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Community and Q&A

Which are the best energy efficient windows?

N_Obrien | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I am looking to buy energy efficient windows. This winter our energy bills have gone unexpectedly high and while discussing this with a friend of mine he advised me to buy energy windows. I searched a few review sites and found that there are many window companies that offer energy efficient window installation. I have also checked this comparison chart between different window companies: [web site address deleted by editor]. But I am still confused on which one to choose. Can anyone here help me with that?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    The site you linked to isn't a real comparison site -- it appears to be a commercial site designed to sell certain brands of windows. I'm not sure whether your question is a back-door way to promote that web site, or whether your question is legitimate -- but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    A great many brands of windows have similar energy-performance specifications. What matters is the design of the frame -- narrow frames with a low U-factor are preferred -- the performance of the glazing (again, a low U-factor is preferred) -- and the quality of the hardware and weatherstripping.

    For more on glazing, check out this article: All About Glazing Options.

  2. charlie_sullivan | | #2

    "This winter our energy bills have gone unexpectedly high and while discussing this with a friend of mine he advised me to buy energy windows."

    Unless one of your windows got hit by a baseball and has a big hole in it, the windows are unlikely to be the reason for the sudden change in energy bills. What type of heating system to you have? Although we at GBA generally advise looking at the envelope before looking at the heating system, a sudden change sounds more like a heating system problem than an envelope problem. It could also be that the rates for your heating fuel or electricity have changed.

    I would advise first comparing your bills or checking with your energy supplier to see if rates have changed, and if not, getting a service visit to check out your heating system. It could be as simple as a clogged filter or control system malfunction on a heat pump.

    If you are facing increased rates from your energy provider, improving the envelope is likely the place to start, but the windows are likely to be low on the priority list. Getting an energy audit including a blower door test would point you to the right places to improve the envelope cost effectively, at much lower cost than replacing all your windows.

  3. dankolbert | | #3

    I think Martin's suspicion is correct. Esp with oil and gas prices at a pretty historic low.

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