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How to select your new windows

March 23, 2015

Can Windows Make You Healthy, Wealthy and Wise?   

NFRC logo

By Tom Herron, LEED Green Associate

Scientific research has found that letting sufficient sunlight into a building can provide incredible benefits to occupants. Daylighting, as this technique is called, has been found to fight depression, speed recovery from illness and injury, increase productivity, improve academic learning and relieve chronic stress.

Homeowners looking to tackle renovation projects this spring should consider how they can increase daylighting without sacrificing energy efficiency. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) can help.

The best way to determine if a window will meet your home’s needs is to look for the NFRC label, located directly on the product. NFRC is an independent, non-profit organization that arms consumers with the necessary information to compare products on an apples-to-apples basis. NFRC rates products to determine the following:

  • U-factor: how much heat will be lost through the window
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: how much solar heat the window will let in
  • Visible Transmittance: how much unfiltered light will pass through the window


When thinking about daylighting, homeowners should look for windows that have high visible transmittance, but a low U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient. This combination allows sunlight to enter the home without the cost or discomfort of heat loss in the winter or heat gain in the summer.

With spring here and summer on the way, homeowners should be mindful of the many benefits of natural sunlight, including improved health, productivity and mental alertness. And in order to be sure that new windows, doors and skylights will perform as advertised, homeowners should check for the NFRC label.

To learn more about NFRC’s rating and labeling program, please visit or watch this short video:

Tom Herron is the director of communications and marketing for NFRC, a public-interest organization that provides third-party energy performance ratings for windows, doors, curtainwall, skylights and other fenestration. You can reach him at [email protected]

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