If you’re a homeowner researching vinyl home replacement windows or fiberglass home replacement windows, chances are you’ve seen the advice time and time again, “Just look for the Energy Star label.”
That sounds simple — but if you’re not sure exactly what the Energy Star label signifies, you may not be sure what value the designation means. Let’s take some time to discuss what Energy Star labels mean, as applied to home replacement windows.
For a window to qualify for the Energy Star label, they must meet — or surpass — certain guidelines. These guidelines have been established by the National Fenestration Rating Council spelling out the criteria a window must meet to be considered energy efficiency.
Energy Star ratings vary by region. There are four regions, dictated by climate and environmental conditions. Here, in the Northern region, homes require far more heating than cooling. To qualify as Energy Star products, windows must have a U-factor of less than or equal to .35. There is no requirement for SHGC, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, in the Northern region — this is very different than requirements for Energy Star ratings in the Southern or other regions. Skylights are also eligible for Energy Star labels, and must meet equally stringent requirements.
To qualify for the tax savings associated with home replacement window installations, most states require that you select windows with the Energy Star label. You’ll want to check with your tax advisor and local home replacement window specialist to ensure that you choose the appropriate windows to realize the maximum tax benefit.
Participation in the Energy Star program is voluntary. However, most window manufacturers, realizing the value that energy efficient home replacement windows offer to their customers, as well as the environment, participate. They know that the Energy Star label is important to home owners.
For example, Alside Window Systems, manufacturer of Sheffield Windows, has been a proud participant in the Energy Star program for years. Alside Window Systems has even been recognized as the Energy Star Partner of the Year three years running: an honor that speaks volumes about their commitment to energy efficiency.
As fuel prices continue rising and limited reserves of natural resources become ever scarcer, conservation plays an increasingly important role in all of our lives. Home upgrades and improvements can help us reduce our carbon footprint — using less energy to maintain our lifestyle is good for everyone. As an added bonus, using less energy reduces the homeowner’s heating and cooling costs. That means more money in your wallet — always a nice thing.
The Energy Star designation is a powerful program that allows consumers to quickly and easily identify the most efficient products for their home. In a field littered with confusing designations and difficult to understand rating systems, simply looking for the Energy Star can help a consumer find the best — without breaking a sweat! That’s conserving yet another type of energy — your time and effort.