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Windows and Energy Efficiency

Maximizing Comfort and Savings with a Comprehensive Guide to Windows and Energy Efficiency

Old, outdated windows might not seem like a huge concern, especially if they still get the job done. However, while your windows might still work, they could result in higher energy bills.

Newer windows are designed using more efficient materials. This means your HVAC system won't have to work as hard, which can help lower your energy bills while maintaining more consistent temperatures in your home.

At North Georgia Replacement Windows, we understand that upgrading your home is a big decision. We also know that all the different terms involved when discussing energy-efficient windows and deciding which ones to choose can be overwhelming.

To help alleviate your concerns and answer your questions, we've created this helpful energy-efficient windows guide.

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Guide Chapters

Benefits of Energy-Efficient Windows

There are many reasons why energy-efficient replacement windows are a smart investment. Whether you are looking to upgrade just a couple of windows or replace all the windows in your house, these are some of the many benefits you can expect:

1. Lower Energy Bills

One of the ways newer windows perform better is by helping to prevent air leakage, which means your house stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer without having to run your HVAC system as hard.

Your household will consume less energy, which can help you save money. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save anywhere from 5-30% on utility bills with energy-efficient home upgrades, like new windows.

2. Increased Property Value

New energy-saving windows can also provide a higher return on investment as these kinds of upgrades increase property value. Homes that have undergone energy-efficient upgrades tend to sell for a higher price compared to similar homes without those upgrades. Homes also sell quicker when they have energy-saving features because sustainability is enticing and becoming increasingly important to home buyers.

3. Improved Quality of Life

Energy-efficient windows help maintain more consistent temperatures in the home and can increase comfort levels. Keeping the heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer helps provide year-round comfort. New windows can also potentially lower the risk of sickness by keeping the home well-ventilated and preventing mold growth.

4. Environmentally Responsible

Fossil fuels for electricity generation are one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. However, with energy-efficient windows, you can reduce your home's energy usage, which helps cut back on carbon emissions and protects the environment.

Why Get a Home Energy Audit?

Windows installed in a home by North Georgia Replacement Windows

An energy audit, also known as a home energy assessment, can help you understand how much energy your house consumes. These assessments can also help you identify ways to make your home more energy efficient.

The cost of a home energy audit will depend on the size of your home. On average, they cost between $0.08 to $0.50 per square foot. The type of audit you get can also play a role in the overall cost.

A simple assessment, for example, only takes a couple of hours and includes a quick visual inspection. On the other hand, an extensive audit can take several hours and involves more in depth testing and a more thorough inspection to check for leaks and efficient electrical usage.

Checking Insulation Levels

In addition to checking for leaks, the lack of insulation in your home could also cause higher energy bills. This includes the insulation in the floors, ceilings, and walls. If you have an older home, your insulation is likely inadequate.

Checking the insulation in your attic is likely something you can do on your own, but checking the insulation in your walls and the floors can be more challenging. If you are not well-equipped to handle this task, it is often best to consult a professional.

Infinity from Marvin Windows

If you find that your home is not as efficient as it could be after an energy audit, replacement windows can help significantly reduce your energy bills. At North Georgia Replacement Windows, we use some of the best window materials on the market.

Infinity from Marvin windows offer numerous advantages, including superior durability, hassle-free maintenance, stylish designs, and maximum energy efficiency. We also offer Low-E coatings on our windows, which have reflective properties that help redirect harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays while still letting the natural light shine in.

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Energy-Efficient Window Materials

The EPA's ENERGY STAR program offers several ways for homeowners to improve their homes, which includes a window replacement. The ENERGY STAR label and rating system was also created by the EPA to help consumers identify the most trustworthy and efficient products that meet the government's strict standards for energy efficiency.

When it comes to windows, many frame materials and insulation properties can be found in ENERGY STAR windows:

Frame Materials

  • Fiberglass: These frames are highly durable and strong. They are also low maintenance and provide great insulation. Fiberglass window frames are usually more narrow than most replacement windows, allowing for more energy efficient glass.

  • Vinyl: These frames are also low maintenance and provide a high level of thermal insulation. Wide vinyl sills can be reinforced with metal, wood, or fiberglass for durability, and the sections can be hollow or filled with foam insulation.

  • Aluminum: Aluminum window frames are extremely durable and low maintenance. They are also sustainable as they are recyclable and are typically made up of at least 15% recycled material. The aluminum frame design can have thermal breaks, which help reduce heat loss. However, aluminum is a conductive material and is generally less energy efficient.

  • Wood: Wood frames, which are often favored in historical neighborhoods, are strong and provide good insulation. These types of frames are also often covered in vinyl or aluminum to reduce maintenance.

  • Composite: These frames are made of various materials that are blended together during the manufacturing process. This results in a highly durable, low-maintenance, and well-insulated window.

It is important to have your frame material selection to your specific climate as different types of window frame materials respond vastly different to extreme heat, cold, and moisture.

