How Do Energy Efficient Windows Work?


If you’ve lived in the Phoenix area for very long, you know energy efficiency is a must to prevent you from going bankrupt from air conditioning costs during the long summer months.

And, because we do live in the desert, temps manage to dip low enough during those winter nights to necessitate turning the heater on.

Whether you want to keep the heat in or out, energy efficient windows are your best bet for saving money on energy costs.

So, how exactly do energy efficient windows work? At the core of what makes these windows an ideal investment is advanced engineering and technology that has been developed over the past few years.


Preparing the Window

Energy-efficient windows still use glass, but use a low-emissivity (Low-E) glass, which not only provides a barrier for sun rays, but shields the inside of your house, helping you maintain a consistent temperature.

For example, in the winter, Low-E glass keeps the heat inside and the cold out. In addition to the coating on the glass, many different window manufacturers produce windows with different glazes, tints, or reflective coatings. Each finishing step fulfills a different need and helps you find a unique way to save money and energy.


Window Construction

In multiple-paned windows, manufacturers have found great benefit to using gas fills. The gas helps to reduce the rate of heat transfer between the outside air and inside of your house. In the frame, adding polymer structural foam has become an integral part of an energy-efficient window. Previously, manufacturers often used metal to insulate the windows.

And when you’re ready to purchase, ask about the U-factor or U-value. The U-value shows the window’s resistance to heat and the insulating properties. You want a number that is low—energy-efficient double-paned windows usually have .3. and triple-paned windows might get as low as .15. In a triple-paned window, you’ll get a higher UV blockage rate as well.


XO Windows: Save Money with Energy Efficient Windows

Interested? Call XO Windows. We specialize in energy efficient windows and can help you understand the details behind each option and help you pick the best possible windows for your home. From vinyl and aluminum to off shapes and unique needs, XO Windows can help you find the

Vinyl and Aluminum

Vinyl vs. Aluminum Windows: Four Things to Consider

Picking the right windows for your home may seem like an easy task, but it can quickly turn into a much more complicated process.

If you can’t decide between vinyl or aluminum windows, there are four important things to consider in order to make the right decision:

1. Aesthetics

First and foremost, homeowners are often concerned with how the new or replacement windows will look in their home:

Vinyl – If you are looking for a more “homey” appeal, vinyl windows take the cake. There are typically many different finishes to choose from; however, vinyl windows cannot be painted, so finding an exact color to match your existing decorative painted window surface may be difficult.

Aluminum – Aluminum windows provide a more modern look with thinner frames. Unlike vinyl, these window frames can be painted or power coated, which allows for easy color matching; however, it is difficult to get the look of wood on aluminum with a coating treatment. Aluminum windows are very popular for larger facilities due to their modern, light-weight design.


2. Durability

While vinyl is very durable when it comes to small scratches and dents, aluminum has grown in popularity in areas of extreme weather due to its impact resistance:

Vinyl – Vinyl is durable, difficult to dent and resistant to cracks and scratches. Beyond this, vinyl is not prone to fading or pitting, making it ideal for most homeowners.

Aluminum – While aluminum is also resistant to scratching and cracking, the lightweight nature of the material makes it more likely to dent. Nevertheless, aluminum is a strong material and is typically chosen by homeowners living in hurricane-prone areas due to its overall impact resistance (source). Additionally, aluminum windows tend to provide excellent noise reduction when installed with impact-resistant glass. If window safety and impact resistance is your top priority, aluminum windows may be your best option.


3. Maintenance

Remember, all windows require some level of maintenance. How much work are you willing to put in to your windows?

Vinyl – Typically, vinyl windows involve less maintenance than wood or aluminum. There is no need to repaint or re-stain, therefore the cost is generally lower and cleaning is very easy.

Aluminum – While aluminum windows are not prone to rot, mildew and mold, they do require frequent lubrication to ensure smooth sliding and minimize the chance of pitting inside the tracks (source).


4. Energy Efficiency

Your window’s ability to insulate heat in the winter and keep the house cool in the summer are reflected in your monthly energy bill. Choosing an efficient model can therefore save you money in the long-term:

Vinyl – Vinyl windows are known for their energy efficiency. These windows provide the best thermal break—reducing the amount of heat entering the building from outside. If energy efficiency is a top priority when it comes to your windows, vinyl is certainly the best choice.

Aluminum – Conversely, aluminum is not a particularly energy efficient option; that is, without additional protection installed. However, aluminum windows are easily recycled.


Vinyl and Aluminum Windows at XO

At XO windows, we offer the highest quality vinyl and aluminum windows for replacement or new construction. In fact, both our vinyl and aluminum horizontal sliding windows include top-of-the-line weather proof stripping as well as durable sills that help prevent dust, energy leakage and moisture. We also offer:

Still not sure which windows are right for you? At XO Windows, we provide the experience, information and guidance you need to make the right decision. Additionally, we offer the best window installation and supply in Arizona—so you can rest assured that you are getting top-of-the-line products from experienced professionals.

