A Buyer’s Guide to Energy-Efficient Windows

If you’re looking to replace your windows, it’s important to do your homework before picking out your next set of energy-efficient windows. Consumers can work with their contractor to pick out the best options. The key is to know how each product is rated so you can get the most out of your investment into energy-efficient windows. Window manufacturers use certifications and ratings to inform builders and consumers about the quality of their products. Here is what consumers need to know about window replacement.

AAMA Certification

One of the first things to look for on a set of energy-efficient windows is an AAMA certification sticker. The AAMA Gold Label certification is the standard for high-performing energy-efficient windows. With an AAMA Gold Label, consumers can get the extra assurance that the construction industry has thoroughly tested the window replacement product for quality.

Design Pressure and Air Tight Ratings

Additionally, the best replacement energy-efficient windows will also have a design pressure rating of at least 50 or higher, or 35 or higher if it’s an AAMA-certified window. The DP rating measures how the window withstands hurricane force winds and water pressure. It’s also important to find out the air tight rating of the window. Look at the air leakage number and aim to purchase products with an air leakage rating of 10 or lower. Any higher than that means more air may escape out of the window, leading to energy or heat loss.

Solar Heat and Heat Flow Values 

Finally, while shopping for new windows also check out the solar heat and heat flow values. The SHGC or solar heat gain co-efficiency rating calculates how much heat from the sun emits through the window. In colder areas, this number should be high, and in warm climate spots, the number should be lower. A low U factor number is also better, which measures the heat flow from the window.

When choosing energy-efficient windows from your contractor, be aware of the differences in quality with these factors. Get more out of your window replacement purchase and opt for the best quality.