Insulation Properties

Not only do the frame materials play a role in how energy-efficient a window is, but the glass and its insulation properties do as well. Window replacements have now become one of the best ways to control solar temperatures and damaging rays that enter your home.

Solar control insulated glass has many advantages, including protecting your furnishings and floors from harmful UV rays, reducing stress on AC units, and helping maintain comfortable temperatures.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Energy-efficient windows contribute to sustainability by promoting energy conservation. These windows help decrease the reliance on external energy sources, reducing the overall environmental footprint. By choosing Energy Star-certified products, homeowners actively participate in a collective effort to mitigate climate change.

Beyond the financial savings, these windows contribute to a more comfortable living environment while making a positive impact on the planet.

Selecting Energy-Efficient Windows

White sliding window installed by North Georgia Replacement Windows

Even with all of the information already provided, we understand that knowing which windows to choose when shopping for a window replacement can be a tough decision to make. To help, we've created this handy checklist to aid you in choosing the best energy-efficient windows for your home:

  1. Pay attention to frame material: The frame material you choose can make a big difference when it comes to energy efficiency. Metal-frame windows, like aluminum, are going to be the worst insulators. Fiberglass and vinyl are going to offer the best insulation. Wood frames tend to fall in the middle.

  2. Go for double-pane: Single-pane windows will be a cheaper upfront investment; however, they may be hard to find and they do not meet most building code requirements. Double-pane windows, on the other hand, will save you more money in the long run. They have two layers of glass with a layer of argon in between, which makes them more effective at reducing heat transfer.

  3. Look for Low-E coatings: Low-E coatings are important to look for when shopping for new windows, as this will help manage heat transfer and block out harmful UV rays.

  4. Mind the NFRC ratings: National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) ratings help consumers identify and understand the energy performance of window products. The four criteria to look out for are:

    1. U-Factor: Measures a window's ability to keep heated indoor air from escaping.

    2. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): Measures how well a window will resist solar heat.

    3. Visible Transmittance: Measures how much natural light is emitted through the window.

    4. Air Leakage: Gauges the amount of air leakage or how much air will enter or escape.

Energy Saving Tips

One of the best ways to save money in your home is by upgrading your windows. According to the EPA, ENERGY STAR-qualified windows can help homeowners save an average of 12% on their energy bills.

However, if you can't afford a window replacement, there are still ways you can make your home brighter and give your current windows an upgrade:

  • Caulk your existing windows to seal and air leaks.

  • Update the weather stripping on your windows to fill in any gaps.

  • Add shrink-to-fit films to your windows to help block out cold air.

  • Use thermal drapes to help insulate your rooms.

  • Upgrade your blinds to insulated cellular shades.

  • Paint your walls a brighter color to help the room feel brighter.

  • Add mirrors to the room to help reflect the natural light.

What to Look For in a Qualified Replacement Window Contractor

Window installation by North Georgia Replacement Windows

In addition to choosing the right windows for your home, it's also important to make sure you choose the right contractor to handle the window installation process. Not all contractors are the same, and some will be more suited than others to install your energy-efficient windows.

Below are the top five things to consider when hiring a replacement window contractor:

1. Certification and Licensing

Always make sure you are working with a contractor who is fully licensed and insured to work in your area. Unlicensed contractors will advertise themselves as being more affordable, but they will come with higher risks. A licensed contractor will be insured and capable of installing to the highest standards.

2. Installation Expertise

Don't be afraid to inquire about installation experience when researching which company to choose. Well-qualified and experienced contractors will have nothing to hide and be happy to provide you with anything you want to know about their experience and training.

For example, just because a contractor says they do installations doesn't mean they are an expert window installer. Look into their specific experience concerning the job you will be asking them to perform.

3. Product Knowledge

The products listed on a company's website will also tell you a lot about their knowledge and skill level. If they are reputable window installers, they will likely advertise the use of high-quality window products and materials, such as Infinity from Marvin windows with great ENERGY STAR ratings. They should also offer a wide range of window styles to suit various homes and budgets.

4. Track Record and Reviews

Look into the company's track record. You can do this by looking up customer testimonials on their website or by searching for online reviews. Most well-qualified contractors with good customer service will proudly show customer testimonials on their website. You can also look at Google reviews and even comments on social media if they have an Instagram or a Facebook account.

5. Warranty

Finally, all reputable window contractors will offer a warranty for their service and products. This is something you can typically find on their website, or you can ask them about it when you sign up for an initial consultation.

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Why Choose North Georgia Replacement Windows?

Energy Efficient windows by North Georgia Replacement Windows

At North Georgia Replacement Windows, we treat our customers like family. We understand how important it is to choose the right contractor for your window installation, and we are committed to superior workmanship and customer service.

As an exclusive contractor for Infinity from Marvin windows, we offer some of the best products on the market. We also offer a wide selection of window styles and products to suit your individual needs.

When you work with us, you can rest assured we'll get the job done right and provide you with beautiful new energy-efficient windows that will last for years to come.

Ready to get started? Request a proposal today!

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