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The ENERGY STAR was created by the US government in 1992 to promote energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.


  • ENERGY STAR® has helped American families and businesses save 5 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.
  • Columbia Skylights is proud to participate in the US ENERGY STAR program. Columbia has developed its skylights to match and surpass its rigorous requirements.

60 Percent American Materials

Columbia manufactures exceptional ENERGY STAR certified skylights for the US market

Providing ENERGY STAR certified skylights to the American homeowner – all models, fixed and venting, standard and custom sizes.
  • Columbia is a proud partner in the ENERGY STAR program since 2007, and we support the benefits it brings to American consumers and the environment.
  • Columbia’s innovative product design allows it to exceed the stringent criteria of ENERGY STAR, providing homeowners with the ability to purchase products that save energy, reducing heating and cooling costs, and are sustainable.
  • As a North American company we have the experience and manufacturing capability to build a skylight that can withstand the extremes of a northern climate.
  • Over 60% of the parts and materials used in our skylights are made in the United States.
  • All the leading edge glazing used in the manufacture of Columbia Skylights is from Cardinal IG, based in Minnesota with plants across the United States.

Recognized By ENERGY STAR® CanAda, Exceeding the US ENERGY STAR Requirements

Columbia produces high performance skylights engineered to meet the Canadian ENERGY STAR requirements. Canada’s criteria is more stringent than the US because of the harsh northern climate, allowing Columbia to offer US customers an exceptionally energy efficient range of products – saving US customers more energy and money.


Winner of the 2022 ENERGY STAR® Special Recognition Award

Columbia is recognized by ENERGY STAR Canada for the second year in a row. Columbia is proud to be the only skylight supplier to the Canadian market to have been recognized by ENERGY STAR Canada.

ENERGY STAR 2021 Award Logo

Winner of the 2021 ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award

As recognition of Columbia’s commitment, we were the recipient of the 2021 ENERGY STAR Canada Sustained Excellence Award, acknowledging our long term performance in producing the most energy efficient skylights in Canada.

What do the zones mean?

Windows, doors and skylights protect you from the elements just like a winter coat. But like a winter coat, you should pick the products that make the most sense for your climate. While some are better at keeping you warm, others excel at keeping you cool.

Northern Zone: The Northern Zone encompasses the largest portion of the continental US of any zone in addition to Alaska. Products rated for the Northern Zone are usually designed to keep heat inside the home and allow more heat to come through the glass of a window or skylight. If you live in the Northern Zone, check the U-Value of the product you’re interested in purchasing.
As Northern Zone areas have colder winters, residents of this zone may want to make sure that they’re buying the right U-Value-rated skylights or windows to ward off the winter chill.
South-Central: The further south you live, the hotter and more humid the weather, so residents of this zone will want to look for ENERGY STAR skylights and windows that promote cooling the home. Consider a venting skylight. This is the second-biggest zone, and it covers most of the Deep South as well as much of Texas and Oklahoma. These areas can still see cold winters, so a secondary strength in keeping the house warm in the winter is recommended.
North-Central: The North-Central Zone covers many of the Mid-Atlantic states and snakes its way through the lower Midwest and parts of California. The climate in the North-Central Zone tends to be warmer than much of the Northern Zone, but it’s not as humid and rainy as the Southern Zone. Residents of this zone should look for an all-purpose energy efficient skylight that has strengths in retaining heat in the winter and keeping homes cool in the summer.
Southern: The Southern Zone is the smallest zone and covers areas near the Gulf Coast, including all of Florida. Windows and skylights rated for the Southern Zone have a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating, a factor that keeps rooms from getting hot from direct sunlight. They also may have a lower Visible Transmittance rating, meaning more sun is blocked, as well as a high Condensation Resistance, as these areas tend to be wet and humid.

Performance criteria for skylights and windows are based on ratings certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and vary for each of the climate zones shown in the map above.

How to read Columbia’s ENERGY STAR® qualification label

Here is a guide on how to read the ENERGY STAR label so you are able to choose the most energy efficient products for you and your family. On the label are the product ratings and how your skylight performed during testing. Columbia uses the Canadian version of the label on all products it ships across North America. Canada’s standards are more stringent than the US, so you are getting a higher rated product.


