Did you know that there are 920 wood door and window manufacturers in the United States¹.? That’s staggering! But if you are considering replacing your windows, your decision process can be a LOT simpler with just a little background knowledge.
One way to begin your search is to determine how important energy efficiency means to you. If it’s one of your key decision factors, then it’s worth investigating the Energy Star classification. Energy Star is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy efficiency. The program provides information on the energy consumption of products and devices using different standardized methods².
Regarding window efficiency and effectiveness, Energy Star categorizes the US into 4 climate zones:
If you want to check out your climate zone, go to the “Climate Zone Finder” tool on the Energy Star website. Just select “windows”, the state and the county. The results of the tool will provide statistics on two key efficiency measurements: U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Co-Efficient (SHGC). Essentially, the lower the U-Factor and SHGC numbers, the better.
U-Factor measures the insulating characteristics of the glass, or how much heat flow or heat loss occurs through the glass due to the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures. In general for windows, it ranges from 0.20-1.20. The lower the U-Factor, the better the window insulates³.
The Solar Heat Gain Co-Efficient (SHGC) measures how much of the sun’s heat comes through the window. It can range in value from 0 to 1. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat the window lets in⁴.
For more in-depth information on the program requirements for Energy Star product partners, see the Energy Star Program Requirements for Residential Windows, Doors and Skylights document.
There are many factors that may influence your decision on a brand and style of window. In the end, it all boils down to getting the best return on your investment, whether immediately or in the long run. According to Architectural Digest (June 20, 2023), “Installing energy-efficient windows is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and your utility bills at the same time. According to our research, double-pane windows with insulated vinyl frames and Energy Star logos usually give you the best bang for your buck”.
Energy Star-rated windows typically cost more than others, but if your plan is to remain in your home for years, the return on investment in energy savings can justify the initial investment. Or, if you are interested in the resale value of your home, Energy Star-rated windows will likely carry weight in the future buyer’s decision. According to Utilities One, “Installing energy-efficient windows can significantly increase the value of your property. Potential homebuyers are increasingly conscious of energy efficiency, and eco-friendly features can make your home more appealing, potentially leading to a higher resale value.” For others, buying Energy Star-rated windows is simply the right choice based on their personal preference.
As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of window manufacturers in the US, some with names more recognizable than others. But recognition is not always the “signature” of highest ranking. When deciding on which replacement window manufacturer to choose, we suggest you read and compare both specifications and consumer & industry opinions for each.
Recently (2023) Provia was ranked in the top 3 for quality (out of 42 vinyl window manufacturers) by an independent residential contractor study – you can download the study here: 2023 Builder Brand Use Study. The top two reasons for ranking the brands were product performance and availability, followed by ease of installation and warranty.
Considering the quality and popularity of Provia windows, we at All Craft Exteriors (Rochester, MN) believe it is a brand to seriously consider for your home.
With their strong focus on quality and energy efficiency, Provia is selective as to who installs their windows. All Craft Exteriors is an authorized Provia window dealer and installer. We sell Provia windows that qualify as “Most Efficient” status, per the latest Energy Star standards. We are also the largest home exterior renovation company in Southeastern Minnesota, specializing in:
Our motto is, “Built on Trust” and that is backed up with our life-time labor warranty. By choosing Provia windows and All Craft Exteriors, you not only get a superior product built to last – you also get a superior installation guaranteed for life.
If you’d like to find out more about Provia windows and All Craft Exteriors, we invite you to visit our website: allcraftexteriors.com
³ ⁴ Vitro Glass Education Center