Window Technologies Have Advanced Over The Years
In the 1950s and 1960s powerful mechanical heating and cooling systems became widely available and energy was very inexpensive. Concerns about natural environment were distant. Homes were not designed to save energy and they needed large loads of energy to keep people comfortable year round. Inefficient single-pane windows were the weakest link in homes’ energy envelopes. Energy was moving freely in and out of the home.
In the 1970s energy costs increased rapidly and window manufacturers developed energy efficient windows. But his new technology was not catching on for a long time for one reason. The cost of energy efficient windows greatly exceeded the return on investment.
Today, with the skyrocketing energy costs, raised concerns about the environment, and changing lifestyles, the role of the windows has a new meaning. New window technologies are now available to address these issues. Finally, the cost of using energy efficient windows is getting in line with the return on investment.
2023 Energy Star Requirements
Window technologies underwent major revolution in the 1970s. And energy efficient windows became even more energy efficient in the recent years.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revised ENERGY STAR requirements and had made them even more stringent. In Northern Climate Zone new requirements are U-Value of 0.22 and any SGHC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient). What does it mean for the average consumer? It means that now the Energy Star windows will have to perform even better energy wise. This translates into more energy savings for the consumer and lower utility bills. These changes took effect on October 23, 2023.
Why Are These Changes Being Implemented?
Homes account for 40% of all material and energy use worldwide with windows being the weakest link to the integrity of the homes’ energy envelope.
Energy efficiency is the national priority.
Triple-Pane High Performance Windows Meet R-5 Ratings
The Department of Energy is promoting windows with R-Value 5. This program was initiated to promote windows with U-Values lower than 0.22 (R5). Currently, ENERGY STAR windows only have U-Value 0.30 (R-3). According to government research, lowering the U-Value from 0.30 (R3 window) to U-Value 0.22 (R5 window) may reduce the average heat loss through the windows by 40% and save even more money on energy bills.
“Last year I installed seven R-5 windows in my house in OH. I also buttoned up my insulation and stopped most air leaks as best as practical. My gas budget had been $220.00 per month for a couple of years. After 1 ½ years it is now $77.00. We did not lower our thermostat. I am upgrading to more attic insulation and a newer high-efficiency furnace soon. I am interested in seeing what happens.” Ric W.
No double pane window would currently have R-5 (U-Value of 0.20) rating.
However, most triple-pane windows with argon or krypton gas fills meet or exceed R-5 ratings.
VINYL – Preferred Material For Window Frames
Vinyl frame with its excellent thermal properties, low maintenance and affordability continues to gain market share and becomes the most preferred window frame for energy efficient windows of the future.