The key to energy efficiency in the home is insulation. In older buildings, energy can leak out of your property at an alarming rate. Windows can be thermal black holes. On average, 30% of energy in a home is lost through its windows. Old or poorly installed windows drive up the price of an energy bill and it is only when you have energy efficient windows installed will you realise how much you have been losing.
A window that is designed for energy efficiency is more expensive than a standard window, but this cost will quickly repay itself with savings from energy. The period of payback ranges from two to ten years and because energy efficient windows are more durable, there are lower maintenance and replacement costs.
Unlike standard windows, an energy efficient window system uses two panes of glass. These panes have a space between them that is filled with either air or gas, insulating far more effectively than a single pane. Argon or Krypton are the gases used in energy efficient windows. These gases insulate better than air and are non-toxic, colorless and odourless. In addition to a two-pane system being more energy efficient, it is also more durable and gives greater resistance to impact. It also adds sound insulation to your home.
The glass uses a special coating that reflects light rather than absorbing it. Heat is kept inside during the winter and outside during the summer season. The coating reflects damaging UV rays, keeping your family safe and slowing down the damage sunlight can do to your furniture and curtains.
The federal tax credits available for energy efficient windows were set to expire on the last day of 2010, but this has now been extended throughout 2011. 10% federal tax credit for the purchase of windows is available, as long as they meet the requirements.
When you purchase energy efficient windows be sure that they qualify with the requirements of your area. Make sure you see the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label and also make sure the U-Factor and SHGC ratings also qualify.
The “U-Factor” is the rating given to a window in regard to how much heat it looses. These ratings vary from minimal heat loss (0.2) to a high heat loss (1.2). There is also the “R-Factor) this measures the insulating value of a window. Therefore a window with a high R-Factor will also have a low U-factor. These are the types of windows you want to buy.
The SHGC rating stands for “Solar Heat Gain Coefficient”. This measures solar energy and rates how well the product is blocking the heat caused by sunlight. The lower the SHGC rating, the less solar heat the window will transmit.
When you install energy efficient windows to buildings, the cost in energy savings will quickly out-weigh the extra expense. And with sound-reduction advantages, impact-resistance and durability that means less maintenance so switching to energy efficient windows is the smart choice.