RESFEN 3.0: A PC Program for Calculating the Heating and Cooling Energy Use of Windows in Residential Buildings

Publication Type


Date Published




Today's energy-efficient windows can dramatically lower the heating and cooling costs associated with windows while increasing occupant comfort and minimizing window surface condensation problems. However, consumers are often confused about how to pick the most efficient window for their residence. They are typically given window properties such as U-factors or R-values, Solar Heat Gain Coefficients or Shading Coefficients, and air leakage rates. However, the relative importance of these properties depends on the site and building specific conditions. Furthermore, these properties are based on static evaluation conditions that are very different from the real situation the window will be used in. Knowing the energy and associated cost implications of different windows will help consumers and builders make the best decision for their particular application, whether it is a new home, an addition, or a window replacement.

A computer tool such as RESFEN can help consumers and builders pick the most energy-efficient and cost-effective window for a given application. It calculates the heating and cooling energy use and associated costs as well as the peak heating and cooling demand for specific window products. Users define a problem by specifying the house type (single story or two story), geographic location, orientation, electricity and gas cost, and building configuration details (such as wall type, floor type, and HVAC systems). Window options are defined by specifying the window`s size, shading, and thermal properties: U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and air leakage rate. RESFEN calculates the energy and cost implications of the windows compared to insulated walls. The relative energy and cost impacts of two different windows can be compared against each other.

RESFEN 3.0 is a major improvement over previous versions of RESFEN because it performs hourly calculations using a version of the DOE 2.1E energy analysis simulation program.

Year of Publication



Research Areas

Related Files