It’s been said that educated buyers are more often the most satisfied with their end results. With so many choices of windows and doors, where do you begin? Here’s our list of suggestions:
1. THE NFRC STICKER ON THE WINDOW or DOOR
First, let’s start with the only two components that ENERGY STAR bases its qualifications on:
#1.U Factor and
#2.Solar Heat Gain Coefficiency.
These two fundamental characteristics are what a knowledgeable buyer will rate a fenestration product on, enabling you to compare bona fide apples to apples.
Fist, what does the NFRC mean to me? The National Fenestration Rating Council is a totally independent organization funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is also a non-profit organization, making it the only fair, credible means of rating and comparing fenestration products on the market today.
And now, second, what is a fenestration product? and how to pronounce it…
They are products that fill openings in a building or house, designed to allow for the passage of light, air, vehicle, or people. This also includes windows, doors, and skylights.
2. Understanding ENERGY STAR and its qualifications
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) developed Energy Star. It is an international standard and a mandated criteria that energy efficient consumer products must meet to have obtained the Energy Star sticker.
So, in summary: While the ENERGY STAR label will tell you if your fenestration products meet energy-efficient codes required at that time, the NFRC label helps you compare between the level of energy-efficiency, or performance your fenestration products meet, i.e. whether it falls in the guidelines of Energy Star or not. Colorado Springs utilities not only recommends but endorses windows that are rated according to the standards of the NFRC and are considered Energy Star products.
3. Know the Qualifications
1.) U Factor is defined as the rate at which a window, door, or skylight conducts non-solar heat flow. “NFRC U-factor ratings, however, represent the entire window performance, including frame and spacer material. The lower the U-factor, the more energy-efficient the window, door, or skylight.
2.) Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) “is the fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window, door, or skylight — either transmitted directly and/or absorbed, and subsequently released as heat inside a home.The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat it transmits and the greater its shading ability. A product with a high SHGC rating is more effective at collecting solar heat during the winter. A product with a low SHGC rating is more effective at reducing cooling loads during the summer by blocking heat gain from the sun. Your home’s climate, orientation, and external shading will determine the optimal SHGC for a particular window, door, or skylight.” To learn more about SHGC, click here.
Some lesser known facts to consider about Energy Performance and ratings
It is not mandatory:
- To be an Energy Star partner.
- To sell windows and doors that meet the Energy Star criteria
- To be endorsed by the NRFC
That means there is no credible source backing windows, “so-called,” energy performance. Purchasing new custom windows and doors for your home is normally a once in a lifetime investment. It can seem complicated and overwhelming. That is exactly why you need a company that is all about full disclosure and practices truth in advertising. Essentially, what you see is what you get. You, as a consumer, now have the tools to make an educated comparison.
There is absolutely no reason to pay up to three times the amount for a product with the same level of performance just because it boasts a well known national name brand. And in all honesty, most times, you can purchase an elite custom energy package form us, and exceed, the other big brand names performance ratings, for a fraction of the cost. Choosing this course of action will free up the budget to replace a household full of windows and doors that exceeds Energy Star ratings.
Did you know that just one gap as small as 1/16 of an inch lets in as much cold air as leaving a window open three inches? Windows and doors are typically responsible for a significant amount of air leakage in homes.
Air Leakage is defined as ventilation that is not controlled and not wanted, that can equal as much as, if not more than, 36 million gallons of oil, per household, in only 20 years! Not only can you save money if you do your homework and buy smart but in the long run our custom made windows and doors will pay for themselves, via saving on your monthly energy bill, in a matter of a few short years, whereas the over priced , name bran product may never fully pay for themselves.
4. Last but not least – WINDOW INSTALLATION
This is probably the least discussed process in the whole window buying experience but I will tell you that it is just as important to do your homework on the person doing the installation as it is on what fenestration products you invest in. If the products are not installed properly it can/will not maintain the level of energy efficiency on the label for which it was rated. That also means as much as half of your rated efficiency can be lost through improper installation. This is why you want a proficient installer on your project. We just so happen to have a master installer at our company, giving you some hopeful piece of mind while planning your project.
Windows and Doors Replacements in Colorado Springs
We hope that our introduction, Windows and Doors 101, helps you understand so much more in the window buying experience. Get in touch with us to schedule an easy, no-cost consultation, and take the next step in finding the best (and most cost-effective) windows and doors for your home project.