How Much do Energy-efficient Windows Save?
You’ve likely heard something about energy-efficient appliances and other household items being able to save you money, but is this really true and how much can you actually save? Your home uses electricity in a lot of ways, so cutting down in certain areas can really lower your utility bills each month. The question is, “Where?”
Over the past decade, there has been a strong shift in the market toward a more sustainable way of living. While one person can’t do it all, people have found creative ways to do their small part. From creating biogas by composting organic material to installing solar panels, homeowners are not short of options. Passive ways of heating and cooling your home can also be built into its very design, as is the case with windows. How much do energy-efficient windows save and is it worth the investment?
What’s Wrong With Regular Windows?
If your home already has beautiful windows, you may feel reluctant to replace them. However, windows that serve only an aesthetic purpose will cost you money over time. The main reason for this is that most homes are built with single-pane or single-glazed windows. These are the standard fare and the least efficient. Why is this?
Windows need insulation the same way your walls need insulation. The walls from the exterior to the interior of your home are composed of several layers. These layers provide extra insulation against outdoor temperatures. High-quality windows follow the same premise, so without the layers, you have no real insulation.
As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy identifies windows as one of the main contributing factors of inefficient cooling systems. It points out that no matter how advanced a cooling system is in a home, inefficient windows will increase your energy costs.
In fact, the department estimates that windows alone contribute to 25% of your cooling costs. As a result, it recommends upgrading to at least double-paned windows. This helps you to take advantage of reduced UV glare, increased comfort, better insulation and lower utility bills.
How Much Do Energy Efficient Windows Save?
At Alufab USA, we have more than a decade’s worth of experience upgrading homes and have experienced new windows energy savings firsthand. Still, why take our word for it?
Check out the cold, hard facts about how much energy-efficient windows could be saving you:
- Installing exterior Low-E storm windows can save 12 to 33% annually on heating and cooling bills for an average annual savings of $100 to $274
- Weatherstrip double-hung windows can save you 5 to 10% annually on heating and cooling bills for an average annual savings of $42 to $83
- ENERGY STAR qualified windows can save you $126 to $465 a year when replacing single-pane windows
- ENERGY STAR qualified windows can save you $27 to $111 a year over double-pane, clear glass replacement windows
- ENERGY STAR windows will save you an average of $186 per year in Florida over single-paned and $111 per year over double-paned, clear glass
How Do Energy Efficient Windows Work?
There is no feature that independently makes some windows more energy-efficient than others. Several factors come into play to help you save money on your energy bills.
Installation: The U.S. Department of Energy warns that even the best windows will fail to contribute positively to energy efficiency if they are not properly installed. Always hire professional contractors for the job. Also, protect your investment by ensuring they are bonded, licensed and insured.
Frames: Old windows tend to feature aluminum frames. Metal conducts temperatures, so this provides very little insulation against outdoor temperatures. Fiberglass and vinyl make much better frame options. Some homeowners prefer wood, but 100% virgin vinyl is one of the best material choices you can make.
Panes: Energy efficient windows feature additional panes that are insulated by denser gas than breathable air. This makes it more difficult for air to seep in and out, thereby helping your home to maintain more consistent temperatures.
Are There Any Additional Benefits?
Most homeowners in Florida upgrade their windows because it suffered damage or because they want to better insulate their homes against the heat. However, there are additional benefits to a well-sealed home.
Quieter Experience: If you are a light sleeper or need silence to work from home, you’ll appreciate the quieter experience. While window upgrades may not eliminate all outside noises, they certainly help to lower the decibels.
Longer-lasting Interior: The UV rays that come in through the windows of your home damage your furniture, rugs and the overall interior over time. Properly insulated windows help to reduce this even without a tint.
Higher Property Values: Not everyone wants to take on sustainable living initiatives on their own. If you do the work for them, they are happy to buy into it. This makes energy-efficient windows an excellent selling point when you put your home on the market.
Greener Living: Sustainable living is not always about the cost. Some people are far more invested in helping to preserve America’s natural resources than just saving money. Thankfully, upgraded windows are a passive initiative people can use to achieve both.
How Much Do Energy Efficient Windows Cost?
Every home and its design is different. Even tract homes have small changes to account for small differences in the grading of the property or other features of the natural environment. Homeowners may also make upgrades to the exterior of the house and the landscaping. This makes it impossible to give an accurate cost for every client.
Houselogic estimates that the cost of upgrading your windows can range from as little as $270 per window to as much as $800 per window. So, what are the factors that create such a wide range?
Size: Naturally, the smaller the window is, the fewer materials contractors need to replace it. It is also lighter and easier to maneuver, which significantly speeds up the process. Installing windows that run from floor to ceiling, on the other hand, are heavier and more expensive.
Dimensions: Most homes have standard window dimensions for various sizes. This is what makes it possible for homeowners to buy blinds online or from local hardware stores. Some houses are more unique and feature window dimensions that require custom-fitted glass.
Effects: Some homeowners only wish to install regular energy-efficient windows. Others may want the glass to be tinted to a certain degree or just on one side. Some clients have even asked for the mirror effect so that on the exterior, the windows reflect the outdoors.
Type: Triple-glazed glass is more expensive than double-glazed class. The extra layer also makes it heavier. This is ideal for the south side of your home as it is the side most exposed to the sun.
How Can I Pay for It?
If you have massive window walls overlooking your swimming pool or floor-to-ceiling windows in your sunroom, you may worry about how to afford upgrades. The good news is that there are several options available to you.
Home Equity: If you have built up some equity in your home, you can apply for either a home equity loan or line of credit to access that equity. Banks typically allow homeowners to borrow up to 85% of the equity in their homes.
Personal Loans: If you don’t yet have equity in your home or prefer a simpler process, short-term loans may help you to fund the process. Some lenders provide you with a loan in as little as 24 hours.
Credit Cards: If you only plan to spend a small amount of money on window upgrades for the present, credit cards can help to fill the gap. If possible, apply for one that has a 0% introductory rate for 12 months or so.
How Do I Get Started?
Your contractor will provide recommendations when it comes to window choices, but it does help to start with an idea of what might work best for you. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends looking specifically for windows branded with the ENERGY STAR. This symbol ensures that you get an energy-efficient design. Next, verify the layers of glazing.
Choosing the right company is another important aspect of upgrading your windows. Not all contractors are alike. Some may bring services to the table that others do not. At Alufab USA, we have showrooms where you can see some of our best installations in action. We also manufacture your products, so you know you are getting exactly what you want.
New energy-efficient windows may even qualify you for a tax credit to save even more money. In addition to protecting you from losing money, Alufab USA can install impact resistant and hurricane proof windows and doors on your home. Give us a call today at 239-226-4872 to learn more.