Energy-efficient Windows Are Money In The Bank


There’s no better time to evaluate energy-efficient windows for your Madison home. Now that another hot and humid summer is in the books there are sub-zero temperatures in our future. Studies reveal more than 30% of a home’s annual heating/cooling costs are impacted by its windows. Heat is lost and gained through old window frames and inefficient glass. The two-way movement of heat in summer and winter reflects directly on energy bills. Poor quality and old windows translate to dollars spent – money lost!


Efficient windows keep the outside elements where they belong – outside! And keep energy costs in check.

The older the house and its windows, the more chance of heat exchange. And the higher the cost of heating and air-conditioning. Modern, high-efficiency energy-saving replacement windows are a solid investment now and for years to come. Providing comfortable surroundings for the family all year around is worth the investment, right?

If you have an older home or think your windows are costing you money look closely at:

  • Seals – air leaks are the No. 1 problem with older windows and frame. It takes air-tight seals at top and bottom to keep out drafts. Check locking mechanisms, making sure all connections are snug and tight.
  • Weather-stripping – there’s always some kind of weather-stripping material around the edges of older windows (or there should be). Check in between the two halves of double-hung windows as well. Worn or missing insulation strips open the window frame to air leaks going in and out.
  • Caulking – all frames expand and contract over the years. Some more than others. Older window frames need caulking periodically – caulking dries and cracks, sometimes falling out completely.

Each of these factors contributes to degrading a window’s energy efficiency.

Evaluating Energy-efficient Windows

Every time you look at window replacement options you’ll see a sticker or sign proclaiming: Energy Star® rated. Is that a true measure of a new window’s value? You want understand so you get the most efficient windows you can afford, right?

It’s a lot easier to enjoy Madison’s varying seasons when modern windows protect the family from the element.

An Energy Star rating is a government-sponsored designation of energy efficiency. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determines what it takes to earn the rating. It estimates the use of certified window products saves households and businesses more than $450 million a year.

To earn an Energy Star certification window get tested and evaluated for:

  • Effects of condensation – how the window resists condensation, a serious concern in Wisconsin’s climate. Excess moisture on window glass and frames leads to mold, mildew and eventually rot. Condensation resistance ranks from 0 to 100. The higher a window scores the better it resists condensation.
  • Air leaks (AL) – measured in cubic feet per second of air moving through the joints on a one-square-foot window frame. The lower the AL value the less air leaking through. Modern building codes regularly list maximum allowable levels.
  • The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) – solar heat, the energy from sunshine, transfers from outside into a room through window glass. Recorded on a scale of 0 to 1 the coefficient for most modern windows ranges from 0.25 to 0.80. The lower the number the less solar heat entering through the glass.
  • Visible Transmittance (VT) – measuring light passing through window glass. Measured on a scale of 0 to 1, the higher the VT the more light entering through the window.
  • U-factor insulation – the u-factor measures the rate heat transfers through glass and the window insulates its surrounding. U-factor values range from 0.025 to 1.25 – the lower that number the better the window insulates.

Replacement Window Labels Tells A Tale

Decoding the label information on every window is the best way to boost your energy-savings. Every window has both permanent and temporary labels mandated by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC®). NFRC-certified windows, doors and skylights should have both labels when they arrive. Understand each NFRC label:

  • The temporary label – usually on the interior glazing (glass) surface, it explains the product’s energy performance ratings including U-factor and SHGC. If the temporary label is missing (it sometimes comes off in delivery) the product is not certified even if it deserves to be. You cannot replace these labels via email, fax of mail. If it is missing a manufacturer’s representative can provide an onsite labeling and provide certification.
  • Permanent labels – located along the side jam at the top of the header, at the bottom of the sill or between the panes on the spacer of the product. It is often an adhesive label near other information, markings or etchings. The product’s NFRC identification codes are on the right-hand side of the label. It doesn’t include energy performance information.

Energy-efficient Windows – A Lifestyle Investment

The latest windows in the Pella Windows lineup combine the latest engineering technology with all the popular styles to deliver elegant, efficient windows. You don’t want to sacrifice style for energy-efficiency, do you? You don’t have to! Every Pella Windows’ architectural style delivers high energy savings performance. They’re environmentally-friendly while providing:

  • Style – open up your home to the latest architectural trends with large, lifestyle-complementing replacement windows. Choose sizes, shapes, materials and colors to enhance your home inside and out.
  • Performance – choose from double-hung, casement, bay and bow windows to accent your lifestyle.
  • Curb appeal – make a great impression on passersby, friends and guests. Increasing energy efficiency in window design makes it possible to use larger windows to enjoy more natural light without sacrificing energy.

When you consult a Pella replacement window professional at Sims Exteriors & Remodeling you’re tapping years of experience. Skilled, professional installation is the final critical factor in generating energy-efficiency. When you’re investing in replacement windows it’s a long-term commitment and you don’t want to cut corners, right?

Sims Exteriors & Remodeling is a Certified Installation Contractor for all Pella Windows. It is a member of a select national group fielding a team of specialists trained to install innovative windows and doors, all supported by extensive warranties. As you plan your new window project, request a copy of the Sims Window Buyers Guide. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling is committed to every phase of quality residential construction – remodeling, roofing, siding, replacement windows and additions. Contact Sims Exteriors & Remodeling at 608-825-4500 or via  email for the latest energy-efficient windows featuring Pella technology for your Madison WI home.

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