Energy-efficient windows, installed correctly, save money

April 06, 2012

Just like there's no single hat to fit everyone's head, there is no perfect replacement window to fit everyone's home. With spring and summer near, it might be the best time to evaluate your energy bills and how comfortable you are in your home throughout the seasons. If you have energy leaks, drafts, condensation or mold issues, look over the attributes of various replacement windows with an eye toward your climate and specific needs. Energy-efficiency and saving money go hand-in-hand.

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The non-profit Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC) has conducted studies that do much of the leg work for you in evaluating products. What do homeowners in Minneapolis have in common with residents of Miami? They both need adequate protection from extreme temperatures. For both climates, single-paned or double-paned glass windows without low-e glass options provide little protection from punishing extremes and can nearly double the cost of heating or cooling a home.

Replacement windows, going green and energy savings

In its review of products, the EWC found these approximate annual energy costs for a 2,250-sq. ft. home in Minneapolis:

  • $850, with metal, double-pane, clear glass windows -- mostly due to heating
  • $650, with non-metal, double-pane, high-solar-gain, low-e glass

Miami energy bills for the same size home, based on window choice, show these approximate annual costs:

  • $750, with metal, double-pane, clear glass windows -- mostly due to cooling
  • $475 year, with non-metal, double-pane, low-solar-gain, low-e glass

The best energy-efficient performance typically comes from non-metal frames, the EWC found. Window comparisons were made using the attributes that appear on window labels in the showroom: U-factors, solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), visible transmittance, air leakage and condensation resistance. For a thorough understanding of the ratings, visit the National Fenestration Research Council.

Why professional window installation matters

The EWC recommends that you use replacement window installers trained specifically in the type of window you're using. Quality installation, EWC says, is vital for an airtight fit. The need for professional replacement window installers becomes paramount if your home has water damage or needs structural repairs as part of the installation.

ASTM Standard E 2112 of the building code provides the baseline voluntary standards for the window installation practice, although independent manufacturers may have their own installation requirements to preserve the integrity of the warranty.

There's no reason to be unreasonably cold in the Northern winter or to swelter in a Southern summer while paying exorbitant energy bills. Our network can help you find pre-screened, certified and bonded* replacement window installers to help you upgrade your home with the best set of windows for your needs.

*Read the terms and conditions at http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp

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