Every year homeowners use up to 40% of their energy budget to heat and cool their home. Choosing the best energy efficient replacement windows can help reduce your energy bills and save more of that budget for other bills or even vacations.
Research and improvements in glass coating and window technology have created a variety of energy efficient window models to fit more homeowner’s budgets and personal style.
Do New Windows Really Save Energy?
In short, yes.
But how much they save depends on your existing windows and energy bill.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates people can save between $126-$465 per year if they replace their single-pane and aluminum frame windows. If you already have double-paned windows, they estimate you can save between $27-$111 per year if you upgrade to more energy-efficient windows.
Where you live can also influence savings since temperate climates will use less energy overall; therefore you’ll have less to save. And hot climate areas save twice as much in energy than colder climates ($250 and $150 respectively).
Homeowners lose the most amount of energy/money if they have older aluminum and single paned windows (especially if they live in colder climates). So these homeowners have the most to gain by upgrading to the best energy efficient windows
What Kind Of Windows Are The Most Energy Efficient?
Casement windows have led the way in energy-efficiency because of their design alone. But with advancements, selecting windows with traits like Low-e glass can make your windows much more energy efficient.
- Low-e Glass: Low-e means low emissivity glass coating. This coating reflects the sun’s rays away from your house to reduce passive heating in your home. The coating also helps keep the heat inside your home in cooler seasons.
Low-e glass keeps your cooling bill lower since your home isn’t struggling to resist passive heating, and it helps you keep more heat through the winter since less energy is being lost through the glass.
- Double And Triple Pane Casement: Additional glass panes in casement windows increases energy efficiency. The extra panels create cushioning to insulate air and/or gas, so that less energy is lost through your window.
- Argon Gas: This gas is used between panes of window. Since argon gas is less conductive than typical air, it reduces energy loss through your panes more than regular air would.
- Framing: Framing matters when it comes to energy saving. Aluminum (mostly seen in older windows) is terrible at insulation. Though today there are some thermal insulation breaks that reduce energy loss in aluminum frames.
Fiberglass, vinyl, and composite frames are known for their low maintenance and good insulation. Wood frames offer good insulation and are often covered with vinyl to make them less high maintenance.
- Energy Star Label: ENERGY STAR means the window is specifically made with the best materials and technology available to make energy efficient windows.
Which Is The Best Energy Efficient Replacement Window To Purchase?
Any window you purchase should have an ENERGY STAR rating. This means they’ll meet or exceed energy code requirements, which will help you reduce energy wasted.
You should also pay attention to the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label. This label helps you compare details such as how much solar radiation passes through the window, or you can compare the window’s heat loss or gain from non-solar sources.
Look at energy.gov’s list (the EWC State Fact Sheets) to help you compare and select the right energy efficient windows for your location/state. It will also help you understand terms you want to look for when shopping for your new windows.
Energystar.gov has a list of energy efficient federal and state tax incentives/rebates you should take advantage of. You can also ask your window companies about rebates that are available in your area.
All these factors can influence which window is the right upgrade for you.
Alternative Methods Of Increasing Your Window And Door Energy Efficiency
Cracks and spaces between your doors and windows drain your energy (hot or cold) out of your home. So it takes a lot more energy and a lot more of your money to heat/cool your home.
If you’re not quite ready to make the official window upgrade, then try these methods out to seal your home against leaks.
- Weather Stripping: Seal a door or window with weather stripping. There are four different types of weather stripping; channel, felt, foam tape, and a door sweep.
- Channel: Use it on the sides of the door or the side of a sliding window. It’s durable, inconspicuous, but can cause some difficulty with opening and closing the door/window.
- Felt: Use around doors and door jamb. It’s affordable and easy to install, but doesn’t last as long.
- Foam Tape: Use in door frames. It’s easy to install, affordable, but shouldn’t be used in high-traffic areas.
- Foam Sealant: Use on any crevices or potential leaks. The foam will compress and you can still lock your windows.
- Window Film: You can put a film over your windows. There are specific directions that you must follow when you get them for them to be effective.
- Curtains: Simply hanging curtains up can help with insulation and can keep passive solar heating out of your home during the summer.
- Energy Audit: You can get a home energy audit to see where you lose the most energy. Then you can work to affordably insulate that area.
These tips can help slow the leaking in your home, but it’s not a fix all. When you can, you should upgrade to energy efficient windows. Updated windows will help you save more money and will increase the value of your home much more than foam sealant or a felt strip.
Is Upgrading To Energy Efficient Windows Worth It?
When budgeting your window upgrade, take into account your annual energy costs, cost per window upgrade, and how long it will take you to pay off the upgrade. Then consider the years you’ll be saving x amount of money each year after the payoff.
Most likely, if the savings are in the hundreds or thousands, a window investment may well be worth the money.
And even if the savings don’t intrigue you, there is likely a room or two where the thought of upgrading for increased comfort is worth it. Leaky windows can make certain rooms feel too cold or hot, which can mess with your sleeping patterns, family time, meal planning, and more.