Choosing an energy-efficient entry door is a great way to banish chills and welcome lower utility bills this season. There’s also a tax incentive in it for you: homeowners who replace older, less efficient doors with newer, better-insulated models get a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the door’s cost when installed now through December 2010.

That tax incentive and trimmed utility bills add up to valuable long-term savings. Here are three important energy- and money-saving factors to look for as you select a new front door:Alt=energy efficient entry door how to chooseEnergy Efficient Exterior Doors

The Energy Star: Make sure your choice is Energy Star qualified and meets the additional requirements for the federal tax credit. On both counts, that means it should have an acceptable Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and U-Factor.

NFRC Certification: Certification from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) tells you that a door will help you save money on energy costs while protecting the environment through energy efficiency.

High R-Value: R-Value is a measure of thermal resistance, and the higher the R-Value is, the better the insulation. For example, a six-panel wood door will typically have an R-Value of 2 while a fiberglass door system can offer/may have an R-Value of 10 or 12.

As you shop for your efficient new entry door, there will be hundreds of designs to choose from. Style is subjective, but remember that materials always matter. Compared with traditional wood and steel doors, fiberglass models usher in the best qualities for your energy-saving investment: they won’t rot, crack or split like wood doors, and don’t dent, rust or corrode like steel doors. They also offer five times the insulation of wood and withstand a range of temperatures and weather elements beautifully. Combine your vision of curb appeal with energy efficiency, and you’ll host lower utility costs for years to come!

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