Installing energy efficient windows is an investment that pays dividends all year. Heat gain and heat loss through windows can account for as much as 30% of a home’s heating/cooling demand. New Pella windows with their high-efficiency ratings reduce energy consumption in Madison WI and throughout Dane County. Efficient windows not only reduce energy bills, they make your home more comfortable in winter and summer.
Even if your existing windows appear to be in good condition, they may be robbing you and boosting your energy costs. A review of window installations can tell you how efficient yours are.
Check for Energy Efficient Windows
If you think your existing windows are less than efficient, check each one for:
- Air leaks – make sure they seal tightly top and bottom and locking mechanisms secure the seal.
- Caulk – if your windows have been in place for a few years they could need new caulk to make sure there aren’t areas that allow water in. Caulk also seals off air leaks so if it’s missing you have double the concern.
- Weathers Stripping – Most windows have some form of weather stripping around the outside and, with double-hung models, between the two components to seal them as they move, etc.
If you find any deficiencies in caulk or weather stripping, replace everything with new material. Then, check for air leaks again. The energy efficiency of any window is drastically compromised by the slightest leak – and the leaks are frequently the result of poor installation techniques.
When It’s Time to Replace Windows
Windows in older homes lack the modern technology that has created today’s energy efficient windows. Choosing high-quality replacement windows like the array of available Pella windows, is an investment to be considered. The selection process includes:
- Style – when you replace windows you have an opportunity to change the appearance of your home inside and out. Style is also influenced by the design of each window – double-hung vs. casement, etc.
- Size and Shape – a project to replace windows can include adding new architectural elements like bay windows the increase the natural light inside the home and create an all new exterior feature at the same time.
Three major factors in the selection process are critical and come after the basic decisions have been made. They are:
- Energy Efficiency – selecting windows that are engineered and manufactured to be energy efficient and have earned the highest level of certifications like the Energy Star® label is a key choice.
TIP FROM A PRO – Look for Energy Star and NRFC (National Fenestration Rating Council) labels on the windows you’re considering. They provide reliable ways to compare windows and determine which ones are best suited for your location.
- Warranties – not all windows are created the same and companies with extended warranties represent energy efficient windows that will stand the test of time and climate extremes. Pella windows have warranties that rank among the best in the business.
- Reliable Installation – not all window installations are equal. Having high-quality windows installed by trained, experienced professionals makes a difference. Not only do they do it right the first time, certified window installation teams stand behind the product and the installation’s workmanship
Rating Performance of Energy Efficient Windows
The energy performance of all windows earning an Energy Star rating must be certified by an independent testing facility. Each is certified to NFRC standards. All Pella windows exceed Energy Star requirements in all 50 states. Window performance is evaluated for the following:
- U-Factor – measures the rate heat is transferred and tells how well a window insulates. U-Factor values range from .025 to 1.25. The lower the U-Factor the better a window insulates.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – measures the amount of solar energy transferred from outside in and tells how well a window blocks the heat caused by sunlight. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 1. Common window values range from .25 to .80 – the lower the number the less solar heat enters through the glass.
TIP FROM A PRO – Pella windows feature InsulShield® energy-efficient glass to increase insulating ability and ensure a low SHGC value.
- Air Leakage (AL) – the rate that air passes through joints in the window is a critical measurement that determines the level energy efficient windows can achieve. It’s measured in cubic feet of air going through one square foot of window area per minute. The lower the AL value, the less air is leaking. Most of today’s building codes have a maximum allowable level.
- Visible Transmittance (VT) – measures the amount of light passing through a window. Also measured on a scale of 0 to 1, the higher the VT the more light entering through the window.
- Condensation Resistance – water building up on window frames can lead to mold, mildew and rot. Condensation resistance is scored on a scale of 0 to 100 – the higher the number the better a window resists condensation.
What is Energy Star?
Whenever a product relates to the use of energy – heating, cooling, electrical power – the term Energy Star always comes up. Few people know what it really represents.
Energy Star is a government=backed symbol of energy efficiency. A “stamp of approval,” of sorts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates how a product is evaluated and what it takes to get an Energy Star rating. Thousands of manufacturers, businesses, municipalities and local organizations partner with the EPA on this cost-saving, energy-saving venture each year. It is estimated that since it began in 1992, Energy Star certified products have saved American households and businesses more than $450 Billion and more than 3.5 Trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Homes featuring Energy Star-rated products like energy efficient windows are estimated to be at least 15% more efficient than those built decades before the system went into place. In the last year, more than 1.7 million homes were built as Energy Star certified new homes and nearly 1 million homes were retrofitted with energy efficient windows, roofing, siding and appliances.
Choose Qualified, Reliable Professionals
Installation of new energy efficient windows is the most critical element in a program to upgrade energy efficiency and safe on heating and cooling costs. The best window, if installed wrong, doesn’t deliver.
Pella Windows relies upon certified Pella windows installation professionals. With a team of committed, well-trained professionals, Sims Exteriors and Remodeling is a Certified Installation Contractor for Pella windows specializing in wooden replacement windows in Southern Wisconsin.
For all your new Pella windows, contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling and choose the ideal energy efficient windows for your Madison WI home.