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This story is sponsored by AMSCO Windows. Learn more about AMSCO Windows.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, as they say, the windows to your home likewise have a lot to say about your house and about your style.

So when you face the task of choosing the right windows for your home, it may seem a little daunting. Of course, cost may be the first thing you think about when looking at options, but there are other things you should take into consideration when selecting what will likely be a long-term component of your home.

Here are just three essentials to keep in mind as you shop.

Energy efficiency

With vehicles, buildings and appliances, a top concern is their use of energy. Are your cars guzzlers or sippers? Is your home green or a relic of days gone by when climate change wasn’t on anyone’s radar?

Windows make a big difference in your home’s energy efficiency — with heat gain and loss through them “responsible for 25 to 30 percent of residential heating and cooling energy use,” according to the Department of Energy. So keep in mind important related features whether you’re hoping to be a good steward of the environment or are just looking to save money on gas and electric bills.

Energy.gov has some tips on what to look for when you’re shopping for windows, such as looking for the Energy Star and NFRC labels and choosing gas-filled windows with Low-E coatings to reduce heat loss.

Ease of use

Most people likely have had to struggle with opening or closing a window or keeping it propped open, or they’ve wondered how in the world they were going to clean the other side of their windows. So ease of use is a vital consideration when buying.

There are roughly eight to 10 common types of windows, including casement-style, single-hung, awning-style, hopper-style and fixed or stationary, as Consumer Reports says, but some of the most popular for standard use are double-hung. With this style, “the lower inside sash slides up, and an upper outside sash slides down, improving air circulation and making full screens ideal.”

They’re easy to clean because you can tilt the sash and reach various areas of the window.

Style

Windows make a statement about your aesthetic. So take the time to think about what the choice you make will say about you. Is your home contemporary or more traditional? Colonial or Mediterranean? Do you want the rich and classic look of wood, or is the practicality of vinyl a good fit all-around?

Though the tried-and-true options have generally stayed the same (wood, aluminum and vinyl, for instance), they have seen some updates. The Renaissance Series option from AMSCO, for example, is a composite material that can withstand harsh conditions and is durable and resistant to moisture and mold. But it has the elegant look of wood that can be easily stained or painted to match the interior of your home.

Even vinyl windows are seeing some upgrades. In the past, they have been a standard style and their color limited to white. But it’s now possible to choose from a variety of styles and a number of colors, as in AMSCO’s Studio Series.

Once you’ve weighed these and other considerations and you’re ready to buy, visit a dealer that features AMSCO windows.