October 2018 (120)
Windows & Energy Efficiency
The US Department of Energy recognizes that energy efficient windows are an important consideration for both new and existing homes. Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use. If you are selecting windows for new construction or to replace existing windows, it's important to choose the most efficient windows you can afford that work best in your climate. If your existing windows are in good condition, taking steps to reduce the energy loss through windows can make your home more comfortable and save you money on energy bills.
Update Existing Windows to Improve Efficiency
If your windows are in good condition, taking steps to improve their efficiency may be the most cost-effective option to increase the comfort of your home and save money on energy costs. There are several things you can do to improve the efficiency of your existing windows:
·        Check existing windows for air leaks
·        Caulk and weather-strip. 
·        Add window treatments and coverings. 
·        Add storm windows or panels
·        Add solar control film
·        Add exterior shading, such as awnings, exterior blinds, or overhangs.
Window Selection Tips for New or Replacement Windows
·        Look for the  ENERGY STAR  and  NFRC labels .
·        In warmer climates, select windows with coatings to reduce heat gain.
·        Choose a low U-factor for better ther­mal resistance in colder climates; the U-factor is the rate at which a window conducts non-solar heat flow.
·        Look for a low solar heat gain coef­ficient (SHGC). SHGC is a measure of solar radiation admitted through a window. Low SHGCs reduce heat gain in warm climates.
·        Select windows with both low U-factors and low SHGCs to maximize energy savings in temperate climates with both cold and hot seasons.
·        Look for whole-unit U-factors and SHGCs, rather than center-of-glass U-factors and SHGCs. Whole-unit numbers more accurately reflect the energy performance of the entire product.
Selecting the right window is only part of the process. Energy efficiency and functionality are dependent on the installation process.
For replacement windows contact THI Trusted contractor America's Choice Window. Jim has their windows in his house!
(888) 701-0872 | AmericasChoiceWindows.net
Your Questions -- Jim's Answers
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Home Renovation
Make Your Home Elder-Friendly and Increase Resale Value
Aging in place may be the last thing on your mind when you’re renovating a home, especially if you’re under 50. But not considering design upgrades now could be a costly mistake in years to come.
We’re not talking about wheelchair ramps or shower grab bars, but “universal design” elements—eye-pleasing choices that make your house more livable for anyone at any age.
By using universal design, homeowners are better able to remain in their homes as they age. These design elements can also make a big difference if you lose mobility as you age. Remodeling projects that use universal design often result in a higher sale price for the house. “People are used to seeing these livable features in upscale resort bathrooms, spas, and other public spaces, so they read as desirable, and valuable,” says Kerrie Kelly, design expert for the real estate website Zillow.
Design Elements to Strongly Consider when Remodeling:
Curbless Showers
A bathroom floor that continues straight into a walk-in shower without anything to step over is current standard at upscale hotels. 
Upstairs Laundry
If you are remodeling the master bedroom and bath strongly consider including an upstairs laundry. As much as you probably hate climbing the stairs with laundry now, imagine the process in 10 or 20 years.
Widened Doorways
Most shared living-space renovations include removing walls between rooms to open up the floor plan. But even when the walls can’t come down, widening doorways to at least 32 inches—preferably 36—can increase flow and livability.
Kitchen Flexibility
If you’re remodeling your kitchen, expand the pathways around the island to at least 48 inches wide instead of the standard 36, which is enough to accommodate party guests, as well as someone using a walker or wheelchair. Include varied-height work surfaces in addition to the standard 36-inch counter height, so work can be done while standing or sitting.
Doors and Lighting
Lever-style doorknobs are easier to use in old age. And by setting new electrical outlets 24 inches off the floor instead of the usual 12 to 18, you eliminate the stooping usually required to plug in a vacuum. Brighten up your home by adding recessed ceiling fixtures. Put them on rocker-style switches, which are easier to use; with a dimmer capacity, you can adjust lighting for different tasks.

Information provided by Consumer Reports . Click here for more information .

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