What window ratings should Minnesota homes have?

What window ratings should Minnesota homes have?

Regardless of the season, windows of your Minnesota home have a significant impact on comfort and energy savings.  Installing the right windows for your Minnesota home can produce a number of benefits, including:

  • Saving money on energy costs
  • Controlling comfort
  • Blocking street noise
  • Adding natural light
  • Protecting art and furniture
  • Reducing condensation

High quality windows can provide all of the benefits listed, however, the reality is that many  homeowners are sold lower quality windows that underperform in Minnesota.  It is important to understand how windows are rated and certified before making final decisions in a window replacement project.  To begin, we will review the certifications and ratings that are assigned to windows by the NFRC and Energy Star.

NFRC labels and their ratings

The NFRC label found on windows is generated by the National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC, for short.  Their primary program tests, certifies, and labels windows, doors, and skylights to determine their energy performance. 

"The NFRC label helps you compare between energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights by providing you with energy performance ratings in multiple categories."

U Factor

The U-Factor measures how well a product can keep heat from escaping from the inside of a room. The lower the number, the better a product is at keeping heat in. 

Range: 0.20-1.20.  Lower = Better.

Read more about window ratings and Efficient Windows.

Visible Transmittance

The visible transmittance rating is a measurement of how much daylight will pass through windows and light your home. The higher the number, the more natural light is let in, resulting in less need of artificial lighting.  Homeowners wanting more natural light should seek higher numbers in this rating.

Range: 0-1   Higher = More natural light.

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient

The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient is a measurment of how a product resists heat gain.  This is a critical measurement for the warm summer seasons in Minnesota.  Look for lower numbers if you want to spend less on cooling in the summer.

Range: 0-1   Lower = More efficient in summer.

Air Leakage

Air leakage rating is a measurement of how much air is transmitted through a product. Minnesotans will want to look for lower numbers in this category to reduce cold drafts from windows.

Range:  ≤ 0.3   Lower = Better.

Energy Star ratings for windows explained

Energy Star rating​

Helping consumers choose products that reduce energy expenses and protects the environment.

ENERGY STAR is assigned by the EPA, whch ensures each product that earns the label is independently certified to deliver high levels of efficiency performance and savings. 

Certified homes and apartments are at least 10% more energy efficient than those built to code and achieve a 20% improvement on average while providing homeowners and residents with better quality, performance, and comfort. 

Read more about Energy Star ratings

Windows engineered for all Minnesota seasons

The State of Minnesota recommends the following window ratings:

  • U Factor  0.30 or less.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient  .50 for good year-round balance.

There are two leading suppliers of high quality windows in Minnesota.  Andersen Windows and Marvin Windows.  Both provide standard window sizes and custom windows, engineered specifically for the northern climate.

Thinking about making your remodel a reality?   Review your window and door ideas with a project manager.  Let your project become our passion

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