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How Hard are Your Windows Working for You?

Take extra measures to ensure energy efficiency

(ARA) - How can consumers be sure the windows they buy will improve their home's energy efficiency and perform for years to come? The window industry has measurements and standards designed to help buyers make an informed comparison. Industry rating numbers are a good way to determine a window's total performance. 

Pella takes extra measures with every window to ensure it provides consumers with superior thermal performance, eliminates drafts, resists the elements and helps reduce energy costs. 

Thermal Performance And Energy Savings

Click here to seeOne measure of a window's performance is how much heat a window lets escape from a home -- in hot climates, how much heat it lets in. This amount of heat transfer is measured by a rating called a U-value. The lower the U-value, the better the window is at resisting heat transfer. And the less heat transfer through a window, the less a consumer will pay to heat or cool his or her home. Not surprisingly, Pella products consistently earn some of the best U-value ratings in the industry. 

Pella offers a wide variety of innovations and technologies that improve a window's ability to insulate. 

Pella's standard insulating glass is an economical glazing system that can help cut energy bills up to 10 percent.* It's an excellent choice for milder climates. 
Pella's InsulShield insulating glass is filled with argon gas to help reduce heat transfer.** It also features a multilayer low-emissivity (Low-E) coating that cuts down on fading damage to drapes, carpet and furniture. InsulShield insulating glass can cut heating and cooling bills up to 24 percent.* 
Pella's SmartSash II glazing system features two panes of glass with an optional Low-E coating on the interior panel. This system can help cut energy bills up to 17 percent.* 
Pella's SmartSash III glazing system has three panes of glass for improved performance, including optional Low-E coated insulating glass and interior panels. This glazing system can help lower energy bills by as much as 28 percent.* 
Pella's exclusive shades and blinds between the glass can further increase the energy savings of its SmartSash II and SmartSash III products. For example, Pella Slimshade blinds can cut winter heat loss by as much as 52 percent and summer heat gain by up to 42 percent.*

Another reason Pella windows offer remarkable thermal performance is that they're made of wood. Wood provides 1,100 times the insulating value of aluminum.

One way consumers can make direct thermal performance comparisons between windows is to look for the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label. It appears on most standard Pella windows and contains the window's U-value rating. The NFRC, formed in the late 1980s, is a council of window manufacturers, glass suppliers and code officials who have joined together to develop standard procedures for testing, certifying and labeling windows. The rating procedure begins with performance data submitted by window manufacturers. This data is analyzed by a peer review process so other manufacturers can study the numbers to assure they're accurate. The rating is then confirmed by independent testing.

Pella also offers many ENERGY STAR solutions. The ENERGY STAR program was created by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help consumers identify windows and other products that save energy. Performance requirements are tailored to meet the energy needs of different climates. This assures consumers that the windows they choose are the most appropriate for their areas. 

Air Infiltration

Just spend a moment in front of a poorly sealed, drafty window, and you'll know why eliminating air infiltration is an important part of a window's ability to keep a home comfortable and reduce energy bills. Pella takes extra measures to eliminate air infiltration and to help its windows stand up to the elements.

For example, Pella casement windows are six times tighter than the industry's highest residential standards for air infiltration -- thanks in part to Pella's superior frame and sash construction. Pella constructs its window frames with nylon frame corner locks that keep them square and sturdy. In addition, the frame corners are wrapped or injected with butyl sealant to seal them against water and air infiltration. Like fine quality furniture, Pella also fastens its sash corners three ways -- with a mortise-and-tenon joint, glue and a metal fastener -- for exceptional strength and good fit for the life of the window. Pella's casement weatherstripping system features an ingenious welded-corner gasket design. Unlike other window companies, Pella welds the corners of its weatherstripping for a continuous seal all the way around the window. A secondary leaf weatherstrip provides added protection against water infiltration.

Consumers can be assured that their Pella windows will prevent air infiltration because only Pella factory-tests virtually every standard venting double-hung and casement window for air infiltration. This testing procedure is built directly into the manufacturing process.

Resistance To The Elements And Structural Readiness

All Pella windows and doors also meet or exceed DP (Design Pressure) standards set by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). A window's DP rating is determined by its structural integrity and resistance to wind, plus how well it prevents air and water infiltration. The higher the DP rating, the better the window resists the elements. 

The result of Pella's precision engineering and innovative technology is that Pella windows can be a vital component of a home's energy efficiency and comfort. It also allows Pella to offer homeowners exciting window designs and applications like dramatic window walls and charming bow window breakfast nooks. So, when consumers invest in Pella high-performance windows, they are not only improving the beauty of their home, they're gaining practical energy-saving benefits as well.

Courtesy of ARA Content,, e-mail:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Pella Corporation, a world leader in the manufacture of premium windows and doors, has long been recognized in the window industry for its technology and innovation, having been awarded more than 50 U.S. product and design patents. Headquartered in Pella, Iowa, the company is represented by select building-materials retailers, five manufacturing facilities and a Direct Sales Network operating Pella Window Stores and Windowscaping Centers nationwide.

*Energy-savings numbers are provided for general comparison purposes only. All energy-savings figures printed above are the average results of computer simulations in a number of locations around the country, given a specific assumed home layout, with a specified number of windows and doors. The comparison is against single-pane wood windows. The calculations are based on U-value comparisons alone and do not take into account solar heat gain or air infiltration. Actual savings may vary considerably from these figures, so they should not be used to imply that any particular customer will achieve any particular savings by replacing their windows and/or doors or by choosing one option over the other.

**High altitude and tinted InsulShield glazing options do not contain argon gas.

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