Reading an Energy Efficiency Label When Installing a Window

More people want to make their homes greener. One of the ways they are doing this is by purchasing energy efficient windows. However, many homeowners don’t know what they should be looking for. The National Fenestration Rating Council helps homeowners make better informed decisions.

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The NFRC Guide

The NFRC keeps track of performance ratings on doors and windows. Their primary objective is to see how energy efficient these products are. Every window should have an NFRC label so you can know how energy efficient it is. You should use this information before buying a window if you are concerned about sustainability or reducing your energy costs.

Here are a few things you need to know to understand what the NFRC label means.

NFRC Certification

The upper left part of the label will state whether the NFRC certifies the window. This is the most important place to check. Most manufacturers that are concerned about sustainability will look for this certification.

Information About Manufacturing

The upper right corner of the window shares a number of details about the way the window was manufactured. Here are some details that it will share:

  • Which company manufactured it
  • What materials were used
  • The model and style of the window

You can get a better idea of how suitable a window is after reading this information. You can also calculate the thermal coefficient of the window when you know the materials so you know how much heat is exchanged in the house.

U-factor Ratings

The U-factor is the metric used to measure the energy efficiency of a window. Most windows have a U-factor between 0.2 and 1.2. This ranking factor is inversely related to the window’s degree of insulation. In other words, windows with lower rankings exchange less heat and will be more energy efficient.


The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) is another factor that you will want to take into consideration. Windows with higher SHGC values transmit more heat through the sun.

You will need to keep in mind where you live before choosing a window that fits your needs. You will probably want to buy a window with a high SHGC if you live in a cold area and are more worried about heating your home throughout the year. On the other hand, you will probably want to buy a window with a lower SHGC ranking if you have to spend a lot of money cooling your home.

Condensation Resistance

Condensation is another factor that you may want to take into consideration, because it may indirectly reduce air temperature in your house. Homes with a higher condensation factor will accumulate less moisture.

Choosing the Right Windows

There are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration when purchasing windows for your home. Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors that many homeowners take into consideration. The National Fenestration Rating Council makes it easier for you. Make sure you look at the label on the window to see how energy efficient it is.

About the author: Kalen is a finance and consumer columnist who shares tips on home improvement and green living. He recommends Gilkey Window Company.

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