Saturday, 6 November 2010

Choosing Energy Efficient Windows

Energy efficient windows can not only lower a homeowner's utility bills but can also be a step toward saving the planet. Most earthlings are aware of the ongoing depletion of our planet's natural resources. If steps aren't taken to preserve the bounty of resources naturally available in our environment, all of the world's citizens will be sorry. When selecting appliances, timber and building products, it is just as easy to choose an energy efficient product as a fuel hog.

Here are some tips to aid homeowners in selecting environmentally friendly windows:

- Look for the words "Energy Star" on the items. The "Energy Star" rating means that the products have met strict codes that classify them as green and efficient.

- Energy Building Codes must be met. Every state or city has adopted a set of building codes to make certain that new buildings, both commercial and residential, meet certain standards. For example, they must be fire safe, weather safe and accessible for people with disabilities, especially in the case of commercial buildings. They must be set back from the road specific distances and must be properly hooked up to gas, electric, water and sewer lines. They must also meet certain environmental stipulations in terms of energy efficiency -- just how stringent will depend on the municipality.

- Climate codes are also a consideration. Different regions of the country experience more severe weather than others. The United States have been divided into sections with climate codes numbered from one to seven, depending on the average local temperatures in the region throughout the years. Milder temps will need less protection built into the building components. Hot weather will mandate different needs for maintaining comfortable household temperatures than those with extremely cold weather.

- Directional orientation is important. The positioning of the house and the direction that each plate of glass faces will impact how much solar heat will enter the home naturally. Cold climates want to take advantage of as much solar heating as possible while warmer climates want to take the opposite approach. South facing windows allow the most sunlight to enter the building while north facing lets in the least. East and west positioning have a negligible effect.

- Shading has an effect as well. Planting trees or positioning other buildings in a way that shade will spill onto a home is another way of saving energy. If a climate is very hot, the more shade the better. If the region is frigid, the opposite is true.

- Components of windows have a large impact. The most fuel saving of the group have components such as proper frames to keep the inside temps contained, double panes, gas filled, protective coatings to control solar effects, and weather-stripping. These details will add up to utility bill savings every month. Single pane windows of the past are like an open door to heat and cold from the outside.

Homeowners who follow the above guidelines, as well as having the energy efficient windows properly installed by a professional, will be glad they did. Whether building a new home or retrofitting an existing one, the initial money outlay will be repaid every month due to decreased fuel consumption.