Aesthetics and performance equally important when selecting energy efficient windows

As architects, builders and homeowners strive to differentiate their homes from the status quo, they'll quickly learn that design enhancements and energy efficiency often work hand-in-hand.  Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in windows.

Windows are one of the most attractive features of a home, providing style, light and ventilation to the interior while protecting it from the exterior elements.  They are also one of the most important factors in your home's energy efficiency.

Selecting windows for a particular project isn't a simple task.  Start by looking at a window's exterior.  Today's top-of-the-line windows are made with aluminum exteriors, which is highly corrosion-resistant and virtually maintenance-free.  Look for aluminum clad or extruded aluminum when researching; both are known for their ability to withstand dents, scratches and serious impact.  Aluminum also provides design flexibility for custom projects that require high levels of detail.

The interior of a window is an equally important consideration.  Vinyl options are available, but many homeowners prefer wood, which tends to provide a rich apperance that is easily customized when it comes to complementing interior and exterior designs.  Pine and oak are standard woods for windows and each has excellent thermal performance. 

The glass itself enhances the energy-efficiency of windows in many ways.  Triple panes are quickly becoming the gold-standard, offering excellent capabilities.  Seek panes treated with low-emissivity, or low-e coatings, which help control heat tranxfer.  Many companies offer additional glazing options that impact increased energy benefits, UV protection and even sound absorption.

Another important factor to look for is gas-treated window options.  Whether double or triple, the space between each pane can be filled with nontoxic gases such as krypton or argon.  This enhanses the thermal performance of each window.

Quaility construction and extensive experience is crucial when selecting a window supplier, particularly if your project includes custom designs. Quality materials paired with modern technology provide window options that are not only elecgent, but efficent and long-lasting too.

Don't forget, whether you or your clients are upgrading windows in 2013, homeownners can claim a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the product cost-up to $200 for eligible windows and skylights and $500 for eligible doors.  Visit EnergyStar.gov for more information.