1. Understanding the NFRC Label
Now that you know not to settle for anything less than ENERGY STAR-qualified products, it’s time to discuss the importance of NFRC ratings. Each ENERGY STAR- rated window or door has been individually tested by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and bears an NFRC label on it as proof. The NFRC is a third-party, nonprofit organization that grades windows and doors to help consumers compare products and brands. This black and white label is loaded with pertinent information about the performance of windows and doors. Here’s how to decipher three important NFRC stats.
U-factor is a term used in the construction industry to illustrate the amount of heat transferred through the structure of a building, including through windows and doors.
In layman’s terms, the U-factor tells you how efficient windows and doors insulate.
U-factors range from .25 to 1.25, with a lower number indicating better insulation. Beware of extremely low U-factors that sound too good to be true. An artificially low rating may be due to testing the center of a window pane. A reputable company will only discuss NFRC ratings, that are conducted around the seals of window and door units.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)
The SHGC measures how much heat from sunlight transmits through a window. The lower the SHGC rating, the less the window or door transmits solar heat. Typically, the SHGC rating varies between 0.25 and .80. A high SHGC may provide some bonus heat in the winter months, but can also lead to high energy bills in the summer when compensated with air conditioning.