Conserving heat and energy is important when you live in the Midwest, as it’s not uncommon to experience extreme heat and humidity followed by freezing sleet and snow. So, what the best way to create an energy-efficient home that keeps your family cozy without hurting your wallet?
Below, we’ve listed a few tips to help you find an energy efficient solution for your home and budget.
How to Get the Most Energy-Efficient Windows
There are four factors to look at when choosing energy-efficient windows.
1) Frames: When determining which frame material is right for your home, consider not just the efficiency but also the looks, longevity, and upkeep.
- For example, wood frames offer the best insulation and longevity, but they are vulnerable to rot and require more upkeep than other materials.
- Vinyl, on the other hand, can be cheap, and while it doesn’t have the same insulation properties, it can still save you heating costs when paired with efficient glass.
2) Glass: The type of glass in your window determines much of its insulation properties. Double-paned windows are the most recommended, as they are highly efficient. While triple-paned glass sounds like it should work even better, the reality is that the increase in efficiency is not worth the added cost and may even lose visibility.
You may come across a lot of jargon when choosing energy-efficient glass, so here are some common terms:
- When checking Energy Star glass, go for low ratings of U-value (resistance to heat loss) and SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient – a.k.a. how much heat enters through the glass).
- Low-E windows, which are coated with a thin metallic substance, are often recommended because they reflect rather than absorb heat.
- “Argon-filled” or “krypton-filled” glass means there is gas between the panes, which is good because it slows the transfer of heat.
3) Design: There’s not really a “best” option when choosing between double-hung windows, picture windows, or casement windows, as they each require different upkeep and offer different insulation properties.
Pro tip: Choose whichever fits your budget and your aesthetic.
4) Installation: It doesn’t matter how efficient your windows are if they’re not installed correctly. Check for leaks and drafts to ensure proper seals, and ensure your contractor uses pre-installation weatherproofing rather than sealants or foam, as these options are not waterproof.
How to Choose Energy-Efficient Siding
While siding covers more of your home than windows, it’s much simpler to choose. Like window frames, the only real choice you have here is choosing a material and making sure it fits your aesthetic and budget.
Wood and stucco require a lot more upkeep and refurbishing than other materials, but they are fairly efficient. For an extreme-weather climate like Wisconsin, good options are usually composite (i.e., a mixture of wood, wax, and resin) or insulated vinyl. Both are reasonably priced and low maintenance.
For More Energy-Efficient Ideas, Contact the Experts at Asher
At Asher Lasting Exteriors, we offer steel siding that has special reflective properties and added insulation to make your home as efficient as possible. It’s thicker than vinyl and easy to clean.
Are you ready to get started on your energy-efficient home improvements? Contact us for a free estimate on energy-efficient windows and siding today!