All About Energy Efficiency and Energy StarJun 15, 2018
What’s the big deal with energy efficient windows and doors anyway?
“Energy efficiency” is a term that’s often thrown around today. It seems to be a top priority for many homeowners, especially those searching for new windows and doors. You’ve certainly heard repeatedly that it’s great for the environment, and it can save you money on energy bills. But what exactly is energy efficiency? And why does it matter so much?
Here’s everything you need to know about energy efficiency.
What It Is and Why It Matters
Energy efficient utilities are any utilities that use less than standard energy while still providing the comfort you need. In the case of energy efficient windows and doors, it’s windows and doors that help to properly seal the home, letting less outside air flow in and less indoor air escape so you can rely less on your home’s heating and cooling.
The initial effect is obvious: if you use your home’s heating and cooling less, you save money on your heating and cooling bills. Energy efficient windows may also let in more light, and energy efficient doors may have windows in order to light the area. This can save homeowners money on lighting during the day as well.
There’s also the environmental impact. We live in a world that is quickly burning through its resources, and it’s something that’s clearly had an effect on our planet. Because of this, many citizens have started to turn towards conservation and using only what they need. Energy efficient windows and doors will help you to have less of an environmental impact in your home, and the more popular they become, the cleaner our world will be.
Energy Star and Their Guidelines
Energy Star was founded in 1992 as a voluntary program and part of the EPA and Department of Energy. The goal is to incentivize the use of energy efficient resources in order to lessen environmental impact. They help consumers find energy efficient windows and doors through their partners, and occasionally offer tax rebates for the purchase of energy efficient replacement windows and doors. Their criteria for windows, doors, and skylights is:
- Must be manufactured by an Energy Star partner. Both Simonton and Marvin Windows are Energy Star partners, as well as ProVia Doors.
- Must be independently tested, certified, and verified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC uses four different rating criteria: U-Factor, which judges how much air escapes from inside a room; Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), which rates how much heat from outside leaks into the home; Visible Transmittance (VT) which measures the light allowed through; and Air Leakage (AL), which determines how much air will enter a room through the product.
- Must have NFRC ratings that meet EPA standards. These standards are strict to guarantee optimum energy efficiency.
In terms of performance criteria, it depends on NFRC ratings and your region. Kansas City is located in the North Central region as set by Energy Star. Energy Star energy efficient windows in the North Central region must have a U-Factor of less than .30 and SHGC of less than .40.
In the case of doors, consider whether there’s any glass to the surface of the door, and how much. A fully opaque door should have a U-factor of less than .17. A door with less than ½ lite, such as an entry door with a small window, should have a U-factor of less than .25 and an SHGC of the same. A door with more than ½ lite, such as a sliding glass door, should have less than .30 U-Factor and less than .40 SHGC in the North Central region.
At Johnson County Siding & Window Co., we’re proud to say that our energy efficient windows and doors all pass Energy Star criteria. If you want to enjoy their benefits in your own home, contact us today.