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What to Look for in Energy Efficient Windows

Apr 3, 2012

You can’t really talk about how energy efficient a home is without discussing its windows. That’s because windows are major source of air leakage and can be responsible for up to 20% of your home’s energy loss. And with rising energy prices, that can add up to big bucks! If you find that your home suffers from leaky windows, there are basically two things you can do: 1. Repair them or 2. Replace them.

  1. Repairing windows
    • If you can’t afford to install new windows, then taking the simple step of weather-stripping them can yield immediate benefits. You could save as much as $15 per window each year! In addition to the financial benefits, your home’s comfort level will increase dramatically and you may find that your family has become less susceptible to illness, in the form of colds and flu.
    • Another option is installing storm windows in lieu of new, more energy efficient models. Although storm windows aren’t as effective as new energy efficient windows, they’re still a good solution if you’re working on a tight budget. Studies have shown that because they reduce air movement, storm windows can help cut down on your heating and cooling costs.
  2. Replacing windows
    The most effective way to solve leaky windows is to replace them with new, energy efficient ones. The federal government is also doing its part to promote energy efficiency by offering homeowners tax credits when they choose to renovate their homes to become more energy efficient. You can take advantage of these financial incentives when upgrading your windows. If you do decide to replace your windows, there are few things to keep in mind:

    • Look for windows that are double-glazed and use low e-technology.
      • Low e-technology involves coating the window to filter the sun’s heat and reduce airflow.
    • Make sure your windows are ENERGY STAR qualified. Windows carrying the ENERGY STAR logo are proven to be energy efficient:
      • They can lower your energy bills anywhere from 7% to 15%.
      • They help in reducing your home’s carbon footprint, thereby helping you in your efforts to protect the environment.
    • Ensure any new windows are properly installed; even the most energy efficient window won’t be able to do its job if improperly installed.

If you’re thinking of installing skylights, consider solar tubes as an option. They absorb natural light and distribute it evenly throughout the living area via a system of mirrors and lenses.

Whether it’s replacing or repairing windows, or installing skylights, talk to a RESNET Home Energy Rater to find out what your best options are and to ensure that the job is done correctly.