Performance Standards

Building Codes

Most locations have building energy codes that mandate minimum performance levels for windows, doors, and skylights. The builder, contractor or homeowner must adhere to the code requirements, which typically cover windows for new construction as well as replacement windows. These requirements depend on the specific jurisdiction’s building energy code. Building energy codes are set at the state or municipal level but are often based on model energy codes.

Code Overview
Code Guides
Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP)
Responsible Energy Codes Alliance (RECA)

Energy Rating and Performance Programs

The adoption of energy-efficient windows in new construction has mainly been driven by mandatory building energy codes. In recent years voluntary programs and various sustainable design programs have gained increasing traction as well. Criteria for window energy performance differ among a variety of state and local codes and different voluntary programs. The Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) maintains a good list of “beyond code” programs. A few such programs are listed below.

LEED® for Homes v4
ENERGY STAR® Homes
National Green Building Standard™
Passive House
DOE Zero Energy Ready Home National Program

Even the expert eye cannot easily tell an efficient window from a conventional window. That is why energy ratings, endorsement programs and consumer incentives play an important role in creating awareness for window energy efficiency among consumers, builders, architects and performance standard programs.

Learn about NFRC certification and labeling
Learn about ENERGY STAR for windows, doors and skylights
Utility and State Incentives for energy efficiency improvement