What’s the Difference Between ENERGY STAR® and the NFRC?

Embracing an energy-efficient home is not just a matter of reducing bills but also contributing to a more sustainable environment. Two key certifications that often come up in the search for energy efficiency, especially when considering window installation, are ENERGY STAR® and the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). Although they may seem similar, they serve different yet complementary roles in guiding consumers. Let’s learn more about them in this post by window experts from Renewal by Andersen® of Houston.


Understanding ENERGY STAR Certification

ENERGY STAR is a widely recognized program backed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that signifies energy efficiency in various products, including residential windows, doors and skylights. Choosing ENERGY STAR-certified windows means embracing a product that has surpassed stringent energy efficiency guidelines.

Replacing outdated windows with those that have earned the ENERGY STAR certification can help slash household energy costs by up to an average of 13 percent nationwide. These savings are particularly relevant for homes seeking window installation in areas where the climate demands well-insulating products to combat both the summer heat and occasional cold snaps. Products with this label have been independently tested and verified, ensuring they deliver on the promise of energy savings.

The Role of the NFRC Label

While ENERGY STAR ensures overall energy performance, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) provides a comprehensive breakdown of a product’s energy properties. These labels detail specific performance factors, such as U-Factor, or the rate at which a window conducts non-solar heat flow, and the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), which measures how well a window blocks heat from sunlight, among others. The NFRC label facilitates the comparison of these characteristics across different products, allowing homeowners to make informed decisions about the windows and doors they may consider.

Making the Choice for Your Home

When searching for the most energy-efficient windows for your property, it’s prudent to consider both the ENERGY STAR certification and the NFRC’s detailed ratings. Together, these labels guide you towards products that will not only enhance the comfort of your living spaces through tools like improved glazing but also shield your valuables from UV damage and contribute to a lower carbon footprint.

For instance, when conducting window replacement, a buyer may look for an ENERGY STAR-certified product to ensure efficiency. At the same time, they might delve into the NFRC ratings to choose a window with a specific U-factor or SHGC suitable for the local climate. Since solar heat gain can be a concern in Texas, a lower SHGC may be desirable for sun-facing windows.

Importance of Professional Installation

It’s also worth noting that even the highest rated windows and doors will only function if installed correctly, hence the importance of employing professional window installation services. The installation process must be in adherence to manufacturer instructions and ideally, installers should be well-trained and equipped to fit each product according to its unique specifications. A proper installation not only prevents drafts but also maximizes the potential energy savings.

We hope you’ve found this explainer helpful. If you need more help or want to install new windows, you can always count on us at Renewal by Andersen of Houston. Call us today at (281) 547-6177, or fill out this contact form to schedule an in-home consultation.