For a FREE estimate or for more information about our products and services, call us today at 602-396-4825—or contact us here.

Energy Efficient Windows: Keep Your Home Cool This Summer With These Tips

Woman relaxing in chair

Summer temperatures in Arizona can soar into the triple digits. Trying to combat this heat using only air conditioning sends energy bills skyrocketing and puts a serious dent in your budget. AC units that work overtime are also more subject to wear and tear, which can lead to premature breakdowns and unwanted repair costs.

Instead of pouring all of your money into your cooling unit, why not try a few simple methods to keep heat from entering your home in the first place? From adding treatments to existing windows to replacing old windows with updated energy efficient models, these fixes can dramatically reduce your need for air conditioning.

Keep in mind that south- and west-facing windows get the brunt of summer sunlight and will therefore benefit the most from these modifications.

Blinds and Curtains

Installing tight-fitting blinds or insulated curtains lets you shut out the sun before the day gets too hot. Choose curtains with reflective backings to block as much as 33 percent of heat gain. Blinds should slat together as closely as possible to reduce the amount of light that “leaks” into the house. Whether you use blinds or curtains, make sure you shut them before the sun starts to beat down. Otherwise, you’ll end up trapping heat inside and sweating your way through the day.


Shutters are not only a great way to keep your home cool but they can also be an attractive addition to exterior decor. Some have adjustable slats so that you can let in a little bit of light when you want it and block it out completely when you don’t. Installing outdoor shutters also helps to keep your windows safe during severe weather. If you prefer interior shutters, choose a plantation style that can be opened and closed in a way similar to blinds.


Another attractive way to cut down on cooling costs is to install awnings above your south and west windows. According to the US Department of Energy, awnings can block 77 percent of the sun’s heat. Choose colors that coordinate with your home but avoid dark shades since these absorb light instead of reflecting it.


Interior window shades should also be light in color, preferably cream or white. When mounted close to the glass, shades create a “seal” that blocks unwanted light from coming in while preventing cool air from leaking out. Pleated or honeycomb shades help keep things even cooler thanks to insulating air pockets created within the material of the shade. These window treatments are an easy and cost-effective way to keep out 40 to 50 percent of the heat that would otherwise make your home uncomfortable during the blazing Arizona summer.


As long as you choose a tight enough weave, installing exterior screens will keep the sun’s heat from reaching window glass. Screens dim light less than blinds, shutters or drapes while staving off 60 to 80 percent of outdoor heat.


Weather stripping and caulking both sound like chores that only need to be tackled in cold climates. However, the same leaks around windows that let in the cold in wintry areas let it out on hot days. You pay for cooled air whether or not it stays inside, so sealing up leaks is a way not only to keep cool but to save money on energy bills.

Energy Efficient Windows

Perhaps the best way to stay cool and comfortable this summer is replacing your windows with modern energy efficient models, which can also make a world of difference when it comes to cooling costs.

Windows labeled with an Energy Star rating are designed to keep interior temperatures consistent regardless of the current weather. Several elements work together for overall improved window efficiency:

  • “Low-e” glass that reflects the sun’s rays back outside
  • A low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), indicating that only a small amount of radiant heat comes through the glass
  • A high U-factor to show resistance to heat flow
  • Double-paned glass with insulating gas such as argon

Energy efficient windows should also have a low rate of air leakage to ensure that heat stays outside while cool air remains in your home.

When choosing any kind of energy-saving window treatment or upgrade, always check the R-value. This number shows the ability of a material to resist heat. The higher the R-value, the less heat will wind up in your home. Though some home cooling methods may seem like significant investments up front, high quality products with low SHGC and high R-value pay for themselves over time with the money you save from not having to run the air conditioning day in and day out.

In addition to these changes, one of the simplest things you can do to keep your home cool is open up the windows in the morning and evening when the outdoor temperature is lower. Starting and ending the day with an infusion of naturally cool air will improve the efficiency of other cooling measures and help prevent your home from getting stuffy.

If you’re ready to upgrade to a more efficient home this summer, XO Windows has a complete line of windows and sunscreens to help you keep cool and save money.

3 Reasons Why Vinyl Windows are a Great Choice for Arizona

Here in the Southwest, we have a unique climate and landscape that requires smart choices when it comes to building materials. Between the blistering heat, low humidity and intense sun exposure, our climate makes vinyl windows a great choice for homeowners and builders.


Here’s why…


1.  Vinyl Windows Can Save You Money

If you’re looking for a way to decrease your energy bills, vinyl windows are for you; the increased insulation they provide makes them an ideal choice. Vinyl windows are on average about 20% more energy efficient than aluminum or other commonly used windows.

