Window technology has improved so much that the federal government’s ENERGY STAR program says that qualified windows can low your energy bills by 7 to 15 percent. That may not sound like much, but if your windows are particularly old and drafty, the savings could be much greater than that.
ENERGY STAR is a government-backed and sanctioned program that rates the effectiveness of a number of products including windows, doors and skylights. You’ll see the ENERGY STAR label on household appliances too including on dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines and HVAC units. ENERGY STAR is an EPA initiative and is useful in helping consumers choose products and appliances that are use less energy and give off fewer pollutants.
To pick the right windows, you need to first find the ENERGY STAR climate zone for where you live. That information is available online — you’ll plug in your state and county information and click the search bar to see the results.
You’ll see samples of labels for your area including identifying the products that do well where you live. If a certain window performs well in all climate zones, then you’ll see a label with the outline of the United States highlighted in blue. Of course, these labels make it easy to choose the right product, because such windows are suitable no matter where you live.
Also, the information on the labels will give U-factor and SHGC ratings. In my area the windows would have a U-factor of 0.32 or less and an SHGC of 0.40 or less. The U-factor is the rate of heat loss in a window; SHGC is the solar heat gain coefficient, measuring how well a window blocks heat from sunlight.
Confused yet? Well don’t be — there are qualified retailers that can help you navigate through all the noise. Again, ENERGY STAR makes that possible by providing a store locator for retailers in your area.
When shopping for windows keep a few more things in mind. For one, your utility company may offer a financial incentive if you switch to more efficient windows. Also, there may be federal tax credits available.
Are you ready to switch to more efficient home windows? If so, get a detailed estimate on the cost of the job. ENERGY STAR pins that number at between $7-10,000 for a complete home window exchange, an amount that might be partially offset by credits and rebates.
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Last update on 2020-07-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API