A lot of the time, window shoppers mostly consider two factors when faced with choosing a new window: its aesthetic beauty and whether or not they’ll be sturdy enough not to allow leaks. However, with the advent of so much information available, today, homeowner’s look beyond aesthetics when it comes to choosing their windows. That is not to say that looks should be disregarded, however, what’s more important today is whether or not a window conserves energy. A new generation of environmentally conscious consumers have driven the demand for a whole new market for energy-efficient windows.
Now is a great time to choose green, as the manufacturers of energy-efficient windows are many and the quality of their products keeps getting better. But before you decide which direction to take, make sure you know all there is to know about this type of window, factors you should take into consideration, and of course the best brands to choose from.
Types Of Energy-Efficient Windows
Energy-efficient windows will prevent the hot or cold air in your room from escaping. These kinds of windows will lower your utility bills and your carbon footprint. You can expect to save between 21 and 31 percent on cooling and heating bills within a year. They will also make your life more comfortable with their unique traits, whether it be blocking out noise or harmful lights.
You can find a few types of these value windows on the market. They are all essentially the same product, but some with more improvements. All of them are energy-efficient and prove that window evolution is real.
Double-pane, or double-glazed, windows are built with two layers of glass separated by air or an insulating gas (usually argon). Unlike older single-pane windows, the two-layered glass can protect your home from bad weather and noise outside. Most new homes today have double-glazed windows installed during construction, making this type of window a requirement and not just an option.
Like double-pane windows, triple-glazed windows come with extra layers to protect. The three layers of glass and two of insulating gas ensure maximum protection and make your windows even more energy-efficient.
Low-emissivity or Low-E windows have a thin metallic coating between the glass. This coating is thinner than human hair and helps keep the home temperature consistent by reflecting the outside temperatures inside. This type of window can also minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that enters through your glass, without affecting the amount of natural light in any way.
What Are The Best Energy-Efficient Window Brands?
Pella was founded in 1925, in Pella, Iowa. The company’s beautiful, high-quality, and affordable products and services have earned it a reputation of excellency. At Pella you can rest assured that you’ll be buying and installing aesthetically excelling, high-quality windows without breaking the bank. As proof that it is one of the most innovative and ever-expanding companies out there, Pella has over 150 patents under its belt.
The brand not only offers some of the best energy efficient windows, but it also offers superb services — customers can request a free-of-charge consultation visit any time they want. A stylish double hung window will cost you an average of $769 at Pella, installation costs included.
Ply Gem Windows and Doors
Ply Gem Windows and Doors has been in the business for over 75 years. With that kind of experience you know you can expect the best from this manufacturer. Over the years, the company, which is based in Bryan, Texas, mastered the art of designing classic and modern windows with high efficiency.
Ply Gem creates an array of classic and modern windows in vinyl, wood, aluminum, and wood clad, with energy-efficient features and the most attractive warranties in the industry. A mid-tier Ply Gem double-hung window from the Pro Vinyl series could cost you around $1000, with installation.
Out of Warroad, Minnesota comes one of the best energy-efficient window manufacturers in the U.S., Marvin. The company has been designing elegant and beautiful windows for over a century now. Built in 1912, the family-owned business earned itself a reputation of creating some of the most high-quality windows in the country. The brand doesn’t sell directly to consumers, but it has several local and international dealers and warranties that are totally consumer focused.
Even though the company’s prices are well near the high-end, it’s important to note that the quality of their products lives up to the high price. You can expect a simple double-hung window to cost anywhere between $250 and $800 plus installation costs. Check out their Ultimate, Coastline, and Modern lines within the Signature collection — the designs and efficiency will blow your mind.
Andersen Windows and Doors
Founded in 1903, Andersen Windows and Doors is one of the oldest and most reputable companies in the fenestration industry. This is a company that started out as a lumber business in Bayport, Minnesota, and has come so far ever since. Today, the company’s reputation as having the best energy saving windows extends way beyond the U.S. Besides windows, Andersen manufactures and installs doors, skylights, and more. It caters to everyone from regular DIYers to commercial contractors.
Andersen is famous for its excellent customer service and great warranties that protect their customers. A regular-sized, double-hung wooden window from Andersen would cost you about $530 without installation.
Built in 1960 in Klamath Falls, Oregon, JELD-WEN grew to be one of the most prominent window manufacturers in the United States. Today the company functions out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and has more than 120 manufacturing facilities in 19 countries. You can find their accessible and beautifully-styled windows all over North America, Europe, and Australia.
The company offers a wide variety of windows for all budgets. At JELD-WEN you can find anything from affordable vinyl replacement windows, to more sophisticated, custom wood windows. The price difference does not reflect a parity in durability or energy-efficiency in any way. It merely reflects the material used. For a mid-tier double-hung window, expect to pay anywhere between $320 and $850, depending on the frame material.
Factors To Consider While Choosing Energy-Efficient Windows
Before you embark on the journey of replacing your windows, there are five factors that you should take into consideration. Whether it be related to aesthetics, functionality, or efficiency, these five factors should be looked into in detail, to ensure that your house will be well protected and gorgeous at the same time.
The Window Frame
There’s no one right answer when it comes to choosing the perfect frame for your windows. Every frame material comes with its own pros and cons, but most are dependable under most circumstances.
Just because vinyl is one of the more affordable options for window frames it is not any less efficient. A well-constructed and properly installed vinyl frame is as good as any other reputable choice. The only downside of vinyl is that it is the most limited when it comes to color choices.
Aluminum is one of the strongest frame materials out there. Aluminum frames are a great choice if you live in a rainy and humid climate or in a hurricane-prone region. With that said, aluminum is not the best choice for heat loss and transfer.
Wood window frames offer the best insulative value and are arguably the most aesthetically pleasing. Built well, wooden frames can easily stand the test of time. Unfortunately, ones that are not built well might rot with time, especially if you live in a humid climate.
A well-built fiberglass window frame can stay in great condition even after 50 years. Fiberglass is stronger than vinyl and can withstand harsh weather. Its most common downside is that it is harder to customize into your preferred designs.
Wood-clad window frames offer the best of both worlds. They usually have a low-maintenance exterior, like vinyl, and a wooden interior that fights temperature transfer. Unfortunately, like wood frames, they are not advised in extremely humid areas.
Type of Window Glass
While the frame is important, what’s inside the frame is perhaps more significant to consider. It’s no argument that your house needs the most energy-efficient windows, and they need to be of the highest quality too. Most contractors will tell you that one of the best options is a double-paned, Low-E, and argon filled window. For harsher climates, a triple-pane glass window would be more advisable, but it might cost you a little extra.
The design of your windows is completely dependent on the exterior and interior of your house, your taste, and most importantly on the window’s efficiency. Certain windows are both beautiful and efficient, and should be considered with every new house renovation. Window styles that stand out are double-hung, casement, and picture windows. They all have high functionality, efficiency, and add charm to any design style.
Where You Live
Another influential factor to making your window choice is where you live. Your house’s geographic location and the weather conditions in the area determine which direction you will end up taking. Some materials and types of glass are better suited for hot and humid weather, while others are recommended for colder weather. There’s also the consideration of whether your house is in a region prone to natural disasters, and which kind. Thanks to energy-efficient window glass, most of these problems are easily solvable, as these types of windows can lock in the hot and cool air.
Proper Window Installation
Even the most high-quality materials won’t last long if not installed properly. That is to say, if you do everything right but mess up with who you trust your installations with, you might end up being disappointed. This is where licensed contractors come in handy. Make sure you’ve done the best for your house, because a correctly installed window can last you a lifetime.