Here in the desert we see soaring temperatures in the summer and cool, sometimes freezing, nights during the winter. Vinyl windows can help maintain the comfortable temperate you’ve worked hard to create in your home. Vinyl windows are welded together, creating an airtight seal and decreasing dust and air that might slip in. UV inhibitors give you added protection from Arizona’s scorching sun.

On top of energy efficiency, vinyl windows can also increase the value of your home.  Their ROI makes them a great economical choice now and in the long run.

2.  They Look Great

Vinyl windows can not only save you money, but they look great as well. They are made mostly of a plastic known as Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC. PVC windows can be molded to fit any home, which is helpful here in the Southwest where there are a variety of architectural designs and home styles.

Vinyl windows can also be made available in a wide range of colors, shapes and styles.  Their ability to be customized makes it easy to find the perfect fit for your home.

3.  They Require Little to No Maintenance

Vinyl is extremely easy to clean and requires very little routine maintenance. Vinyl can provide the appearance of wood without the threat of termites or other infestations, and they won’t rust, fade, crack or warp. They are also good for noise reduction. Easy to use and easy to clean, vinyl windows are a great choice for the Southwest.

XO Windows has a variety of different types of vinyl windows including horizontal sliding windows, single hung windows, picture windows and casement and awning windows.

Contact the professionals at XO Windows today to see if vinyl windows are right for you! 

Can Energy-Efficient Insulating Windows Really Save You Money?




There are a lot of “quick fixes” out there, like caulking and weatherstripping, that promise to improve your windows’ insulation and reduce air leakage.  But the reality is, these are not long-term solutions and they rarely do much to make a noticeable difference in your heating and cooling costs.

If your home has old or inefficient windows, you may be wondering  ̶  should I purchase energy-efficient replacement windows?  Will they help me save on energy costs? Will my investment pay off in the long run?  What do all the ratings mean, and what windows should I consider?

XO Windows is Arizona’s largest window distributor, and we’ve got the answers. Keep reading to find out how our new MI EnergyCore™ windows can help you lower your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable.

First, What do All Those Ratings Mean?

Understanding performance ratings is the first step to knowing what type of windows are best for your home and climate. In Arizona, we have the challenge of keeping a home cool and comfortable despite extreme heat and high solar radiation.

Here are some terms you should know:

U-factor:  A window’s U-factor measures the amount of heat transfer, making it a marker of the window’s insulation. The range is usually between 0.25 and 1.25; the lower the number, the more energy efficient the window.

Performance Grade:  The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) gives this numeric rating, which defines the overall performance of a product.

R-value:  The R-value measures thermal resistance; it refers to how much a window resists heat conduction.  A high R-value indicates a more energy-efficient window.

What Makes a Window Energy Efficient?

There are several factors that make a window more or less energy efficient; these include:

The frame can affect the window’s resistance to heat conduction and is typically wood, fiberglass, aluminum or PVC.

The glass works to absorb solar radiation; reflective coatings or glazing filter out heat. Double- or triple-paned glass is more energy efficient than single-paned windows.

The design can be based on the window’s shape and orientation, climate, style, security and functionality. Windows designed with insulating factors and quality construction in mind will make the window more resistant to water and air penetration.

Save Money with MI EnergyCore Windows

For consumers who want stylish windows, maximum performance and optimal energy efficiency, the MI EnergyCore Window System can’t be beat. Let’s take a look at what these windows provide in terms of energy efficiency:

MI EnergyCore windows are manufactured with patented AirCell™ PVC frame technology, which provides multiple air and water barriers. This frame blocks thermal conductivity better than any other material  ̶  3 times more than wood, 4 times more than rigid PVC and 6 times more than fiberglass.  The frame supports many residential window sizes and styles.

Along with an energy-efficient frame, TMAX™ Insulating Glass is argon-filled and triple-paned. The extra barriers to heat transfer gives it a superior thermal performance, and improved sound control reduces noise.

The design is engineered to provide multiple air/water barriers such as improved weatherstripping,  interlocking meeting rails and maximum draining sills, which all help keep your home dry.

All MI EnergyCore windows have an AAMA Performance Grade of at least 40.

The windows have an R-value of 5 and U-factor of 0.2, exceeding ENERGY STAR® standards and placing them in the top tier of energy-efficient windows available today.

What Does this Mean for You?

MI EnergyCore insulating windows have been proven to reduce heat loss by 30-40%, and your energy bill will reflect those numbers. The more heat you can keep IN your home in the winter, and OUT of your home in the summer, the less you have to pay at the end of the month.

When these award-winning windows are properly installed, they can truly help maximize your home’s performance and comfort and minimize your heating and cooling costs.

If you’re ready to make your home more energy efficient, contact XO Windows to find out if MI EnergyCore windows are right for you.