It’s late October and those blustery fall winds have started. This is when you notice it: they’re not just stripping your trees bare and swirling dead leaves around outside. They’re also leaking into your house through windows past their prime.
You want to watch those winds go by—not feel them! So, to save on heating bills and make your home a cozy haven in the coming months, you start thinking about window replacement.
You start looking around and that’s when you notice them. They’re everywhere! Energy Star stickers. But what exactly do they mean?
More importantly, is it worth the hit to your pocketbook?
The Energy Star Sticker Tells A Story
Energy Star-qualified windows are manufactured by an Energy Star partner, like Anderson or Simonton. Becoming a partner reflects a commitment to energy efficiency on the part of the manufacturer, who will voluntarily subject their product to standards that have been set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
To ensure compliance with strict standards, windows are independently tested, certified, and verified according to test procedures established by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), a third-party non-profit organization.
With their test, the NFRC assigns a rating. That rating not only assures you that you’re buying a product that offers superior energy performance, but it also signals that it’s well-suited for your particular climate zone.
Did you know…? Some windows are better at keeping you warm while others excel at keeping you cool, so the windows you choose for your New Jersey home will be rated differently than those for your high school pal who lives in an Arizona desert!
It’s important to get windows rated for where you live, and the Energy Star system will provide the information you need.
Energy Star Is The Star
Clearly, when you see that sticker, it’s a testament to a lengthy and rigorous process. So, what features can you expect to see in such window?
- Quality frame materials. They’ll be more durable and require less maintenance, reducing heat transfer and improving insulation.
- Multiple panes. Energy Star windows are made with two or more panes and the space between is filled with air or inert gas, which offers additional insulation.
- Low-E (low emissivity). They reflect rather than absorb heat because of a thin metallic coating applied to the glass. This means heat will stay out in the summer and stay in for the winter, while also shielding interior furnishings, fabrics and carpets from the fading effects of UV light.
- Warm edge spacers. A spacer keeps panes the correct distance apart and insulates the glass edges to reduce heat transfer through the window.
There’s Price And Then There’s Value
Yes, it’s true: Energy Star-qualified windows have a greater upfront cost. Is it worth it?
First, it’s important to note that prices vary, with the most expensive price tag typically coming with the most energy-efficient windows. But this is where those ratings mentioned above come in—they help to determine what you need for your specific climate, which in turn will help you choose the right window and spend wisely.
The big advantage of choosing Energy Star windows is that once you digest the upfront costs, you can look forward to future savings. With reduced heating and cooling costs, your energy bill will shrink: the average savings is typically as much as 12%.
And then there’s the value you gain beyond your pocketbook:
- Reduced greenhouse gases. Every improvement, even at the level of a single home, helps the bigger project of supporting our natural environment. Saving money helps you feel good about your investment. Saving the planet can help you feel good about yourself!
- Improved comfort. You know those spots near a window where nobody wants to sit because it always feels so much colder? Energy Star windows makes that problem a thing of the past. You’ll find a more consistent temperature throughout your home, whether you’re on the inside or the near the perimeter of the room.
- Protected valuables. UV damage to furnishings, curtains, carpets, wood floors, photographs and artwork will be significantly reduced. Extend the life – and beauty – of your treasures long into the future.
- An investment in aesthetics. New windows add value and attractiveness to your house. They have greater curb appeal; something you can enjoy regardless of whether you plan to love it or list it.
Winter is coming fast. We can’t stop it, but we can do our best to keep it where it belongs: outside!
So, if things are getting drafty and you’re just not sure what you need, give us a call at (732) 264-8166 or contact us online. We’ll visit your home, help you explore your options, and leave you with a free estimate for new windows.