If you want to build homes that are quiet, secure, and energy-efficient, windows are not the detail to ignore. Choosing the right window design can lower energy-related costs while helping maintain a stable temperature indoors with reduced drafts. From gas-filled windows to models with enhanced insulation and tight fits—or ones that combine all of the above—there are more options than ever before. The process of finding the perfect design can be overwhelming, so knowing these five ratings and measurements will assure that a builder can make an informed decision to find the best fit for their next project.
When empty nesters Tom and Joyce Conner decided to build an energy-efficient dream house in Fairfax, Va., they said they knew from experience how critical windows would be to their comfort and finances. It’s why they had replaced drafty aluminum-framed windows in their previous home a few years back.
But they were not aware of how far windows had come since then. While glass is age-old technology, ever-improving coatings, assembly methods, chemistry and design have made panes so efficient that the top-rated windows claim to guard against heat and cold as well as a standard wall.
For their new house, the Conners chose hinged windows with snug closures, triple glazing, gas between the panes, and coatings that block the ultraviolet rays that heat the house and bleach fabrics. “It’s just a superior design,” Tom Conner said. Even guests notice that the windows aren’t the run-of-the-mill double-hungs, tipped off by the black composite frames that turn and tilt to open