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Choosing the Best Energy Efficient Windows

Sally Painter
Couple shopping for replacement windows

You can save on your heating and air conditioning bills when you invest in the best types of energy efficient windows. Compare each type, so you understand which one best meets your needs.

Andersen Windows and Doors

Andersen Windows and Doors has been a premier window manufacturer for over a century. The window series offer various materials, such as wood, Fibrex® (a composite alternative to vinyl), vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass.

Window Glass

The window glass is energy saving and features superior resistance to weather elements. The windows are designed to prevent heat loss during the winter and to block solar heat during the summer.

  • The windows are low-E and offer UV protection with clear dual-panes.
  • SmartSun glass has amazing properties that allow the glass to control the infrared energy transmitted
  • The SmartSun coating blocks 95% of the UV rays.
  • More visible light is allowed into the room.

Award-Winning Company

Andersen is an award-winning company and has racked up accolades for over a hundred years. Some of the more recent awards include:

  • Energy Star Award 2019 Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence
  • Readers' Choice 2018 from Green Builder
  • Most Used Brand by Builders for 21 years from Hanley Wood Builder Brand Use Study 1998 - 2019
  • Most Used Brand by Remodelers for 13 Years from Hanley Wood Builder Brand Study 2006, 2010, 2013, 2015, and 2017.

Pricing for Andersen Windows

The window prices begin around $100 for aluminum windows. You'll pay around $200 for double hung composite window to $450 for double hung wood windows and higher prices for larger windows.

Pella

Pella windows was founded in 1925 and states homeowners rate the windows as #1 for the highest quality. The Pella Lifestyle Series is #1 for the performance of a wood window for energy, sound and value. The company offers windows made from wood, fiberglass or vinyl. Pella practices responsible forest management and sustainability.

  • #1 for limited lifetime warranty for wood windows.
  • Pella is considered an innovator in product and technology with over 150 patents for product and designs.
  • All product series provide energy-efficient options to buyer and meet or exceed the Energy Star® certification in all U.S. states.
  • Window glass undergoes infrared camera to demonstrate the thermal efficiency of Pella windows with double-pane glass with Low-E coating and argon gas between the two glasses.

This video demonstrates the infrared camera recording the thermal coloring around the Pella window.

Awards include:

Pricing for Pella Windows

Examples of pricing for Pella windows include, Pella 250 Vinyl series $90 to $400 (installed). The Lifestyle wood windows sell for around $160 to $1000 (installed).

Marvin

Marvin windows was founded in 1912. The company is known for its outstanding ability to replicate historic millwork. It is also recognized for window energy performance.

Awards Marvin's received include:

Energy Efficient Windows

Marvin windows are certified by National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and Energy Star for their performance. The ratings are for the U-factor and solar heat gain. Marvin windows insulate your rooms against solar heat in the summer and heat loss in the winter with low E panes and argon gas between two panes.

Windows for Environment and Architecture.

Marvin offers window designs specific for various environmental and architectural solutions. These are found in some of the window series and designs.

  • Coastal windows designed for coast zone extreme weather.
  • Historic window designs tailored for specific architectural needs.
  • Replacement windows can be customized to fit.
  • Contemporary window designs allow for greater expanse of views.

Pricing for Marvin Windows

The prices for Marvin windows cover a wide range since the more expensive windows are usually custom designed to fit architectural requirements. The prices begin around $280 and go up to around $4,000 for specialty high-premium windows.

This 1950s home features large contemporary window designs created to allow greater expansive views.

Tips for Choosing Energy Efficient Windows

You want to select windows that are Energy Star rated to ensure you can minimize heat loss and prevent heat gain.

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum windows aren't very effective in preventing heat gain since the metal absorbs heat. However, if you live in a very humid or rainy climate, aluminum windows can be a practical choice. Aluminum windows can satisfy hurricane building codes.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are inexpensive compared to wood windows. Vinyl windows are a budget-friendly practical choice and don't require any maintenance. Vinyl windows can last up to 20 years. If you select a high-quality vinyl window, you can end up with an energy efficient solution for your window budget.

Wood Windows

Wood windows are a solid choice for insulation. Many are wood clad, meaning they have a vinyl outer coating over the wood to reduce maintain and upkeep by protecting the wood. Some wood windows have aluminum exteriors.

Glass in the Windows

Double-paned windows that feature Low-E glass offer great insulation especially when the space between the panes is vacuum sealed with argon gas. Be sure to understand the warranty on this type of window since they can occasionally leak ,and condensation occurs between the glass panes. If you live in an extreme winter environment, you may find triple paned windows a highly efficient way to get through the winter with a lower heating bill.

Types of Windows and Energy Efficiency

There are several types of windows you can select. The most common ones include casement, double hung and expanse windows.

  • Casement windows are better for high wind areas since they can be cranked closed and self-seal against air leaks.
  • Traditional double-hung windows are opened by sliding the lower or upper half up or down. This design doesn't allow for as snug a seal as a casement window.
  • Expanse windows, also called picture windows, don't open and are sealed in place within the window opening. These can be customized in size and shape.
  • Slider windows can feature two windows that are side-by-side that slide or one stationary window. These windows have tracks that can become filled with dust and dirt, creating air leaks.

Shopping for the Best Energy Efficient Windows

There are many things to consider when shopping for the best energy efficient windows. Decide on the style of window you like and then compare what each brand has to offer before making a final decision.

Choosing the Best Energy Efficient Windows