Energy efficient windows prevent the escape of conditioned air from buildings, and they also reduce heat transfer in both directions. The increased insulation of these windows reduces home energy usage, and their benefits also include comfort and soundproofing. These windows are available in various designs, and they are also known commercially as energy saving windows.
How Much Do Energy Efficient Windows Cost?
The US Department of Energy estimates that the average household can save $125-$465 per year by using windows with an ENERGY STAR rating. However, changing your entire set of windows can be a high investment, and the installed cost of energy efficient windows varies from $279 to $800 per unit.
Since energy efficient windows are expensive, an energy audit is recommended first to analyze their potential savings. Energy consultants can weigh all the energy efficiency improvements available, to prioritize those with the highest return on investment.
Identify the best building upgrades to save energy.
Benefits of Energy Efficient Windows
The use of high-quality, energy-efficient windows can bring substantial benefits for home and business owners alike
1) Saving money and reducing carbon footprints
ENERGY STAR windows lower energy bills and carbon footprints by 12% nationwide, compared with non-certified products. According to the ENERGY STAR website, the following energy savings and emission cuts can be achieved:
- When replacing single-pane windows in homes, the average annual savings are $101-$583. Emissions are reduced by 1,006-6,205 lb of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to 51-317 gallons of gasoline.
- When replacing double-pane, clear glass windows, the average annual savings are $27-$197. Emissions are reduced by 246-2,001 lb. of CO2 per year, equivalent to 13-102 gallons of gasoline.
Savings can vary depending on climate conditions and the type of windows being replaced.
2) Better insulation improves temperature control and comfort
ENERGY STAR certified windows help keep a consistent and comfortable temperature in your home, eliminating hot and cold spots in rooms. Energy efficient windows create a barrier against cold weather during winter, keeping a warm and pleasant environment indoors. During summer, they help block the outdoor heat, reducing air conditioning costs.
3) Protect furniture from UV rays
Energy efficient windows have special coatings that provide protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This preserves objects such as rugs, carpets, wood, fabrics, paintings and furniture. The coating of ENERGY STAR windows acts like sunscreen for your house, without a noticeable reduction of visible light. These special coatings reduce fading by up to 75 percent.
4) Certified Performance
All ENERGY STAR products are subject to a rigorous testing procedure, and they are only labeled after approval by recognized laboratories. Of course, this includes labeled windows, doors and skylights.
5) Noise reduction
As mentioned before, energy efficient windows provide high insulation and airtightness. However, this also increases their soundproofing ability, by reducing exterior noises considerably.
6) Reduced maintenance needs
Energy efficient windows require less maintenance because less condensation is present, and this lowers the chance of mold issues. Also, the UV-resistant coating helps eliminate water spots and dirt buildup on the outside.
Cost: The Main Limitation of Energy Efficient Windows
The main disadvantage of energy efficient windows is their high cost. However, the heating and air conditioning savings can offset the upfront cost in four to six years. The potential savings of energy efficient windows are less in building areas with a low usage of heating and cooling equipment. The professional opinion of an energy consultant is recommended before a purchase decision.
Energy efficient windows are only a good investment if they are installed properly. Therefore, it is very important to find qualified installation technicians.
- Read reviews and interview potential installers before hiring.
- Ask for estimates and make sure the provider handles the window types you require.
- Installers should offer a warranty for their work.
Window Replacement Rebates and Incentives
Replacing the windows in your home or business is a sizable investment. The good news is that there are some ways to reduce the cost of this project.
City and State Window Rebates and Incentives
Rebates and incentive programs are often available from city and state governments. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) provides the list of available programs in your area just by typing your zip code. There used to be a federal tax credit for energy efficiency, but it has now expired.
Energy Audit and Incentive Programs from Utility Companies
A home energy audit or property condition assessment can help you identify the areas where energy improvements are possible, including energy efficient windows. Some utility companies have rebates and other type of incentives for new window installations.
Upgrading the windows in your home or business is quite beneficial. First of all it improves energy efficiency, lowering electricity and gas bills. In a couple of years, the initial investment is covered by monthly savings, and the payback period can be even shorter if there are incentives.
Property value also increases when energy efficient windows are incorporated, and they also reduce the carbon footprint. Home and businesses with energy saving windows and other efficiency measures can be considered environmentally friendly.