(NewsUSA) - Winter is upon us, but the window hasn't closed for homeowners to keep their heating bills from going through the roof.
While exploring tactics for cutting energy costs, there might be no more critical consideration than windows. A home with inefficient windows is almost like a home with a hole in the wall -- and installing energy-efficient windows can shave up to 15 percent off heating and cooling bills, according to estimates based on data set forth in the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star Savings Estimates (www.energystar.gov/windows).
Numerous factors determine a window's energy efficiency. Windows with a lower "U-Factor," for example, are preferable in colder regions because they allow less heat to escape.
"Each homeowner's needs are unique, and it's important to choose windows that make the most sense for your home and environment," said Christine Marvin of Marvin Windows and Doors, a manufacturer of premium, made-to-order windows and doors. "To find out which product and glass solution might be right for you, we always suggest you visit your local dealer."
Here are some other tips to find the best windows for your home:
* Consider your conservation goals. One homeowner may simply want greater energy efficiency. Another may be drawn to "passive" or "net zero" building practices -- whose requirements are designed to maintain comfortable temperatures with incredibly minimal heating and cooling systems.
"At Marvin, our robust product offerings help homeowners achieve whatever type of solution they seek," said Marvin, who also pointed out that Marvin is the only major American window manufacturer to offer Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) certified options in the U.S.
* Don't sacrifice beauty for efficiency. Windows should be beautiful, functional, durable and energy efficient, says Marvin, whose company offers more than 150,000 energy-efficient options, including many standard product solutions that meet new Energy Star criteria that take effect in 2015 and 2016. "Rest assured -- there's a solution that fits both your design and efficiency needs."
* Add window treatments. Certain window treatments also can help maintain comfortable temperatures in a home. For example, homeowners can program Marvin's automated exterior shading system to provide the optimal amount of light, 24 hours a day.
* Consult an expert. Marvin suggests homeowners speak with a professional, when selecting windows, to explore and identify solutions for their home and climate.
For more information, visit marvin.com/green or Marvin.com.