Unless you are looking out energy efficient windows, you might as well be watching your dollars escape from your home.
That is because your old windows are central to keeping energy savings in your pocket while giving your home the cozy climate you want inside and the pleasant appearance you want outside. Adding insulation in the attic or sides of your home is extremely helpful to energy savings, but you still won’t see the savings and comfort level you could be getting if you are stuck with inefficient windows.
Older homes with drafty windows are robbing their homeowners with high monthly energy bills. In the cold months, the heat is leaving through the sweating frames or the single-glass panes themselves while the cold air is entering. And in the warm months, the same thing is happening with the cool air leaving and the warm air entering while air conditioning is in use. Whether it’s the cold or heat, the weather is zapping you and your bills with drafty windows.
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By installing Energy efficient windows, companies such as Energy Exteriors, a vinyl window and siding business based in Tacoma, Wash., has found success against the elements. Energy Star is a Federal-backed program that helps businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy maintains that windows can account for 10 percent to 25 percent of your heating bill. Energy Star-rated windows not only save on a home’s energy bill, they are twice as efficient as the average window built just 10 years ago and are thicker and block out more sound, say energy consultants.
Your air conditioner must work much harder to cool hot air from your sunny windows during the summer time. With Energy Star windows and the use of curtains and shades to give your air conditioner and energy bill a break, the cooling load can be cut by 10 percent to 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
On 17th Feb, 2009, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 signed into law by President Barack Obama. This bill modified and extended the tax credit for doors, windows, and skylights established in the Policy Act of 2005. The tax credit is good throughout 2010. The maximum amount of homeowner credit for all energy-related improvements combined, including windows, is 30 percent of cost up to $1,500. Also, with lower monthly energy bills, energy efficient windows pay for themselves in the long run.
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Energy efficiency remains a top priority of the U.S. government, and one that has been getting increasing attention. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends if your home has single-pane windows, as many U.S. houses do, consider replacing those single pane windows with new double pane windows with high performance glass (e.g., low-e or spectrally selective).
In winter season, select windows, those are gas filled with low emissivity (low-e) coatings on the glass to reduce heat loss. If you are building a new home or planning to remodel, you can offset some of the cost of installing more energy efficient windows because they allow you to buy smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment.
Here are some consumer tips for energy efficient windows recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy:
- Look for the ENERGY STAR label
- Check with local utilities to see what rebates, discounts or other financial benefits are available for window replacement
- High performance windows have at least two panes of pure glass and a low emissivity (low-e ) coating
- Remember, the lower the thermal transmission or U-factor, the better the insulation. In winter times, focus on searching a low U-factor
- Low solar heat gain coefficients or SHGCs reduce heat gain. In warm climates, look for a low SHGC
- In temperate climates with both summer and winter seasons, select windows with both low SHGCs and low U-factors to save maximum energy
- Look for whole unit U-factors and SHGCs, rather than center-of-glass, or COG, U-factors and SHGCs. Whole-unit numbers more accurately reflect the energy performance of the entire product
- Have your energy efficient windows installed by trained professionals. Be sure your windows are installed according to manufacturer’s instructions; otherwise, your warranty may be void
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