According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, American households typically spend around $100 per month on energy costs. They predict this figure could increase by over 100% in just two decades as energy prices keep going up. While the demand for energy keeps increasing, and the supply starts to get somewhat limited, homeowners need to be concerned about how they use energy. They need to find ways to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing their quality of life.
Based on many studies, a typical home usually consumes more energy than it really needs. By simply paying more attention to energy conservation homeowners can significantly reduce their consumption without affecting the quality of life.
One of the areas of the home that is notorious for energy loss is the windows. The wrong type of windows can drive energy costs higher than what they should be. By installing energy-efficient windows, you can reduce your energy consumption, lower your energy costs and help protect the environment as well.
Aside from replacing windows with energy-efficient ones, the U.S. Department of Energy also recommends using a whole-house systems approach in conserving energy. This means you can conserve energy by:
- Minimizing the use of appliances and home electronics
- Ensuring that the home is well-insulated
- Reducing the use of water heating
- Opting for natural lighting and taking advantage of daylighting
- Minimizing the use of cooling and heating equipment
- Choosing windows, doors and skylights that are energy-efficient
Windows and Energy Efficiency
When it comes to windows specifically, the easiest way to conserve energy and lower your monthly energy bills is to purchase energy-efficient windows. But, how exactly do these types of windows conserve energy?
First, energy-efficient windows reduce the amount of heat that passes through the window, especially during summer. In winter, these windows prevent heat from escaping the home, thus reducing the amount of energy that a heating system uses to keep the home warm.
Energy-efficient windows also improve the amount of light that passes through the window. With enough natural light coming in from the window during daytime, you can minimize dependence from artificial lighting, cutting back on energy use.
Lastly, energy-efficient windows actually help improve the health of inhabitants in a home by reducing moisture and condensation buildup, contributing to better indoor air quality.
Are You Losing Energy and Money Through Your Window?
Does your home really need energy-efficient windows? You do, if:
- You have high energy costs despite efforts to reduce energy consumption
- Your current windows are not sealed properly
- Air is passing through gaps between the wall and your window frame
- If there is moisture buildup between your window panes
How to Tell if a Window Is Energy-Efficient?
If you’re convinced that your energy costs are higher than what they should be and that your windows are a part of the problem, then you’ll need to find energy-efficient windows. However, you need to be careful when searching for these types of windows because not all energy-efficient replacements are created equal. Here are a few ways to tell if you’re buying the real deal:
- Energy-efficient windows are durable and should have highly insulative frames. You’ll need to check the manufacturer’s label on the material to know what the frame is made of and other pertinent information about it.
- Energy-efficient windows have double pane glass to reduce the amount of heat that passes through the glass panels.
- Double-pane design is complemented by inert gas fills between the glass to further reduce the amount of heat passing through the window.
- Energy-efficient windows have a low-emissivity (low-E) coating that blocks heat from the sun but not natural light.
Window frame, glass, design, and coating all work together toward making an ideal unit. Make sure all the above features are in place to guarantee you are truly getting an energy-efficient replacement window.
Apart from the features described above, you can also ensure that the window you’re buying is indeed energy-efficient if it has the ENERGY STAR® label. This signifies that a window has passed standards set jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy for energy efficiency. Additionally, you can check the National Fenestration Rating Council’s label to see a window’s energy efficiency ratings and if they meet the recommended figures for your region.
There are many ways you can increase energy efficiency in the home, but one of the simplest, most effective moves you can make is to get new windows. To make the most of energy-efficient replacement windows, however, you have to make sure you work only with a trusted and experienced window contractor.
Jim Jones is the president of Seamless Exterior. As a window contractor, he understands the value of working hard and keeping customers satisfied. When not busy overseeing projects and performing management-related tasks, he takes the time to share his knowledge and experience by writing informative blogs and articles. Check out the company blog for updates from Jim!