Energy efficiency: you hear the phrase tossed around all the time, but what does it really mean?
Simply put, it means when your thermostat is set at a cool 74 degrees, it shouldn’t feel like a hot yoga studio inside your house (especially if your electricity bills are through the roof).
So, what’s to be done?
Well, we’ve consulted a leading expert in the field of energy efficiency, North Georgia Replacement Windows, for premium insight into transforming one’s home into an airtight barrier against one of the most scorching summers in Georgia’s history.
Why isn’t your home cooling sufficiently in the summer (or heating in the winter)? North GA Replacement Windows identifies the main causes of ineffectual energy transfer:
- Repeated expansion and contraction of exterior walls form changing weather
- Loose seals around wall joints, eaves, electrical wiring
- Homebuilders skimping on higher-cost, energy-conserving materials and protocols
- Improperly installed insulation around all areas of the home’s frame, furnace, water heater
- Gaps in the ductwork. Explains North Georgia Replacement Windows, “if a screwdriver can fit into the hole, then energy is being wasted.”
These factors, compounded over time “create tiny gaps... If you were to put all those small gaps together, they’d add up to the size of an open window or door from which air is leaking out of.”
According to the North Georgia Replacement Windows experts, the three most vulnerable places where energy escapes a home are, floors, the roof, windows and doors.
Floors and Roof
The experts ascertain that 25% or more of a home’s energy is lost through the roof and floor. Fortunately, in both areas, the solution for reining in escaping air is the same: proper insulation.
If you go up into the attic of an older home (over 15 years), chances are you’ll discover a kind of fiberglass “batt” insulation, which is rolled out in sheets or fiberglass in loose-fill form. Modern thermal technology has exposed a great flaw in this product – it settles flat over the years to lose its insulative integrity. The solution?
Spray foam insulation
Unlike blown-in insulation, which sits on your attic floor, spray foam insulation sticks to the underside of the roof in a thick, dense layer. This even layer of protection keeps your attic a consistent temperature in hot summers and cold winters so that the HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. The attic, which is usually hot and stuffy or freezing cold, will now feel more like a regular room in your home.
Additionally, spray foam will also create an airtight seal around a vent, window or door when it’s applied correctly. Small gaps in a home’s structure add up to a drafty home, and spray foam helps completely eliminate holes. For even more protection, spray foam can be applied inside walls, along basement walls, or under floors to create a tight barrier against the weather. Remarkably, spray foam can be applied to create a 360 degree barrier to completely insulate a house.
As recently as the 1990s, energy-efficient windows were an oxymoron. Windows meant a hole in the exterior, which meant less efficiency for the home. Today, the market for temperature-blocking panes has exploded without sacrificing style or security.
A window’s effectiveness depends on three main components: framing material, glass, and gas.
For the frame, the choices fall into these categories, from least to most expensive...
- Vinyl: Most popular since the 1970s. Maintenance free, good insulation, moisture resistant. Can not be repainted.
- Aluminum/metal: Modern, sleek design. The least energy efficient.
- Fiberglass Fastest growing option today. Incredibly strong, resistant to rot, warping, and rust. Some estimates say it lasts 40% longer than vinyl counterparts. More efficient, environmentally friendly, and have a near zero thermal expansion rate, and tight seals.
- Milled PVC: A different form of vinyl that is solid throughout, rot resistant, and can be painted.
- Composite: A combination of wood fibers and thermo-plastic polymers. Resembles wood. Strong, resists moisture and decay better than real wood. Can be textured, stained, and painted.
- Wood and Clad wood: Most aesthetically pleasing in a classic sense. High maintenance required.
Frames serve a purpose, but the bulk of energy-efficiency actually comes the glass pane. Far and away, there’s one industry standard for homes in the southeast is the double-pane, Low-E glass, vacuum-sealed argon fill window.
Don’t get lost in the alphabet soup of confusing technical terms either. R factor, VLT, LSG, SHGC? Simply look for a low U-value (.2-1.2) and the Blue Energy Star sticker. Here's some clarification on what the labels mean.
There are a number of ways to test a door’s energy-efficiency:
- Cold to the touch in winter and hot in summer
- Drafty on the sides or underneath
- Chipping, warping, beveling of trim
- If a dollar bill is shut in the door and is easy to pull out, it isn’t efficient.
The market for energy-efficient doors has flourished right alongside its window counterpart. You can have whatever material you desire: customized wrought iron, fiberglass, wood, steel, and on. But, after extensive research, North GA Replacement Windows’ field of technicians have identified the best of the best:
Max Green entry doors
These doors are considered the most energy efficient hybrid wood-and-fiberglass doors in the world.
Don’t sweat inside your house another day. Contact North Georgia Replacement Windows if your doors or windows need an upgrade.