Get paid to save money with energy-efficient windows

July 08, 2011

Do you want to get paid to save money? You can double your savings by changing out your old windows for more energy efficient windows to save money on your utility bills. And you can qualify for a tax credit on your 2011 income tax return for the purchase of the windows.

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As the homeowner, you can receive a tax credit up to 10 percent of the cost of eligible windows with a 2011 cap of $200. Windows must meet Energy Star requirements and be installed in your primary existing residence no later than December 31, 2011, for you to be eligible for the credit. Make sure you also meet the following conditions:

  1. Window installation cost is not included
  2. Replacement windows and new windows in existing residences qualify for the tax credit
  3. Not all Energy Star products qualify for a tax credit
  4. Current cap is $500 for all energy efficient tax credits, including tax credits taken in tax years 2006-2010


Contact a tax professional to determine any remaining tax credit eligibility.

Energy Star requirements for windows tax credit

To qualify for the tax credit, windows must be manufactured by an Energy Star partner, have National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) ratings that meet energy efficient guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy and are independently tested and certified by the NFRC with these five specific performance ratings:

  1. U-Factor. Measures the rate of heat transfer and how well the window insulates
  2. Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). Measures solar energy transmission and how well the product blocks heat from sunlight
  3. Visible Transmittance (VT). Measures how much light the windows allow through
  4. Air Leakage (AL). Measures the rate at which air leaks through window joints
  5. Condensation Resistance. Measures how well the window resists condensation build up


Certain product features are common to most windows that meet Energy Star requirements (but not necessarily required) and include specific frame materials, multiple glass panes, Low-E glass coatings, air or gas between the glass panes as well as spacers between the glass panes.

Documentation for your windows tax credit

At the time of this article, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has not determined what paperwork you need to submit when you claim your 2011 tax credit. Therefore, you need to save every scrap of paper relating to your windows--purchase receipts, manufacturer certifications and Energy Star labels.

Start replacing your old windows with more energy efficient windows in 2011. With the money you save from lower utility bills and your 2011 tax credit, you could offset your window installation cost.

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