In countries like Canada where the climate ranges from scorching summers to harsh winters, having energy-efficient windows and doors can be a great help in weathering all seasons while lowering your energy bill.
But with so many products on the market to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which type of window or door can help you stay comfortable while slashing your energy costs. This is where ENERGY STAR products step in.
They’ve set a standard that is widely used in the United States and in Canada to determine if an item is energy efficient or not.
But what does the ENERGY STAR symbol mean? How do you determine “good” energy performance ratings? We’ll get to these questions below, so keep reading!
What Is ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR is an Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program based in the United States. However, the government-backed symbol is also widely used in Canada to determine an item’s energy efficiency.
This standard helps both individuals and businesses alike to save energy and money while also helping save the environment.
To determine how energy efficient your windows and doors are, products are tested using the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) A440.2 standard. Their energy performance is then rated using values such as:
- Energy Rating (ER): This value only applies to windows and doors to demonstrate the balance between the U-Factor, SHGC, and air leakage.
- U-Factor: This is the rate of heat transfers from warm to cold areas. It tells you how well a window or door insulates an area of your home, with a lower number indicating a more energy-efficient product.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): This ratio shows how much solar radiation is transmitted directly to and absorbed by the product. The higher the number, the more solar heat gain is stored in the product. The lower the SHGC number, the less solar heat is transmitted and the greater a product’s shading ability.
- R-Value: This indicates how well a product can resist heat transfer or the better it is at insulation. The higher the number, the more energy efficient it is.
- Visible Transmittance (VT): This is the amount of visible light that can pass through a window or door. An item with a higher VT means it can transmit more visible light.
- Centre-of-glass rating: This is a value that only measures the energy performance of the glass portion of a window or door and not the entire product.
What Makes Something ENERGY STAR Certified?
It’s not easy for a product to become ENERGY STAR-approved. This is because it has to go through numerous tests and experiments to determine its energy performance. The criteria any door or window must meet in order to fit the standard set by ENERGY STAR is:
- It has to be manufactured by an ENERGY STAR partner;
- It has to be independently tested as well as certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC); and
- It meets the ratings provided by NFRC as well as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Why Should You Choose Energy-Efficient Products?
Choosing energy-efficient windows and doors offers a range of benefits for the environment and your wallet. Some of these advantages include:
- Lower energy costs: ENERGY STAR products are designed to conserve energy, which means you will see a reduction in your energy bills over time even if you use a lot of electricity or gas to power your appliances or heat your home.
- Improved comfort: Energy-efficient products better insulate your home, helping to maintain a more consistent indoor temperature.
- Increased property resale value: If you are planning to sell your home in the future, investing in energy-efficient products can help to increase its value.
ENERGY STAR Window Criteria
In order to be ENERGY STAR approved, your windows must be able to protect you from harsh weather patterns. This means they should have good insulation and keep you warm during winter and cool during summer.
In Canada, ENERGY STAR certified windows must have a U-factor of 1.4 W/m2K or lower and a maximum U-Factor of 1.22 W/m2K.
Alternatively, you can also measure the energy-efficiency rating through ER value. This is an alternative measure that includes the solar gain effect of the window. The higher the ER, the more energy efficient the item is. ENERGY STAR windows have an ER value of 29 or higher.
ENERGY STAR Door Criteria
In order to get the ENERGY STAR seal of approval, doors need to meet a different set of criteria. While an entry door may have glass inserts, they still have a much lower glass-to-frame ratio in comparison to windows and skylights. This means that doors generally provide more insulation compared to their full-glass counterparts.
Just like windows, for a door to be considered energy efficient, it must have a U-Factor of 1.22 W/m2K or lower. Air leakage, which is the volume of air flowing through a fenestration system, can occur around the edges of doors and result in drafts and energy loss.
Therefore, doors should have an air leakage rate of 0.3 cubic feet per minute per square foot (cf m/ft2) or less to be considered energy efficient.
Get ENERGY STAR-Certified Doors and Windows at Burano
There are several ways you can check whether the windows and doors that you bought are ENERGY STAR-approved. Typically, it is specified on the label that provides thorough information on each product.
For the best windows and doors, look no further than Burano Doors. We offer a wide selection of beautifully designed doors and windows that meet ENERGY STAR’s high standards.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you!