Purchasing energy-efficient windows and doors for your home will aid in reducing your energy bill and increasing the comfort of your home. While you may have already decided to buy energy-efficient windows and doors, you still have to decide which ones are best for your home.

With any window or door choice, there are several options available regarding style, materials, and features specific to your climate. Knowing about the various choices available to you will help you make an informed decision on the right windows and doors for your home.

Types of Windows

There are three components that contribute to a window’s energy efficiency: the frame, glass, and operation.


The frame is the material that surrounds and supports the glass. Window frames are available in several different materials, such as wood, aluminum, or vinyl, and each material offers different energy – and money – saving properties. Refer to the chart below to learn more about their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to energy efficiency.

Frame materials Advantages Disadvantages
Aluminium/Metal Low maintenance; strong; lightweight material Conductor of heat
Composite Strong; resistant to warping, fading, and denting; insulates as well as wood May cost more than other options
Fiberglass Provides better insulation than wood or vinyl frames May cost more than other options
Vinyl Great against moisture retention; widely available Cannot be painted if you want a different look
Wood Offers great insulation; available in many styles Bulkier and requires more maintenance than other frame materials; must be clad with metal or vinyl to improve ease of care


Window glass comes in an array of types for the efficiency-minded homeowner. As a general rule, windows with more than one pane of glass will provide more insulation for your home. Energy-efficient windows come in single, double, and even triple panes. Options such as gas fill and tint provide additional insulating properties to the glass in your windows. Gas can be placed between panes to improve heat retention. A heat-absorbing tint can be applied to windows, which changes the color of the glass and reduces the amount of light and heat that enter your home.


How your windows operate also contributes to the effectiveness of their energy efficiency. Awning, casement, and hopper-style windows permit less air leakage than single- or double-hung windows. Fixed windows have an airtight seal, but they cannot be opened for ventilation.

Types of Doors

For exterior doors, steel or fiberglass-clad doors provide more insulation than wood doors. At the other end of the efficiency spectrum, glass sliding doors offer the least amount of insulation from the weather. If you want a glass sliding door for your patio, consider purchasing a door with more than one pane of glass or with gas between the panes for added insulation. Also, swinging doors, such as French doors, offer a better seal than glass sliding doors.


Choosing your doors and windows based on your city’s climate is perhaps the easiest way to narrow your search for energy-efficient products. Windows and doors are built based on their function in different climates. As discussed above, some products, such as windows that come with multiple panes of glass or even have gas between the panes, are great for harsher, colder climates. Experts recommend checking the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label to get a better understanding of how your window or door will hold up in your climate. The NFRC label indicates if the product was produced with your climate in mind.

Proper Installation

Once you have decided on the windows and doors you want to install in your home, it’s important to have them installed properly. The best energy-efficient product is only as good as its installation. An improperly installed product could create drafts or wear down faster than one that’s properly installed. Make sure you hire an experienced, trustworthy professional to perform the installation and ensure you get the most from your investment. To get savvy with the energy-efficiency labels and terms that will help you choose the best windows and doors for your home, check out Part 2 of this blog post.

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