Taking into account a home’s thermal efficiency can help not only your wallet but can increase the overall comfort in your home. A home’s overall energy efficiency is affected by a variety of factors, including the quality of the HVAC system, the performance of heating and cooling ducts, and how often your air filter is replaced.
Additional steps you can take to maximize energy efficiency include weatherstripping and sealing air leaks in attics, floors, and other areas. If windows are your primary source of air leakage, you will likely find heating and cooling losses aren't limited to the space between the panes but extend to the window casing itself.
These leaks require extensive work to repair and should be carefully completed by a qualified window professional such as those found on SoftLite’s Dealer Locator. Consider the amount of expertise and time required to get into the window casing to diagnose and fix the problem correctly. It’s also important to understand that some materials may not be replaceable, and any 'fix' may only be temporary. When window replacements are needed, it’s important to select windows that provide quality energy efficiency.
Enjoy the Monetary Benefits
Leaky, aging windows contribute to higher utility costs and can especially cause discomfort during months of extremely high or low temperatures. Standard single-pane windows, for example, can’t beat the energy-efficient performance of double-pane windows. For best results, energy-efficient rated windows are specially designed to prevent air leakage, helping keep your home cool or warm when you need it.
The Department of Energy estimates that heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of residential heating and cooling energy use. To save energy, they recommend homeowners replace poor-performing windows with new windows with higher energy efficiency, helping save on utility costs throughout the year. Savings could be even greater depending on which windows you replace as well as the climate of your area.
Besides saving costs on the utility bill, new windows can have additional effects on your home’s value. Since the appeal of a home’s exterior and interior is vital to a home’s resale value, new windows can play a vital role in selling your home. The 2020 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), for example, reported that homeowners can expect vinyl windows to provide a national return of over 72 percent of the initial cost at the point of resale alone.
SoftLite windows feature excellent ratings when it comes to energy efficiency as well as some the lowest air infiltration ratings found in the window industry. Visit our website to find the replacement windows that suit your needs. Then, use our dealer locator to find a professional near you.
Understanding the Energy Ratings
Energy efficiency is a major factor when choosing replacement windows. As such, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the various industry ratings used to grade a product’s performance. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label is a very important one to understand. The NFRC is the industry-recognized certifying body for windows and doors that evaluates measurements such as SHGC, U-Factor and air leakage ratings.
The SHGC rating, or solar heat gain coefficient, measures the amount of solar light admitted through a window or door and released as heat into a home. With low-to-high scale, the SHGC indicates that the lower the coefficient, the less solar heat is transmitted. Keep in mind that this rating’s impact on the home is strongly dependent on the climate, location, and even the home’s positioning relative to trees and shade. Cold climates benefit from a higher SHGC rating to allow more solar heat in during the winter months. By contrast, warmer climates do better with a lower SHGC rating.
The rate at which a window or door conducts heat is called the U-Factor. The heat measured by the U-Factor is non-solar, which is different from the SHGC. The U-Factor rating should measure the window in its entirety, though some manufacturers only test the glass. The NFRC grades the U-Factor of windows and doors as a whole, which is the same standard applied to SoftLite products.
Air leakage, also commonly called air infiltration, is the rate at which air moves through a window or door and is expressed as CFM or cubic feet per minute (CFM) over the number of square feet. This rating is higher when more air seeps in and out of your home. As a rule, lower air leakage numbers are indicative of a tighter seal and superior insulation. A CFM of .30 is the industry standard. The majority of manufacturers have a CFM of .15-.23. SoftLite offers windows that feature a CFM as low as .01, which is 30 times better than the industry standard.
The ENERGY STAR® Difference
Taking into account all the above ratings and ways energy efficiency is measured can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there’s another label to look out for that can give you the confidence you’re making a good choice for your home. ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed validation of energy-efficient products and helps save billions of dollars every year in energy consumption and greenhouse emissions.
At SoftLite, we take pride in the fact that we offer the highest quality ENERGY STAR products available on the market today. We have also been recognized as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year and earned the Sustained Excellence Award time and time again. For those who want to improve their existing windows or replace them entirely, SoftLite Windows and Doors offers a variety of products that far exceed industry standards, such as our double-hung windows, which are the most energy-efficient in the industry.
Needless to say, talking to a window expert is the best way to determine which type of window best suits your home. For more than 80 years, homeowners have trusted SoftLite’s ability to manufacture the most reliable, durable, and high-performing windows on the market. Request a free quote today, or find a SoftLite dealer near you.