Now that winter is easing into spring, many of us are turning our attention to remodeling projects. The cold weather is still recent enough to remind us of the temperatures we want to keep out. There’s a cost factor involved, too. The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program estimates that the savings from replacing single-pane with Energy Star-qualified windows ranges from $125 to $340 a year for a typical home.
Replacing windows and doors is the 4th most common exterior home remodeling project. There’s a practical reason. Experts say it can dramatically reduce your utility bills. Energy efficiency is a marketing buzz-phrase. The choices are broad, so your best bet to narrow down the field is to arm yourself with these tips to make an informed choice.
- Use Low-E glass. It controls the amount of heat transferred through the window and prevents heat loss in the winter. While many window manufacturers feature it, Low-E glass isn’t a prerequisite.
- Replace older single-pane windows with double-pane units. They’re also called “isolated” or “thermal” windows. The space between the two panes is filled with inert gas—usually argon—that acts as an insulator. It keeps cold and hot weather outside. Using both Low-E glass and insulating glass windows will reduce home energy costs.
- It’s not just the glass that matters. Let’s switch over to doors. Look for doors exposed to the outside that have energy-efficient cores, sills and frames. This provides a barrier to energy exchange. Dual-pane, Low-E glass panes in doors or windows ensure that they will be weather-tight. Studies show that over time, steel doors made with polystyrene maintain energy ratings better than doors made with polyurethane.
- Take some time to acquaint yourself with common energy standards. Efficiency ratings are based on what’s known as the “U-factor.” It’s the amount of heat flow through a product. The lower the U-factor, the more efficient the product. Efficiency also is measured by what’s known as Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). It’s a mouthful to be sure, but it’s easy to understand. It basically indicates the window or door’s ability to block heat generated by sunlight. A lower SHGC rating is better.
- Focus on efficiency as much as design and aesthetics. You want your front entrance to be welcoming to guests, but it should give a brush-off to the cold of winter and the heat of summer. One of the easiest ways to identify energy-efficient products is to look for the Energy Star label.
New windows and doors can dramatically change the look of your home.
They can also make a measurable difference in your utility bills. That’s an unbeatable combination.
Talk to us about transforming your home’s exterior character with new windows. Our customers often find that the savings on heating and air conditioning bills is transformed - for the better - too.