Did you know that one of the main culprits of energy loss is your windows?
There is something truly amazing about slashing your energy expenses by saving up to 20% of your total costs, just by choosing the right windows.
Most folks have windows that are rather leaky. These windows allow drafts of air to come and go, which affects your house’s ability to maintain temperature. Thankfully, that has a rather simple solution. You can buy the most energy efficient windows, and we’ll show you how.
Keep on reading for the full breakdown of these cost-saving high-performance windows. We’ll go through saving estimates, how these windows work, and how to choose the best windows for your place.
Energy-Efficient Window Savings: How Much Savings Exactly?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if you have single-pane windows, you might be able to save between $126 to $465 a year.
In addition, even with double-pane windows, you’ll still be able to get some solid savings out of switching them out with energy-efficient windows. However, in the case of double-window replacements, you might get a smaller amount of savings, but it’ll still be in the range of $27 to $111 per year. Not bad at all.
Furthermore, you might want to keep an eye out on where you live. The average savings tend to be higher, at about $250, in warmer states. On the other hand, if you live in one of the colder states, expect your savings to average around $150.
Of course, you’ll have to pay for the window replacements upfront before you get the savings. As it were, the average window replacement will cost you around $150 per window. Therefore, depending on the number of windows you need, you might start seeing your savings in action after a year or two.
If you want to know how much it would cost to replace your windows, click here to learn more.
How Do Energy-Efficient Windows Work?
There are a couple of factors available in energy-efficient windows that contribute to their total performance.
With regular windows, you’ll notice that they have aluminum frames.
Aluminum, as a material, easily allows hot and cold air to pass through from one side to the other. On the other hand, with energy-efficient windows, they come with vinyl or fiberglass frames.
These materials do a much better job of air isolation and preventing drafts. In addition, they are poor conductors of heat, which helps provide better insulation.
2. Number of Panes
You’ll find that most older windows have a single pane of glass. Unfortunately, single panes are terrible at keeping the heat in. They allow the heat to slip out during winter.
Furthermore, they’re not that great about keeping your house cool in the summer. Thus, your air-conditioning will have to work overtime to keep your house temperature cool and stable.
What’s great about energy-efficient windows is that they will come with two —even three— panes, all of which will seal your house and cocoon your heat (or coolness) in your home.
3. Insulated Glass Units
Not only is the glass material is on a higher level of performance, but also there is an inert gas that’s inserted between the glass panes of energy-efficient windows.
These gases tend to be either argon or krypton. They’re denser than air and will reduce the ability for air to leak in (or out) of your house, giving your house a huge boost in insulation.
Furthermore, these insulated glass units, also known as IGUs, have low-emissivity. It basically acts as a sunscreen for your house, by reflecting the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
How to Choose the Most Energy Efficient Windows?
Now that we went through saving estimates and the mechanics of energy-efficient windows, it’s time to breakdown the process of choosing the best energy-efficient windows for you.
1. Choose Energy Star Certified Windows
Energy Star-approved windows have shown a consistent decrease in household energy use by an average of 12%. Check if the windows you’re eyeing has high-quality framing materials and multiple glass panes.
In addition, Energy Star windows would have undergone independent testing. This testing ensures that they meet very strict DOE performance standards.
2. Pick Windows With Low U-Value Rating
Great energy-efficient windows tend to have a low U-value. A U-value, or a U-factor, is a unit of measurement for the insulating ability of the window, in addition to how much heat loss it can prevent.
Try to aim for windows with the lowest U-value. The lower the number, the higher the resistance to heat loss. Currently, you’ll find the best windows on the market to have a rating of 0.30 or lower.
3. Aim for Windows With Low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient Ratings (SHGC)
It sounds like a complicated measurement, but all that SHGC does is measure the amount of heat (or energy from the sun) that a window transmits. It’s a number that ranges from 0 to 1.
In the simplest of terms, the higher the SHGC, the higher the energy gained from the sun. Therefore, if you’re looking for windows that are sun-facing, get ones with a low SHGC (like one with a 0.3 rating) which will admit less heat into your house.
4. Go for Windows With Multiple Glazing or Glass Panes
Single-paned windows are considered rather outdated due to its terrible energy-efficiency performance. A study found that houses with single-paned windows had heating costs reaching $875. On the other hand, homes with double-paned windows had heating costs that ran between $575 and $600.
When you take into consideration that triple-glazed windows could be more efficient by up to %16 in comparison to double-paned windows, things become clear.
Triple-glazed windows might cost more upfront, but they’re —without a doubt— the most energy-efficient windows on the market.
Home Improvement for the Win
Picking the most energy efficient windows can be a bit of a challenge, at first.
But, now you’re armed with the latest information on what makes these windows tick, how much savings you can get, as well as how to pick the most energy efficient windows on the market for your home. Just make sure to do your research in advance, and you’re golden.
If you want to learn more about windows and other home improvement tips and tricks, make sure to check out our lifestyle blog as well as our home and garden section.