Heating during Chicago winters is expensive, and we at Two Blue try to work towards finding you cost effective, sustainable energy savings to help ease your electric and gas bill when it gets cold.
One option is to upgrade your old windows to energy efficient windows. Energy star qualified windows start at around $100 for a normal sized single-hung window. Energy star windows can help you save an estimated $126-$465 a year.
Making an informed decision in important, and here are some options you can get if you are looking for new windows:
· Common Frame Materials
o Fiberglass: Paintable, low maintenance, and good thermal performance, but costly.
o Vinyl: Good thermal performance and cheap. Non paintable and easily cracked during the winter due to expansion and contraction.
o Wood: Good thermal performance. Needs heavy maintenance and has a high cost for quality frames.
o Aluminum: Strong, good color choices, and low maintenance. Quality is varied, and thermal performance is low. More suited for warmer climates.
· SHGC and U-Factor Glazing Ratings
o Most glass now have 2 panes of glass and a low-e coating for lowering heat transfer to ensure better insulation in your home. For colder climates, what you want is high-SHGC and low U-factor windows.
o SHGC is is an indicated value of how much solar radiation is passed through a window assembly. The higher a solar heat gain coefficient; the more solar heat it transmits.
o U-Factor is an indicated value of a window assembly’s ability to resist heat flow and insulate. Lower U-Factor numbers indicate better insulating properties.
· Other items to look for
o Multiple panes of glass with a gap between creates an air buffer to better insulate your home.
o Different gases can be used to fill the double or triple panes of glass for less thermal conductivity and better insulation.
o Low-e(missions) coating reflects Infrared and UV light from the outside, and also keeps your heat locked indoors.