4ThingstoConsiderWhenBuyingNewWindowsWindow shopping used to be easy. If it met the eye test and was made of glass it was good enough. Now there is a seemingly endless list of factors for every window. Different ratings, window types and styles can make your head swim.

To a degree, all of those things are important. But there are items you can prioritize that will guide you through your window buying journey and make the whole process a lot simpler.

By understanding the basic elements of windows and having a good grasp of what level of performance you want from your windows, you can then go about finding the right supplier and installer.

This article will have an energy efficiency bent to it because that it is one of the biggest factors that motivates new window buyers. If energy efficiency isn’t one of your priorities, don’t worry, this article will still provide you with great information to use in your window buying journey.

The Glass

This part of the window is the most intuitive for new buyers. Obviously, the glass used in your window plays a major role in how energy efficient your window is.

Finding out which types of glass perform best isn’t a guessing game.

Most windows are registered in the Energy Star program and are outfitted with stickers from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) that indicate how well they handle energy.

Energy Star ratings are centered around two metrics:

  • U-value
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
A window’s U-value indicates how resistant a window is to heat loss and its solar heat gain coefficient measures how much heat enters the window from the outside.

When looking at these numbers, the lower they are, the higher the window’s level of performance will be.

Cheat Sheet: A double-paned window with Low-E glass is a great energy efficient window that will maximize every dollar of investment. In extreme climates paying more to have triple-paned might be worth the investment, but for the average home owner going past two will see less of a return on your investment.

The Frame

Your window’s frame may play a supporting role, but it is not an element to overlook. Your frame will play an important role in the style and energy efficiency of your window.

Here’s a quick rundown of the types of frames:

Vinyl – Vinyl frames are great when it comes to energy efficiency, are easy to maintain and are one of the most affordable options available. Wood – Wood frames provide great insulation and offer a lot stylistically, but require more maintenance to prevent rotting and don’t do as well in extreme climates. Aluminum – Aluminum frames are incredibly durable, so if you live in a climate where strength is valued this is your choice. Doesn’t offer as much when it comes to energy efficiency and has limited style options.


The energy efficiency of your window is directly related to the type of window you purchase. Double-hung windows are traditionally the most popular choice and they do offer a lot when it comes to energy efficiency, especially when compared to single-hung windows or picture windows.

Casement windows are a popular option in climates that have higher wind speeds. The cranking units on these windows to open and shut them allow for a tighter seal, which also makes them good for efficiency reasons.


The last item to be aware of is installation. It’s not enough to pick a great window. Poor installation can ruin every good benefit a window has to offer.

The easiest way to handle this is to research a credible supplier that also handles installation. This way you can work with one person throughout the entire process and if anything goes wrong they can handle it directly.

Cheat Sheet: We do that! If we can help explain any window concepts or answer any specific questions you have we’d love to talk to you.