Energy Efficient Windows
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, leaky and inefficient windows, skylights and doors account for up to 25 percent of the average household’s energy bills. Some sources estimate as high as 40 percent. A lot depends on where you live:
Cold climates lose energy in the form of heat
Hot climates lose energy in the form of cooling
The colder or hotter the climate, the greater your heating or cooling costs and the greater potential you have to save money on energy costs. Nearly everyone can benefit by replacing leaky, inefficient windows with modern energy-efficient windows. Depending on your location, you can cut energy costs by as much as 15 percent.
A Smart Investment
Replacing all of a home’s windows can be a big investment. The good news is, it’s an investment that can pay for itself in just a few years. Here’s how:
- Improves curb appeal and increases resale value. According to the 2008/09 Cost vs. Value Report (a combined effort by Remodeling magazine and REALTOR® magazine), homeowners can expect to recoup about 93% percent for vinyl or wood window replacement.
Reduces heating and/or cooling costs, which saves you money every year.
Increases the comfort of your home.
To find out more about the many benefits of energy-efficient windows, visit the Efficient Windows Collaborative. The window selection tool on this site helps determine an approximate change in annual energy use given your home type, window type and geographic region.
Components of an Energy-Efficient Window
What’s an energy-efficient window? Most will have at a minimum:
Double-pane insulated glass
Heat-resistant (Low-E) glass coating
- ENERGY STAR® rating
Three Dimensions of Energy Efficient Window Design—An energy-efficient window is a synergy of its components. At Milgard®, we call this the “three dimensions of energy efficient window design.” Here’s what you should look for in each of the three dimensions: glass, spacer and frame.
Frame – One of the important considerations you need to make is frame material. Two of the more energy efficient frame materials are vinyl and fiberglass. They do a particularly good job of reducing heat transfer and contributing to insulation value. Your ultimate decision on which of these to use may be based on aesthetics and cost. In making your selection, be sure to look for vinyl or fiberglass frames that have been specifically engineered for performance. For instance, both can be designed with chambers within the frame that enhance strength, noise reduction and insulation value.
Glass – Dual-pane designs use an air- or gas-filled space between two panes of glass. This insulates much better than a single pane. Special Low-E coating on the glass blocks infrared light to keep heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. It also filters damaging ultraviolet light (UV) to help protect interior furnishings from fading.
Spacer– A spacer keeps a window’s dual glass panes the correct distance apart for optimal airflow between panes. Too much or too little airflow can affect the insulating glass efficiency. The design and material of the spacer also can make a big difference in the ability to handle expansion and contraction and thus reducing condensation.
3D/ 3DMAX Energy Packages
Many Milgard windows are designed to meet ENERGY STAR® qualifications—and then some. But if you choose to take energy performance a step further, we have two energy packages that offer superior levels of efficiency: 3D® and 3D MAX® Energy Packages.
The two energy packages address energy efficiency through the three dimensions of a window: frame, product design and glazing unit. Components in a package could include such innovative technologies such as SunCoat®, SunCoatMAX® Low-E Glass, argon gas and EdgeGard™ and EdgeGardMAX™ spacer technology.
What’s really innovative about these two energy packages is, they take the guesswork out of determining how to get the energy efficiency you want from your windows. They allow Milgard to vary the selection of quality components by geography to perfectly match the window to the climate of your region.
Milgard and your dealer consider many factors when determining the right windows for your home (geographic location, home design and site orientation, to name a few). We then tailor the components of your energy-efficient windows (glass coating, frame design, spacers and gas fill) to produce a window ideally suited for you.
With Milgard 3D/3D MAX energy packages you get:
Superior energy efficiency
Superior protection for your furniture from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays
Superior comfort in every season
And, if desired, superior protection from outside noise pollution (available in packages that include EdgeGardMAX)