The goals for the Energy Star program is to help the average consumer save money easily while assisting the environment. To meet these goals, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy have created a series of guidelines and processes to help consumers be compliant. One such program is known as the Energy Star Quality Installation program. Though this program deals more with HVAC needs, it can still provide useful insight and understanding about Energy Star.
This program was started to help raise the bar in the United States for meeting high quality installation processes. The EPA felt that additional savings for the environment and energy efficiency could be had by encouraging better practices from contractors. Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) is an integral part of home systems where a lot of efficiency can be gained or lost. Improper sealing can mean a loss of as much as 10% efficiency out of HVAC components or equipment. Sometimes more.
If this does not seem like much, consider it this way. Every 24 hours you're losing approximately 2.5 hours of heating or cooling depending on your climate. That can add up to quite a bit if you live in any areas prone to extreme temperatures.
Installation standards such as Quality Installation are just one part of a major push by the EPA to expand energy efficiency programs. Programs already exist to help push a clean air, clean water, and conservative use of resources by the EPA. Expanding the Quality Installation program to include Energy Star windows is likely only a matter of time. What a homeowner can do now to make the most of their Energy Star windows is to use some of the guiding principals that Energy Star Quality Installation for HVAC establishes.
The Energy Star Quality Installation guidelines for HVAC contractors suggests the following are also applicable to Energy Star windows, doors, or any other project.
A homeowner may like to see a rock bottom price on their estimates, but the reality is this may not always be the best case. Cutting costs on installation of your replacement windows by shopping for a lower quality may cost you more in the long run from higher energy bills. Opt for a quality Energy Star product over a cheap substitute. Remember, the Energy Star product was already screened to ensure it would be pay for itself for you in a reasonable time frame. It will continue to be screened and tested for years to come until it is de-listed.
Ensure that measurements are done correctly for replacement window projects. If the Energy Star replacement window is not sized correctly; one will find a tremendous loss in heating and cooling efficiency. This will drive up your bills and make it more difficult to maintain a comfortable atmosphere in the home.
If you are not an avid Do-It-Yourselfer then you will end up having your Energy Star windows installed by contractors or a manufacturer installation team. If you opt to use a contractor, then you want to be sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured to be performing the installation job. Always ask for professional references. Be sure to speak with them to find out what kind of successes the contractor has completed in the past. Even if the contractor had some difficulties with a job or a product; it is still better to deal with a contractor that admits their mistake and does what they can to remedy it. If a failure or shortcoming is met with open honesty, it is far more likely that contractor will have you and your home's best interests in mind.