What to look for in energy-efficient replacement windows for a remodeling or renovation project.
Joanne Ciccarello/Staff/The Christian Science Monitor
The decision to install energy efficient windows for our green renovation of Sheepdog Hollow was a no-brainer: The better a house is insulated, the more efficiently its heating and cooling systems will work.
And since we love natural light and want to take advantage of the bucolic views of the rolling fields, graceful old elms, and a pond on the property, we knew we were going to put in a lot of windows.
The key question was: how to choose the best window, with the best thermal efficiency, for the job.
On the Web, I found quite a few resources. The Efficient Windows Collaborative has a tool to help you determine how much money in heating and cooling costs can be saved annually by installing various types of energy-efficient windows.
In our area, it was more than a thousand dollars a year, based on a 2,000 square- foot house with 300 square feet of window area (15 percent of floor area).
That was impressive enough. But when I began to examine the different types of windows available, the choices left me befuddled. I had no idea what the difference was between a triple-glazed window with Low-Solar-Gain Low-E, Argon/Krypton Gas and a double-glazed one with Bronze/Gray Tint.
The Efficient Windows Collaborative offers detailed explanations about each one, but I wanted an explanation that was easier for layperson to understand. So I turned to Bob Siekierski, the windows expert at Shagbark True Value, our local hardware store.