Energy Efficient Windows
You might wonder why a company that specializes in HVAC would write an article on energy efficient windows, but there is a reason. Florida climate primarily demands cooling for home comfort. Lack of energy efficient windows in this climate can have a very negative impact on your total electric bill. It also can have an impact on the efficiency of your cooling system.
Choosing Energy Efficient Windows in Florida
You will hear a lot of terms thrown around when energy efficient windows are discussed. What you need to understand is what the different energy performance ratings mean. The most important factors to look at on the NFRC label every new window must have are the U-factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).
The U-factor tells you how much heat will be gained through a window. The lower the number is the more the window resists heat entering your home. This means that a window, door or skylight with a rating of 0.35 is going to be more efficient at keeping your home cooler than one rated at 0.75.
The SHGC tells you how much heat from the sun passes through the window. Once again, the lower the SHGC number, the more efficient the window is at keeping your home cooler. A skylight with an SHGC rating of 0.40 isn't as good as one with 0.32 rating.
IECC Requirements for New and Replacement Windows
In Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties IECC requirements mandate that new and replacement windows must comply with certain standards. Window, skylight and door U-factors cannot exceed 0.75 and SHGC ratings cannot exceed 0.40. Windows that are not built on site, must have labels that identify these two energy performance ratings.
The windows also need labeling that demonstrates the windows comply with air infiltration requirements. Air infiltration/leakage rates cannot exceed 0.30 cfm per square foot of window area. Swinging doors cannot exceed 0.50 cfm per square foot of door area.
Other information on the label is usually optional but worth looking for. Visible Transmittance (VT) tells you how much light the window lets into the home. Air Leakage (AL) tells you how much air the window allows to leak out or in, something that can be very important for energy conservation.
Condensation Resistance (CR) tells you how likely the window is to form moisture inside your home. When this rating is included on the label, it will be a number between 1 and 100. In this case, you want to look for a high number.
Other Benefits of Energy Efficient Windows
These IECC requirements don't just cut down on your electric bill. They actually help to make your home a more comfortable place to live.
A Quieter Home
Double-pane windows with a gas-filled layer cut down on more than heat gain or cooling loss. They help to make your home quieter. If you have a home where you've been using "storm" windows, you'll be amazed at how much quieter your home is after your new windows are installed. Not only will the new windows be more efficient at preventing heat gain, the gas doesn't vibrate and amplify sound waves like the air space between storm windows and permanent windows.
Longer Life for Carpets and Furniture
Low-E coatings cut down on the amount of ultraviolet light (UV) light that penetrates the glass. This extends the life of your furnishings. Upholstery lasts longer and carpets don't fade as quickly.
Ability to Use a Smaller HVAC Unit
Often a HVAC company is able to recommend a smaller HVAC unit after using the U-factors and SHGC ratings of your windows and doors to calculate what size of unit you need. This is because it takes less energy to keep a home cool when the windows aren't letting as much solar heat into the home.
Baker & Sons Air Conditioning, Inc. has been providing HVAC services in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties for 23 years now. We have considerable experience designing HVAC systems that provide just the right cooling for your home or business. Whether you want to evaluate the savings you will experience from installing energy efficient windows in an existing home, or guarantee that your HVAC system complements your energy efficient new home, contact us today for a fair quote.
We know that quality work at a reasonable rate is important to you. That's why we will find a solution that will save you money for years to come.