NFRC Label for Energy Efficient Windows

The?National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is an independent, non-profit organization that tests windows, doors and skylights for the purpose of providing?objective?energy?efficiency ratings.

The NFRC ratings are reported via a label affixed to each window. The label reports four key metrics related to energy efficiency:

  • U-Factor ? a measurement of how well the product prevents heat from escaping a room. With a range of 0.20 to 1.20, lower numbers indicate a better ability to prevent heat escape.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient ? a measurement of how well the product resists unwanted heat gain. With a range of 0 to 1, a lower number means you will spend less on cooling your home during the summer.
  • Visible Transmittance ? a measurement of how much natural light the product allows in. With a range of 0 to 1, a higher number means more natural light is allowed into your home, reducing the need for artificial lighting.
  • Air Leakage ? a measurement of how much air can penetrate the window. With a range of 0.1 to 0.3, a lower number means a less drafty window.

The ENERGY STAR? Window Rating Label

nfrc-label-window-min-1The ENERGY STAR label incorporates the NFRC data, but adds some additional information.

First, the ENERGY STAR designation means that the product complies with the EPA?s rigid?energy efficiency guidelines for windows.

The most important information contained on the label, however, is the geographically specific performance criteria. Breaking the U.S. into four geographic zones, the ENERGY STAR label offers a graphic representation of the map, indicating the?zone(s) for which the window is rated.

The last factor to consider about these labels is that, to qualify for many rebates and incentives, you must choose an ENERGY STAR certified product.

Do Energy Efficient Window Ratings Matter?

Efficiency ratings are helpful for?a few reasons. Even if you don?t know or remember exactly what all the numbers mean, you can use them to compare one product to another. You can also verify that windows you choose are rated for the Utah climate.

What these labels and ratings can?t tell you, however, is how?well any window?will work for?your home.

The best way to determine that is?by consulting with a local contractor that specializes in energy efficient windows. An energy efficient home improvement contractor can perform an energy audit of your home and make recommendations that help you reduce your heating and cooling bills.

In Provo, Layton and throughout northern Utah,?GreenHome?Specialties?provides energy audits for homeowners, and makes recommendations for improving your home?s efficiency.?Contact us today to learn more about how you can use duct sealing, radiant barrier insulation, attic insulation and energy efficient windows to significantly reduce your utility bills.

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