What Kind of Windows Are Most Energy-Efficient?

Answered by Brendan ~ January 20, 2010 ~ No Comments

I am building a new home in the Chicago suburbs. I am acting as my own general contractor, and have a question about windows. Which type of frames--vinyl, wood, or aluminum is the most energy-efficient? Can I get a tax break for using energy-efficient windows in new construction?

Kendrick A. ~ Chicago, Illinois

Brendan Fowler

What Kind of Windows Are Most Energy-EfficientI cannot say what type of window is going to be the most efficient because within every type of window style there are energy ratings that vary. I can tell you how to determine the energy efficiency of any window.

The U-Factor or U-Value is a number used to describe the level of insulation a window has, the lower the U-Value the more insulation. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or SHGC, for warmer climates helps keep the heat out, lower number means better performance.

LO-E means low emissivity, this means that heat stays on the side of the glass where it originated. Based on the climate where you live and the solar exposures of the window, these factors need to be taken into consideration when purchasing your windows

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