Changing out a home’s old windows for new vinyl replacement windows is a home improvement project many homeowners undertake when they decide it’s time to upgrade their homes. New windows can give the home a fresh new look and feel, and also help to keep out unwanted outside noise. But one San Diego replacement window company says that the main reason most homeowners replace their old windows is to make their homes more energy efficient.
Michal Bohm, owner of BM Windows in San Diego, says, “Energy efficiency is becoming more and more of a concern for the San Diego homeowners we talk to. They are looking for ways to reduce the amount of energy they use to heat and cool their homes, and installing new windows is a great way to do that. This is especially true for homes that have older aluminum frame windows with only a single pane of glass. These types of windows do not do a good job keeping out the cold and heat. Replacing these windows with dual pane replacement windows with vinyl frames can make a huge difference in a home’s energy usage.”
When asked what San Diego homeowners should look for in energy-efficient replacement windows, Bohm recommends looking at the window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating. Bohm explains, “SHGC measures how resistant a window product is to allowing unwanted heat into the home. SHGC numbers fall within the range of 0 to 1, with a lower number being more desirable. Windows with a good SHGC rating will keep a San Diego home very comfortable in the hot summer months. Homeowners in areas that have harsh winters should also look at a window’s U-Factor rating, which measures how well a window prevents heat from escaping a home.”
Both SHGC and U-Factor ratings are determined by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), an independent organization that establishes energy performance ratings for windows, doors, and skylights. These standardized ratings make it easy to compare the energy efficiency of windows from different manufacturers. You can find the NFRC ratings on the window manufacturers’ websites or on the black and white sticker on the windows themselves.
The NFRC’s Energy Performance Ratings also determine if a window product qualifies for an ENERGY STAR certification. If you see the blue ENERGY STAR sticker on a window, that means it has met or exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) energy efficiency standards. Purchasing ENERGY STAR-certified products may qualify a homeowner to receive tax credits or rebates from their local utility company, making replacement windows more affordable.
As with any major home improvement purchase, it’s important that homeowners do their homework when it comes to replacement windows. All of the new windows on the market will claim to be energy efficient, but some are definitely more energy efficient than others. By knowing what the energy efficiency terms and ratings mean, homeowners can make more informed decisions and choose the best replacement windows for their needs and their budget.