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Selecting Efficient Windows

WIn recent years, low-E coatings and other improvements have revolutionized window performance. This information is intended to help you select energy efficient windows to utilize in your home.

Look for the ENERGY STAR®
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed an ENERGY STAR® designation for products meeting certain energy performance criteria. Since energy efficient performance of windows and skylights vary by climate, product recommendations are given for three U.S. climate zones. To distinguish between ENERGY STAR® products, look for efficient properties on the NFRC label.

Look for Efficient Window Properties on the NFRC Label
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has developed a window energy rating system based on whole product performance. The NFRC label provides the only reliable way to determine the window energy properties and to compare products.
The NFRC label appears on all products certified to the NFRC standards and on all window, door, and skylight products which are part of the ENERGY STAR® program. At this time, NFRC labels on window units give ratings for U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), Visible Transmittance (VT), and Air Leakage (AL). For an idea on how window choices may impact annual space heating and cooling energy costs for a typical new home, go to Window Selection. Use RESFEN for customized window performance information about a specific house.

Compare Annual Energy Costs for a Typical House in Your Region
The annual energy use from computer simulations for a typical 2000-square-foot house in your region can be compared for different windows options. See the following pages for examples.

Estimate and Compare Annual Energy Costs for Your House
Using a computer program such as RESFEN to compare window options is the only method of obtaining reasonable estimates of the heating and cooling costs for your climate, house design, and utility rate. See the following link for information on RESFEN.

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