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Going green: Energy efficient windows

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Going green: Energy efficient windows

New energy efficient windows can cut heating and cooling costs without sacrificing beauty.

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POSTED March 26, 2011 2:59 a.m.
Now that spring is here, many homeowners are thinking about remodeling projects that will improve the home this season and year-round. Whether you’re planning a few do-it-yourself improvements or a major renovation, it’s important to think “green.” One way to enhance the beauty and comfort of your home while saving on energy is by installing highly energy efficient windows.

Energy efficient windows with high insulating values, such as R-5, can result in significant savings on energy needed to heat and cool a home. Up until now, such windows have been cost prohibitive to most consumers. But thanks to programs like the Department of Energy (DOE)’s High Performance Windows Volume Program, homeowners can now purchase energy efficient R-5 windows at a more affordable price.

“The ultimate goal of such initiatives is to increase the awareness of R-5 windows and make purchasing more attainable for home and commercial building owners,” says Terry Mapes, energy efficiency engineer and principal investigator, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). “R-5 windows are some of the most insulating available on today’s market, and with so many manufacturers now producing such windows, it’s getting easier to find prices that suit every need and budget.”

So, what exactly does R-5 mean and why is it beneficial? An “R” value of a window means greater resistance to weather - making it ideal in winter to keep warm air in the home and cold air out and vice versa in the summer. This compares to common ENERGY STAR windows with an R-value of 3. Increasing the R-value from 3 to 5 reduces average heat loss through the windows by more than 30 percent, according to the DOE.

“We want consumers to know that although window technology has become more advanced through the years, it doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice beauty with ordinary-looking windows,” says Chris Pickering, vice president, marketing, Ply Gem Windows. “In combination with other energy efficiency upgrades such as insulated siding, these windows can dramatically improve curb appeal and home comfort in both the warm and cold months.”

Qualifying windows within the DOE program are available in different colors and styles to match a variety of home decor. Ply Gem Windows, for example, offers R-5 windows and patio doors for both new construction and retrofit projects that come in a choice of two solid interior colors, three wood grain interior options and four exterior colors. Multiple grille, screen and frame styles can be selected for a more personalized look.

If you’re looking to make a change this spring that will beautify your home while protecting the environment, consider installing energy efficient windows. For more detailed information, visit websites such as www.plygemwindows.com/R5 and www.windowsvolumepurchase.org, which are geared to help consumers better understand the benefits of R-5 windows and select styles that suit their needs.
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