A Quick Guide to Understanding NFRC® and ENERGY STAR® Labels

When you’re planning to get replacement windows, it’s important to make sure that they’re built to function as well as intended. Fortunately, it’s easy to gauge their level of quality and performance via two labels: one from the National Fenestration Rating Council® and the other from ENERGY STAR®. Does a window having these two labels really make a difference?

The windows and patio doors sold by Renewal by Andersen® of Houston are all NFRC and ENERGY STAR rated so you know you’re choosing a product that offers high-quality performance. If you’re not sure how these two labels work, here’s what you need to know:

The Difference Between NFRC® and ENERGY STAR®

The NFRC is a nonprofit organization that serves as the industry’s certifying body that’s responsible for the rating, certification and labeling of windows and doors. They do this so that consumers are able to easily compare the energy performance between labelled products. 

However, the NFRC isn’t responsible for setting the strict energy criteria, minimum performance standards or mandating performance levels; that part’s covered by the ENERGY STAR label, which falls under the U.S. government. So, if your windows have both of these labels, you can be sure that you’ve got your money’s worth. 

Understanding How They Work Together

The NFRC label can be found on all ENERGY STAR-certified windows and doors, and they’re usually listed with five measurements. Understanding these can help you choose a better product for your windows installation, especially since you’re able to judge how much a certain product performs in a given application, such as how much light it lets inside.

1. U-Factor 

Range: 0.20 to 1.20

This measures the rate of heat transfer and tells you how well the window insulates. The lower the number, the better an insulator the window or door is.

2. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)

Range: 0 to 1

This measures the fraction of solar energy transmitted and tells you how well the window or patio door blocks heat caused by the sunlight. The lower the number, the less solar radiation and heat the product allows inside.

3. Visible Transmittance

Range: 0 to 1

This refers to the amount of light a window or patio door allows to pass through it. A lower number means the room will be dimmer while a higher number means the room will be brighter. 

4. Air Leakage

Range: N/A (but 0.3 is standard building code)

Check this to know how much air passes through the product’s joints. The lower the number, the more airtight the window or door. ENERGY STAR standards don’t really consider air leakage, however, because it’s difficult to make an accurate measurement. It can also change as the frame materials expand, contract or warp over time.

5. Condensation Resistance

Range: 1 to 100

This measures how well a product resists moisture buildup. The lower the number, the more condensation the window or door allows to build up. Most ENERGY STAR-rated windows tend to have a good condensation resistance so this won’t really affect your decision.

As one of the best companies for sliding windows in the area, Renewal by Andersen of Houston knows how it’s done. You can contact our professional services at (281) 547-6177, or you can fill out our convenient contact form. We serve Massapequa and nearby areas. Talk to us today!