Discerning Energy Efficiency

Empty big living room

Discerning the real difference in new windows today can be confusing for a buyer.  No doubt all window companies are trying to put their best foot forward and make the sale. The ball is in the court of the buyer to have a firm understanding of their own needs as well as the benefits of updated windows. Here are a few simple guidelines to help any homeowner discerning a new window purchase.

First, while new windows are going to have a night and day difference in energy efficiency, this difference is not going to pay you back over night.  Again, the difference between your new windows energy efficiency and the old ones you are having replaced is huge. They are amazingly more efficient and that factor is going to save you money every month. Just remember it takes quite a few months, like so many it equals several years, to make up for the investment you put into your new windows.  That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it; we just don’t want you going into any large purchase decision with fog in your window already.

Woman staring at the window

So, let’s make sense of those energy efficiency numbers to make sure you are buying the best window for the demographics you live in.  U-Factor; the U-Factor is a measure of how well your window keeps heat in.  Usually measured on a scale from 0.20 to 1.20.  In this case the lower the number the better the window traps heat or keeps heat inside your home.  Solar heat gain coefficient or SHGC is the measure of how well your window blocks heat coming from the exterior of your home.  The SHGC is measured on a scale from 0 to 1. Lower numbers block the greatest amount of heat entering your home and higher number allow more heat from the sun to penetrate into your home.  Here in the Midwest, having a low SHGC rating is not paramount on the list. And finally, the Visible Transmittance energy rating.  Visible transmittance or VT is the measure of how much visible light a window lets in.  Also measured between 0 and 1, visible light is desirable to boost the amount of daylight streaming in your windows.  Every individual homeowner needs to consider the benefits of higher VT weighed against personal facts like home location, orientation to the sun, window surface area, and shade from elements outside such as trees.

 Information is power, even when shopping for widows.  Be the smart consumer you are and go into a discussion about newer more efficient windows with the energy fog cleared from your eyes.  And remember, newer more beautiful windows are only as good as the quality installation job of the company who put them in. Call Glass Express for all your window replacement needs and we’ll make sure certified installers give you the long term window experience your research deserves.