From Marielle Collins on March 12, 2014 in Window Replacement
Many people make it a goal to become more environmentally conscious in the New Year. If you are looking to go green when it comes to your home, one great step is to make the switch to energy efficient windows that will help you save money and be more environmentally friendly. Federal tax credits are offered for installing Energy Star Qualified windows that meet certain standards, making this upgrade even more affordable. Replace your windows to invest in your home, save money on your utility costs and reduce the amount of energy you and your family consume.
Value of Energy Efficient Windows
New energy efficient windows have great value for a number of reasons. First, window replacements are one of the best remodeling projects for investment return, and you will be able to recoup almost 80% of the cost in added value to your home. If your windows qualify for a federal tax credit, you will save a few hundred dollars per window in addition. Lastly, with energy efficient windows your utility bill will be reduced for additional savings every month.
Understanding Energy Performance Ratings
In order to determine the energy efficiency of a type of window, check the Energy Star labels to determine how the replacement will perform in your climate and area. The energy performance ratings of windows are determined by various measurements you should be aware of when searching for the perfect window for your home and budget. U-factor is the rate at which your windows conduct non-solar heat and can refer to either the glass or the glazing. Choose a window with a low U-factor for better energy performance. The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) measures how much solar radiation is admitted through the windows and released as heat into your home. The lower the SHGC the less heat comes into your home, reducing your cooling costs in the warmer months. Air Leakage is the rate of air movement around your windows, and a window with a low air leakage rate will be tighter and therefore allow less hot or cold air to seep into your home. Understanding these three measurements will help explain how energy efficient windows save you energy and money.
Important Home Window Decisions
In addition to the energy performance ratings of your windows there are other factors to consider when choosing your windows, and suggestions to help increase your energy efficiency even more. Prevent excessive heat gain in the summer by installing awnings or overhangs outside your windows to reduce direct sunlight. Also, if you are building your home, try to avoid east or west facing windows as the sun from these directions is more difficult to control. Choose awning windows that hinge at the top and open, hopper windows that hinge and the bottom and open, or casement windows that hinge at the side for low air leakage rates. Double hung and sliding windows have higher air leakage rates which can reduce energy efficiency.
Over all, replacement windows are a valuable and smart investment for your home and will reduce monthly utility expenses as well as your carbon footprint. Take the time to learn about important factors to consider when choosing replacement windows and make sure to hire a licensed and reputable contractor to install your windows correctly to ensure optimal performance.