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How to Buy the Most Energy Efficient Double Hung Windows

Energy efficiency is a huge trend in home building and remodeling, as people are beginning to take steps to decrease their amount of energy consumption. In February 2009, the President introduced a bill that will give homeowners who upgrade their homes with energy efficient products a tax credit of up to $1500. Of course, there are limitations on what items can qualify for a credit, but hopefully this article will give you the information you need to make a wise choice.

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Energy Star rated double hung windows

The Energy Star program is a voluntary program that manufacturers may choose to participate in. This program rates the efficiency of everything from washers and dryers to double hung windows. However, just because the double hung windows you choose are Energy Star rated doesn't mean they will qualify for the tax credit. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is the only federally approved ratings council when it comes to windows and doors. In order for your windows to qualify for the tax credit, it has to have a NFRC label, and has to have a solar heat gain coefficient (SGHC) of 3.0 or less. This number represents the amount of heat allowed to move through the glass, and the lower the number, the more energy efficient the window is.

Features to look for in double hung windows

When choosing energy efficient double hung windows, there are some key features that you need to be aware of. The first thing you need to look at is the label on the window. The most energy efficient windows have a SGHC of 3.0 or less and a U-factor of 3.5 or less. Another feature that can make this style more energy efficient is the type of glazing the window has. Low-e coating over the glass makes it more difficult for heat to move through the glass. Also, glazing (transparent metal applied over the panes) allows the windows to reflect light from the outside.

The windowpanes themselves are another feature that adds to the efficiency. All double hung windows are double paned, as with most new windows, but for that little bit of extra money, you can go for the triple paned windows. The space between the panes is filled with an insulting gas like argon, which makes it almost impossible for heat to escape.

The material that the frame is constructed of is one more feature to look at. Some materials are better at holding in heat than others. Vinyl is the most popular frame material, but wood is the most insulating. Another choice, but more expensive, is wood clad with vinyl or aluminum.

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