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Earth Day 2014: How Your Windows Affect Energy Efficiency

April 12, 2014

Earth Day 2014 is on April 22, 2014. This is a great time to take a look at your windows and doors and see if yours are eco-friendly. The latest designs in windows and doors are not only eco-friendly, they’re also attractive. There are several new energy-efficient doors and windows that are approved through the Energy Star program’s independent testing process, helping homeowners to save energy without reducing their comfort levels and performance features. The type of window glass or materials used, as well as the materials and design of the framing affect the energy efficiency in the home. Depending on what type of windows you have, you can lose roughly 30 percent of your hot or cold conditioned air. How much money you are losing in energy costs through your present windows and what type of replacement windows you buy are big factors. Replacement windows can pay for themselves in as little as two years, and up to 10 years as a conservative outer marker.

      Here’s why. When the sun shines on the Earth and your home, it carries infrared radiant heat energy which can pass through certain types of windows. It is absorbed, heating up these materials. In summertime, it also heats up the air of the room inside. Older glass, for example, can cause a room to become very warm on a spring or summer day. The air conditioning must work much harder to keep the room cool and comfortable. In wintertime, the warm air inside your house transfers its heat to the cold window and the outdoors through the conduction process. As a result, it takes more energy to maintain warmth in the room. Newer windows with energy-efficient properties contain windows with two panes that are filled with argon gas in the middle. The energy is stopped, not transferred through. This improves your energy efficiency.

      One concern over choosing new windows is how they look. Many people see little difference in the clarity of windowpanes. Durability is another factor. While some energy-efficient windows may be less durable than non-Energy Star types, it is still less expensive to occasionally replace a window when a baseball flies through than to keep your present window system.

      Homes in Suburban Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia are considered in the North-Central zone for Energy Star products. Some specific products are more effective in certain climate zones than others. If you’re interested in changing out your windows for Earth Day or in the near future, talk to our home improvement professionals at Four Seasons today.

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