What are energy efficient windows?

Energy efficiency is overwhelmingly important to homeowners, which was made clear in a 2019 study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. 

For homeowners, installing energy efficient windows is one of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption.  Consequently, lower energy consumption means lower monthly heating and cooling bills. 

What are energy efficient windows?

Energy efficient windows work with the seasons. In the winter, they keep heat inside the home, while in the summer, they keep the cool air in. The climate zone where you live determines the type of window that is qualified for your location. 

The easiest way to determine if a window is energy efficient is to select ENERGY STAR rated products. ENERGY STAR rated windows are manufactured by an ENERGY STAR partner, tested and certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council, and meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Features of an Energy Efficient Window

For windows to be considered energy efficient, they must meet specific criteria. These include:

 

  • Low-E Glass. A special coating on the windows helps to reflect infrared light and ultraviolet light. This not only increases the insulation, but helps to protect carpet and furniture against fading from the sun.
  • Panes of Glass. Energy efficient windows contain at least two panes of glass, but can have three or more panes for more insulation. 
  • Warm Edge Spacers. Edge spacers keep the panes of glass secure at an equal distance apart. Warm edge spacers are non-metallic, helping to reduce the loss of heat around the edges of the window.
  • Gas Fill. In between the panes of glass, non-toxic, odorless, and colorless gases can be added. These gases help increase insulation. 

 

 

Framing Options

In addition to creating the aesthetic style of the window, window frames are as important as glass when it comes to energy efficiency. There are numerous options for ENERGY STAR rated window frames. All of these framing options are designed to provide optimal insulation:

 

  • Wood 
  • Fiberglass
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum 
  • Combination: Made of different materials, used separately throughout the frame (such as a wood interior and fiberglass exterior). 
  • Composite: Manufactured with blended materials. 

 

 

We know how important it is to both reduce energy usage and keep the home comfortable. Selecting windows that are energy efficient is an easy way to accomplish both.

How does the Horton Group eliminate noise in a multi-unit building?

Noise.

It can interrupt your workflow or wake you up from a deep sleep. Unnecessary noise can range from distracting to infuriating, and isn’t something you should deal with in the places you spend the most time in.

With all of our multi-unit buildings, whether a residential luxury condominium community or an office park, we concentrate on eliminating noise.

When you go into an old building, one of the things you may notice right away is the noise of footsteps from the floor above you or overhearing a conversation from a unit over. In the past, buildings were not always soundproofed because there weren’t solutions that were budget-friendly and effective. With today’s materials, soundproofing can be attained in any building. Below are some of the solutions to combat noise travel.

Walls

“Paper-thin” walls are no longer acceptable in buildings. To reduce noise from room to room, soundproofing the walls is an important step. It can be challenging to identify where noise is coming from, as sound travels the path of least resistance. When building, the entire space needs to be taken into consideration, including windows, vents, and doors.

Materials that are dense and resilient are best for blocking sound. For walls, this can be achieved with noise-reducing drywall, double walls (this is perfect for office spaces), and dense insulation.

Flooring

Flooring is another factor in eliminating unwanted noise from neighbors. Just like walls, layering up noise reducing products is most effective.

While carpet with padding underneath is one option for creating dense layers, most people prefer hardwood and tile in their homes. The Residences at 66 High Street were built with materials that make you forget about your upstairs neighbors. We start with a layer of Homasote soundproof board, which is made of 98% recycled materials. The next layer is AdvanTech plywood, followed by engineered hardwood flooring. These three layers help to eliminate noise while combining strength and moisture resistance.

If moving into a new building or searching for office space, ask what has been done to reduce noise. This will save you many headaches in the future.

What type of insulation do I need?

Insulation is needed in homes for many reasons: cost and energy savings, comfort, and even noise reduction. Depending on the climate where you live, the amount or type of insulation you need varies.

Insulation materials slow the flow of heat. In winter, it will slow the flow of heat from inside the home moving out, and in summer it slows the flow of heat from the outside in. The better insulation you have, the slower that flow will be, saving you on heating and cooling costs.

Insulation R-values refers to how much insulating power you need or have in your home. The higher the R-value, the more heat the material resists. The R-value is determined by the type of material used, the density, and the thickness.

The map and table below, from Insulation Institute, shows the insulation R-value needed based on location in the United States.

Zone Attic Wall Cavity Floor
1 R30 to R49 R13 to R15 R13
2 R30 to R60 R13 to R15 R13 to R25
3 R30 to R60 R13 to R15 R25
4 R38 to R60 R13 to R15 R25 to R30
5 R38 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
6 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
7 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30
8 R49 to R60 R13 to R21 R25 to R30

 

“This map shows thermal recommended levels of insulation for various climate zones, based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC is the model building code for the United States.” (insulationinstitute.org)

When building or renovating, consult with your contractor to determine what type of insulation is best for your home and location.

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