There’s that old adage about teaching a man to fish. It’s about investing now to have a long-term benefit. Your home is your biggest investment, and it’s one you’re probably still paying off. Every year you put money into your home in the form of fuel and power for heating. But what if you’re just feeding your house when you could be teaching it how to feed itself? There are many options to making your home more energy efficient: insulated siding, solar panel roofs, weather-stripping doors, but one of the most effective forms often gets overlooked: energy efficient windows.
Heat and Cooling Loss
Windows are the weakest point of any home. While the surrounding walls are layers of drywall, insulation, plywood, and siding, the standard window is just a pane of glass between you and the outdoors. Heat escapes during the winter and heat radiates in during the summer. This drives up your heating and cooling bills.
Do you move away from windows during the winter because you can feel the heat draining away? It might be time to look at a new window.
Here are the primary culprits for your energy loss.
- Heating: ever hold a glass mug of tea or coffee in your hands? The heat you can feel is lost heat, much like a single-pane window. If you switched to a double or triple paned styles, it would act like an insulated mug.
- Cooling: on a single-pane window, the rays of the sun are bringing 75%* of its heat into the house, not to mention the ambient temperatures. Double or triple paned glass can help, as well as special tinting to reduce heating while still letting in all the light.
- HVAC Loads: the total necessary capacity of your HVAC unit is called its peak load. Energy efficient windows not only reduce your annual heating and cooling bills, they also reduce the peak heating and cooling loads.
Condensation & Fading
Two side perks that are rarely considered when replacing old windows with more energy efficient windows are the significant reductions in both condensation and fading. Just like how a glass bottle of cold soda sweats in the sun, condensation is formed on windows when there’s a significant temperature difference between inside and out. Insulation removes the temperature difference, and therefore removes the condensation.
The effects of sun on your house and possessions is one that can only be appreciated over a long time. By getting windows with UV tints, you can reduce the fade on your walls and floors, as well as items that are left near windowsills.
Improved Lighting and View
In New England, it is important to let as much light into your home all year round to enjoy our beautiful changing seasons. Installing energy efficient windows will eliminate the need to install shades to reduce solar radiation during the cooling season or heat loss throughout the winter months. New windows will protect your home, adding comfort, increasing your view and letting in maximum daylight.
Of course, by saving money, you’re also reducing your carbon footprint. Less power used, less fuel burned to make power: more green. So while you’re saving money from less heating and cooling, you’re also saving the planet. It’s a win-win.
Picking the Right Energy Efficient Windows
There are many kinds of windows to choose from when you’re thinking about replacing your existing windows or if you’re choosing windows for a new construction project. There is a wide variety of styles, shapes, sizes and materials to meet your every need and budget. Double paned or triple paned? High-solar-gain or thermally broken? A good place to start is looking for Energy Star certification, which will meet the qualification for your state’s energy efficiency, which can save you even more on tax breaks with federal credits.
Windows provide natural light to your home and can serve as a decorative addition to a room. Large bay windows overlooking a well maintained yard is a welcome sight to most homeowners. French doors or sliding glass doors open your home to the world. Make sure your windows offer both function and fashion by choosing the right energy efficient windows that work for you.