ENERGY STAR®, R value, U value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient… insulation is essential, because it ensures the best energy performance. It helps reduce energy consumption (and energy bills), improves air quality and increases comfort on a daily basis.
Here are some tips to help you get the appropriate insulation:
Energy efficiency is expressed in R or U values in the United States, whereas in Canada, it is expressed in R, U or ER values.
The R value is the resistance of a given material to thermal transmission. The higher it is, the better the insulation. Specialists will often refer to the R value, and it’s definitely an important number. Please note that a typical home wall gets an R-25 rating, whereas an excellent window gets an R-5. This is why the R value should not be your sole criterion.
The U value indicates the heat transfer rate, which is calculated by inverting the R value (1/R). The lower it is, the better the insulation.
The Energy Rating (ER) calculation is based on the balance between heat transfer (U factor or U value), solar gain and air leakage. The higher the ER, the better the energy performance.
This is a voluntary certification obtained by manufacturers, which means that there are products on the market that offer excellent energy performance, but aren’t ENERGY STAR® certified. However, the ENERGY STAR® certification is proof that a product is eco-energetic and that its insulation quality has been attested by an independent expert!
To understand how to interpret ENERGY STAR® results, read the Expert Advice section.
Although this information is important, it’s also important to look at profile design, glazing, etc. These elements will also influence the long-term efficiency of a window.
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