The ENERGY STAR logo is a symbol of energy efficiency in America. When choosing vinyl windows in Utah, it is imperative to look for this seal of approval from the government. This small label has a big message, telling which replacement units can truly move the needle of energy efficiency in your household.
There is no questioning the value of buying windows that bear the ENERGY STAR seal. However, there are still many misconceptions surrounding what the seal means.
To determine whether ENERGY STAR–approved vinyl windows can solve your energy efficiency goals or not, let us debunk the common misperceptions about them first.
They Yield Excellent Results Anywhere
Not necessarily, some ENERGY STAR–labeled windows do not deliver excellent performance across America. The United States is a big country with extreme climates that vary from region to region. What are considered energy-efficient windows in Texas may prove less effective in Minnesota.
ENERGY STAR certifies fenestration products, including skylights and glazed doors, for counties or zip codes based on the energy efficiency requirements in the area.
In the case of Utah, most of it falls under the Northern Climate Zone. The areas close to Arizona, like communities in Washington County, must use windows that meet the demands of the South-Central Climate Zone.
Fortunately, ENERGY STAR labels come with a map of the country, including the non-continental states of Alaska and Hawaii. The shaded territories represent the places where the product can be considered energy-efficient.
They Are Proven to Be Airtight
The presence of the ENERGY STAR seal has nothing to do with the weathertightness of a window. The label only features two energy ratings: U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. The former refers to the insulating quality of the unit while the latter demonstrates its ability to minimize solar heat gain.
The airtightness of a window depends on the quality of construction, style, and workmanship. The ENERGY STAR seal may provide no information about the Air Leakage rating of the unit, but the label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) does.
They Are Good at Daylighting
ENERGY STAR–approved windows usually block more sunlight than units with clear glass. The reason why the so-called energy-efficient underperform in this area is because one of their panes have low-emissivity coatings. These microscopic layers of material are meant to deflect the invisible portions of the solar spectrum, but they also reduce the admission of natural light.
Thanks to modern technology, though, many ENERGY STAR–certified windows can catch the sun without letting in the majority of infrared and ultraviolet rays.
Check out the NFRC label pasted on the unit, and check out the value for Visible Transmittance. The higher the number, the better it is at daylighting.
Overall, the ENERGY STAR seal serves as a good indicator of window quality and energy efficiency. But this label does not say everything. It pays to go beyond it to compare fenestration products so that not only is energy eficiency is clearly known but also how it will perform for your other household requirements.