Vinyl Window Installation 101: Why Ratings are so Critical

December 21, 2009

With the demand for renewability and sustainability reaching a fevered pitch, there's never been a better time to consider vinyl window installation. The initial out-of-pocket costs are buoyed by a lifetime of savings in monthly energy costs. Plus, the purchasing process is simple thanks to a new, consumer-friendly vinyl window ratings system.

Manufacturers Meet Codes, Satisfy Consumers
The energy-saving trend begins with manufacturers. In an effort to sell more product while satisfying the demands of an increasingly energy-savvy consumer population, vinyl window manufacturers have created several models that maximize energy-efficiency.

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  • Enhanced Building Requirements. Not only must vinyl window manufacturers satisfy building codes, but they must prove energy-efficiency before they compete for projects bids.
  • Eco-friendly Initiatives. The "green construction movement" has gained momentum, promising higher standards for homes and buildings.
  • Direct and Indirect Incentives. On the financial front, manufacturers enable owners to benefit from direct (cash rebates) and indirect (cheaper financing) incentives.

Vinyl Window Ratings Explained
Energy performance characteristics boil down to a single feature: heat gain and heat loss. The properties of heat transfer and sunlight transmittance are expressed in the following vinyl window ratings:

  • Air Leakage. A product with low air leakage around the frame is superior.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The lower the SHGC, the greater its shading ability.
  • U-factor. The lower the U-factor, the more energy-efficient the product.

Vinyl Window Installation and Tax Credits
The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, signed by President Bush before he left office, extends the tax credit for vinyl window installation from January 1, 2009 thru December 31st, 2009. It provides a $200 credit for all qualifying products installed, with a $500 lifetime credit.

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