An audit inspects, surveys, and measures just how much energy your home consumes, while providing the necessary solutions to improve its overall efficiency. By itself, the audit doesn’t actually save you energy. You still need to apply the recommended home improvement measures to benefit from them.
DIY Home Energy Audits..?
Homeowners may perform a simple audit by themselves, or choose to hire a professional energy auditor for the job. The former involves using the ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick, which helps compare your home’s energy efficiency with similar homes across the country. ENERGY STAR will then recommend the suitable energy-saving home improvement project to address your needs.
Just make sure you have the last 12 months of your utility bills. You’ll need to enter some standard information about your home, including yur zip code, square footage, your home’s age, and number of occupants.
…Or Professional Home Energy Audits?
If you prefer something more comprehensive, turning to a professional home energy auditor will do the trick. In fact, a few home improvement companies in your area might employ BPI-certified home energy specialists.
They use a variety of techniques and equipment that give more precise readings about your home’s energy consumption. These may include blower doors that test for air leaks and infrared cameras that reveal tricky areas of air infiltration and failing insulation. At the same time, a pro can provide you with more specific home improvement suggestions.
Following your home energy audit, window replacement might just be one of the recommended projects you can invest in. After all, old and failing windows may account for about 30% of your home’s energy loss, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To improve the thermal comfort of your living spaces and reduce energy costs, window replacement can offer a better and more sensible solution.
Newer windows keep airtight seals.
Inefficient windows make it easier for outside air to enter your home, while allowing costly heating and cooling energy to leak out. This can compromise your home’s thermal stability, while putting extra load on your HVAC system. Because the system will try to fill the gap left by leaking energy, you might notice an increase on your home’s energy costs.
You no longer have to worry about this when you invest in window replacement. Newer units feature durable, more airtight seals that prevent significant energy loss. This leads to a pleasant indoor temperature all year round and considerable energy savings.
The type of framing material your replacement windows use can affect their energy performance. For this reason, do a bit of homework and weigh the pros and cons of various window materials available today.
One prime option is vinyl, which has the largest market share in the window replacement business. Vinyl is structurally sound, maintenance-free, and cost-effective, but what makes it stand out is its energy-saving properties. It provides exceptional thermal insulation, which traps energy inside your home.
Vinyl frames may even have sections that are either hollow or filled with foam for optimized insulating action. If you want windows that can help create a consistent temperature no matter the season, vinyl replacement units are an exceptional choice.
Replacement windows offer better daylighting.
Old windows with expansive glass may provide access to considerable natural light, but they also allow the accompanying heat to enter inside your home. Replacing them with newer, better windows from a trusted window company can deal with this issue.
Most replacement units today are dual paned and have Low-E (low-emissivity) coatings. This advanced glass lets daylight stream into your home, but also reduces radiant heat transfer. Because Low-E glass allows for cooler interiors during the summer, you’ll rely less on your air conditioning. You can save more money on energy.
Now that excessive heat transfer is out of the equation, you can enjoy brighter, more comfortable rooms. This is especially useful when you want small-scale rooms to appear larger and more open. Better daylighting can also help reduce your costs for artificial lighting.
The expansive glass also allows for panoramic outdoor views — use this glass well to create a more seamless connection between nature and your interiors. You can even pair your units with glass block windows for a more distinctive look.
Window replacement offers excellent sun protection.
Because of Low-E glass, your windows won’t just keep your rooms cooler, they can also protect it from extensive sun damage. There are Low-E glass options today that lower the impact of UV rays when it enters your home. This means no fading walls, flooring, or furniture.
New windows prevent condensation.
Replacing old windows with energy-efficient ones help create warmer interior glass surfaces. This lowers the potential for frost and condensation, ensuring that your windows retain their superior, long-lasting energy performance.
Home Energy Audits Can Help You Keep a More Energy-efficient Home
If you’re planning to achieve this with window replacement, you need to make informed purchasing decisions about your new units. Make sure they can deliver superior energy performance. You can confirm this by checking the ENERGY STAR label included with your windows.
This means that they have met stringent energy performance requirements. You can even take this further by going over the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label. The label covers a set of energy performance rating that you can use to compare the windows’ efficiency. These include:
This rating measures how well your replacement windows keep heating energy inside your home. A lower U-factor means your new units offer better insulating value, allowing for tighter seals that prevent energy loss.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).
This determines how effectively your replacement units can block solar heat. Windows with lower SHGC offer better access to natural light, only without the heat gain. They also protect your interiors from damaging UV light.
This rating shows how well your new windows can light up your home. Windows with high visible transmittance let in more natural light, possibly helping you save on artificial lighting.
Air Leakage (AL).
This rating measures how well your windows stop cold drafts. Choose ones with low AL, since they help stabilize indoor temperature by heading off air infiltration.
Make that first vital step with a home energy audit and follow it up with a window replacement. This way, you’re on the right track to keeping a more comfortable, energy-efficient home. For more information on energy audits, call a trusted window company in your area who can deliver the service.