On windows or doors for retail sale, you’ve probably seen a little blue sticker with a white star on it, although you might have not paid much attention to it in the moment. As the imagery suggests, this symbol refers to an Energy Star certification. This is an indication that the product has a high rate of efficiency. Sure, the name might sound nice enough, but what does it mean? Efficient in terms of what?
Today, we’re going to explore what Energy Star certification is and why it’s a smart choice for your home renovation selections.
What Are Energy Star Windows?
When someone says a window is an “Energy Star,” they mean that it has been certified to meet certain technical specifications set in place to measure energy efficiency. When windows do their job poorly, or aren’t designed well, they can be responsible for losing around 30% of a home’s heat or air-conditioning. On the other hand, when windows are constructed with these concerns in mind, they can help conserve existing heat levels indoors or retain extra energy from sunlight.
Factors like radiation, conduction, air leakage, and convection all influence how good or bad a window is at maintaining interior temperatures. For something to qualify as Energy Star, it must score well in two major categories.
U-Factor: Measuring Insulation
The U-Factor is the measure of heat transfer through the window and have an average range from 0.25 to 1.25. Lower numbers indicate a lower rate of heat flow and indicate that the window will provide better overall insulation. For example, a good u-factor for a standard window that frequently experiences cold climates (like those enjoyed here in Barrie) should be no higher than 0.25. Energy Star currently has different ratings for three different climate zones in Canada, but it should be noted that as of 2020, these zones will be condensed into one unified criteria standard.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
SHGC measures the amount of solar heat that a window allows into a home. The range here extends from 0 to 1, with the number (let’s use 0.25 again as an example) indicating the fraction of heat permitted to pass through. It should be noted that different rooms of the house may benefit from different SHGC ratings. For example, a room that regularly receives a lot of sunlight should look for a lower SHGC, while one that receives only a scant amount of daylight might be better matched with a higher SHGC. Your window provider will be able to better assess your specific needs.
With this understanding of Energy Star certification ratings, we can now get a better appreciation of what that means for windows. Windows with this certification have been tested and proven to have a specific allowance of energy transfer and heat retention, which, while being naturally more efficient, will also allow you to make an educated choice about which windows you’d like installed in specific places in your home.
How Much Money Do Energy Star Windows Save?
The actual amount of savings will vary according to where the home is located and the owner’s preferences for heating and cooling, but we can estimate how much a typical Canadian homeowner will save based on the type of window installed. When regular, single-pane windows are replaced by Energy Star certified alternatives, that home will save an average of $167-$616 per year. When Energy Star windows replace double-pane windows, savings will be around $35-$147 annually.
On the surface, this might not seem like much. However, let’s consider the savings over a period of 20 years. Simply by choosing a more energy efficient type of window, a homeowner can save as much as $12,320, and that’s without considering the boon to the environment through reduction of the demand on heading and cooling systems.
Want Energy Star Windows in Your Home?
Whether you’re actively thinking about the money you could save or you just want to be able to sit in the bay window without overheating, Energy Star windows could be a fantastic investment for your home at no sacrifice to the design or style you have in mind. At Kempenfelt Windows & Doors, we have over 25 years of experience in the selection, installation, and replacement of windows for homes all over southern Ontario. Our team will work with you to make sure that the product and service you receive are precisely what you envisioned.
Give us a call at either our Barrie (705-737-1554) or Newmarket (905-895-1554) locations, or you can contact us online with any questions or to request a no-obligation quote.