Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Energy Efficiency is Cost-Efficiency

Are windows that significant in the overall design of an energy-efficient home?

As you shop for windows, you'll become aware that energy-efficient windows bear higher price tags than their lower-quality counterparts. Is the quality difference worth the extra cost?

You know the answer if you've ever experienced windows with inferior efficiency. Have you ever sat in front of a window in the winter and gotten so chilled that you had to put on a sweater or crank up the furnace? Does your air conditioner run non-stop on a blistering summer day? Do you dread the arrival of your energy bill every month? Answer yes to any of these questions and chances are you've paid the price of poor quality windows.

Now is the time to end the hassle of poor windows. Whether you're building a new home or remodeling your current one, the installation of energy-efficient windows is an investment that will pay dividends  for years. You home will be more comfortable and the cost effectiveness of your heating and air conditioning systems will be very apparent. Quality vinyl windows help to keep the outside air outside and will prevent leakage of the interior air that you pay to heat and cool.

There are several ways to ensure that you're buying energy-efficient windows. The window industry has established rating systems so consumers have a way to compare window brands before making a purchase decision.

Insulation Value: The window industry has developed a standard system for rating the energy efficiency of window and door products. Many window and door products now feature the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label. The NFRC rating system allows consumers to compare the insulating qualities of window and door products. The lower the "U-value", the better the window will insulate against heat and cold.

Fade Protection: Many window and door manufacturers talk about how much of the sun's ultraviolet rays their products block and they claim how well a window or door will protect interior furnishings from fading.

Air Infiltration: Most window manufacturers publish air infiltration ratings for their products. A lower number means that less air will leak through the closed window, increasing comfort and energy savings. When comparing air infiltration numbers, it is important to know how the manufacturer determines it published values. Today, there are no standardized way for manufacturers to report this number. Many manufacturers publish an average based on random tests. Some products will perform better than the average and some worse, they just have no way of knowing how an individual product actually performs.

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