How to read Columbia’s ENERGY STAR<sup>®</sup> Canada qualification label

  1. Look for the official ENERGY STAR® United States logo.
  2. Th four regions of ENERGY STAR in the US.
  3. Official NFRC Certification. Assurance that you product has been tested.
  4. Product manufacturer, name and description.
  5. U-Value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient rating. The lower the better.
  6. Visible Transmittance rating.
  7. Manufacturers confirmation that the data is accurate.

The performance rating explained

  • The thermal evaluation and certification of skylights are based on a number of criteria. They are reviewed below.
  • All of these performance criteria have a different impact on your skylight’s energy efficiency and work in unison.
U Value   Degree of Heat Loss

U-Value – Degree of Heat Loss

  • U-Value is the measure of the insulating characteristics of the glass, or how much heat flow or heat loss occurs through the glass due to the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures.
  • How quickly heat from hot air (not direct sunlight) will pass through the glass.
  • U-Values generally range from 0.1 (very little heat loss) to 1.0 (high heat loss) BTU/h∙ft2F. The lower the U-Value the better the insulation.
  • The NRCAN utilizes U-Value to determine certification for the Canadian ENERGY STAR program.
  • Some ways to improve U-Values:
    – Use double or triple glazed glass units.
    – Argon gas in the cavity between panes of glass.
    – Optimize the cavity size between panes of glass.
    – Warm-edge spacers that create an effective thermal barrier.
    – Use LoE3 coatings (coatings can be used on more than one surface).
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, SHGC

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, SHGC

  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is the amount of solar radiation passing through a skylight — either transmitted directly and/or absorbed, and subsequently released as heat inside a home.
  • The amount of Solar Heat Gain is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a skylight’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, the less solar heat is transmitted.
  • Objects (such as glass) impacted by sunlight absorb its visible and short-wave infrared components, increase in temperature, and then re-radiate that heat at longer infrared wavelengths.
  • Solar gain is used as a standard way of reporting the thermal properties of skylight and window assemblies
Visible Transmittance, VT

Visible Transmittance, VT

  • Visible Transmittance is the amount of light in the visible portion of the light spectrum that passes through the glass and into your home.
  • VT – expressed as a number from 0 to 1. The higher the number, the greater the amount of light that is passing through the glass.
  • High performance skylights with LoE3 coatings can allow relatively high amounts of visible light to pass through the glass while repelling the solar heat gain – the more solar heat gain being filtered out, the less light transmittance.
  • Some examples:
    – VT .5 would be 50% of the light is entering the home
    – VT .80 would be 80% of the light is entering the home.

ENERGY STAR® United States, part of a complete sustainable home system

Using ENERGY STAR United States certified products can turn your home into an energy saving system. By choosing skylights, windows, and doors with the superior energy rating, you create a consistent barrier against energy loss and are able to regulate the interior climate – increasing your home’s comfort and energy efficiency.
  • It is important to utilize all the components of your house in the battle against energy loss, such as insulating the walls and roof with the latest ENERGY STAR® United States rated materials.
  • Venting skylights can naturally cool your home in the summer by releasing hot air that has collected in your living space, reducing your reliance on air conditioning.

Choose ENERGY STAR® United States certified skylights, doors, windows – and the materials that make up your building envelope

For maximum energy efficiency, don’t mix double and triple glazing, and properly insulate your walls and ceilings

  • When specifying your renovation or new build, it is not recommended to try and save money by not using the same rating of ENERGY STAR Canada glazing throughout the home.
  • If you’re investing in triple glazing, it is optimal to use it for all skylights and windows, creating a consistent barrier against energy loss.
  • The greatest impact on your home’s energy efficiency is to properly insulate your walls, ceiling and roof space.

Energystar Efficiency House Diagram

Energystar Airflow House Diagram

Hot air rises – naturally cool your home and save money in the summer with venting skylights

  • Venting skylights allow you to moderate interior temperature caused by solar heat gain, cooking, laundry and human activity. Enjoy the benefits of cross ventilation to cool your home.
  • LoE3 coated glass reduces Solar Heat Gain from the more intense and higher summer sun.

Solar panels and skylights – perfect partners

  • When you are replacing your roof consider installing solar panels and skylights, they can work in unison to create a more comfortable and energy efficient home.
  • Solar panels generate electric energy to run your home, and venting skylights expel hot air in the summer, and provide ventilation year round.
  • Reduce the reliance on costly energy consuming air conditioning.
  • Plus, you get the added health benefit of letting fresh air into your home and releasing dust, doors and airborne pollutants.

Energystar Solarpanels

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