Great Tip to Know Before Buying SkyLights Windows & Doors
Through the magic of good photography and editing, I am able to create the illusion that my family room is flooded with natural light. Nothing could be farther from the truth! In reality, it feels more like a dark cave. This room is the hub of the house and flows nicely into our open kitchen; however, none of us really enjoy hanging out in here. Simply put, this space could really benefit from some skylights, and I’m beginning to research our options!
In looking into all of the pros and cons of skylight installation, I have determined the following:
- Skylights need to be well insulated.
- Skylights shouldn’t heat up our home in the summer or create drafts in the winter.
- Skylights should provide a lot of natural light to the space.
- Skylights need to have UV protection so that our textiles won’t fade.
According to the National Fenestration Rating Council, the average American household spends $1,500–2,500 annually on energy bills and 45% of that cost is for heating and cooling. This is why it’s so important to choose high-performance windows, doors, and skylights that can save you money and keep your home comfortable. Our first winter in our South Carolina was a cold one, and our heating bill for the frigid month of January was nearly $500 just to heat 2700 square feet. Yikes! That is much more than we paid for a month’s heat in Pennsylvania. I don’t want to add skylights if they will make our home less energy efficient, so it is imperative that I know how to compare between different options. But where do consumers look to find an unbiased, energy efficiency rating for their skylights, windows, and doors?
Watchdog for Fenestration Consumers: The National Fenestration Rating Council
What is Fenestration? In architecture, fenestration refers to the openings in a building’s facade, such as skylights, windows, and doors.
Something you should definitely know about if you are in the market for new skylights, windows, and doors is The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)! Like me, if you’re in the market for fenestration products, you most likely have seen their labels attached to new windows, doors, and skylights. The NFRC is an independent, third-party resource who helps us compare between different fenestration products using a detailed label system. They do not sell anything, or endorse any manufactures. Instead, they provide fair, accurate, unbiased, and credible energy performance information via their label to help us compare and determine for ourselves which products best meet our needs.
Just as we use nutrition labels to determine for ourselves what sorts of foods we want to consume, this label can highlight good and bad products and should be used as a tool when buying fenestration products. The ratings established for windows, doors, and skylights include: U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Visible Transmittance, and Air Leakage. If these are new terms to you don’t worry, I was not entirely familiar with all of them either! Let’s explore how to read the label together!
How to Read a NFRC Label
U-Factor measures the rate of heat transfer and how well a product can keep heat from
escaping from the inside of a room, primarily during winter conditions.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient measures how well a product can resist unwanted heat gain, which is especially important during summer cooling season. The lower the number, the less you’ll spend on cooling. Range: 0–1 Look for: Low numbers
Visible Transmittance measures how well a product is designed to effectively light your home with daylight, potentially saving you money on artificial lighting. The higher the number, the more natural light is let in. Range: 0–1 Look for: High numbers
Air Leakage measures how much air will enter a room through a product. The lower the number, the fewer drafts you’ll experience. Range: 0.1-0.3 Look for: Low numbers
NFRC also has a condensation rating that is optional for manufacturers to include, so you may or may not see it on the label. The higher the number, the better a product resists condensation.
Play the video below and see the label easily explained!
I’m so excited to improve our living area with skylights and am relieved that the NFRC provides an easy way for me to choose high performance fenestration products and potentially save money on energy bills and keep my home comfortable! I hope you found this tip helpful too! For more information about the Energy Performance label or the NFRC please click here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of National Fenestration Rating Council. The opinions and text are all mine.