Almost all replacement windows come with an ENERGY STAR Rating. This will alert you to the certified energy efficiency of the window. So, how does a window earn ab ENERGY STAR rating?
Well, ENERGY STAR-qualified windows, doors, and skylights must meet all three criteria:
- Are made by an ENERGY STAR partner
- Are independently-tested, verified and certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)
- Have NFRC ratings that are in accordance with strict energy efficiency guidelines put in place by the EPA.
Windows, doors and skylights are designed to protect homes from the elements, but you need to put great thought into choosing these products – essentially, the ones that make the most sense in accordance with your climate. Some windows, for example, are better at keeping you warm, while others are better at cooling you down.
Performance criteria for windows and skylights are based on ratings certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and are different for all climate zones. Here is a great graphic that explains things in more detail. You can locate your climate zone on the map.
Common Product Features
Many ENERGY STAR certified windows, doors and skylights have many product features in detail, but not all are required. We’ll take windows for our example. What makes a window energy efficient?
- Fiberglass frames are durable, strong, low in maintenance, and good at insulation.
- Vinyl frames have good thermal insulation and are low maintenance.
- Aluminum frames are recyclable, durable, and low maintenance.
- Wood frames are strong, good insulators, and are great for historical neighborhoods. To reduce maintenance, the exterior surfaces are typically covered with aluminum or vinyl.
- Combination frames use a variety of materials separately throughout the frame and sash.
- Composite frames have materials that are blended together to result in durable, low-maintenance, well-insulated windows.
Benefits of ENERGY STAR Qualified Windows
There are many advantages to having ENERGY STAR qualified windows in your home. Here are a few of them:
- You can save money, as they lower energy bills. You use less energy with more efficient windows, plus it reduces greenhouse gas emissions from homes, businesses and power plants.
- They add to your comfort. You don’t have to deal with overheated spaces and cold drafts any longer. With certified windows, you can keep your home’s temperature more consistent.
- You can protect your valuables. ENERGY STAR windows have low-emissivity (low-E) coatings which reduce UV ray damage to furniture, carpets and drapes.
- You can lower your carbon footprint with new certified windows. Did you know that ENERGY STAR certified windows can shrink energy bills and carbon footprints by 12 percent nationwide compared with non-certified products?