Read This Before Buying Replacement Windows to Save Energy

In 2012 the Federal Trade Commission warned 14 replacement window manufacturers that energy savings claims must be backed by scientific evidence. () 

Homeowners can receive a comprehensive report based on proven building science from participating AlabamaWISE contractors. They will identify energy saving home improvements prioritized by return on investment. Energy related home investments average 20% for homeowners in north Alabama.

Many home improvements offer the opportunity to save money on monthly utility bills. A comprehensive approach energy savings should usually include insulation and air sealing to maximize the benefits from replacement windows. Insulation and air sealing usually offer the highest return on investment of any home improvement with a 2 to 5 year payback, while the return on investment from Energy Star qualified windows may be 15 years or more. According to the US Department of energy, replacing single pane windows with efficient windows in Alabama may save up to $200 per year.

Non-energy benefits of a quality window replacement can dramatically improve curb appeal and increase home sale value, so the economic calculation for replacement windows can be complex, but new windows will rarely achieve 50% energy savings unless part of a comprehensive home energy makeover.

When energy savings is the primary goal, insulation and efficient hvac systems are usually prioritized over window replacement. A comprehensive home energy assessment by participating AlabamaWISE contractors will take a scientific look at every major energy component of the home and identify the best energy efficiency upgrades by simple payback.

The Efficient Window Collaborative (http://www.efficientwindows.org/) is a valuable resource with tools to help select replacement windows. Storm windows are an affordable alternative to replacement windows when the existing windows contain single-pane glass.

The Efficient Window Collaborative has identified the following benefits associated with energy efficient window replacement:

Energy & Cost Savings – Energy efficient windows reduce waste by reducing conductive and radiant heat gain. High quality installation is essential to prevent water damage and air leaks around the window unit. The Energy & Cost Savings page shows savings in heating and cooling climates.

Lower Heating and Cooling Costs — High-performance windows reduce annual heating and cooling bills and shave peak heating and cooling loads. The section on HVAC cost illustrates how energy star windows can result in smaller HVAC equipment sizing.

Improved Comfort — Cold glass can create uncomfortable drafts as air next to the window is cooled and drops to the floor. These drafts often give the impression of air leaks around the window. Direct sunlight through windows in the summer season creates a greenhouse effect by overheating the room. Shade trees, window awnings and low-e glass reduce this solar heat gain in summer months. Learn how high performance windows help make home more comfortable across all climates.

Reduced Condensation — High-performance windows reduce frost and condensation which can cause water damage and deterioration to existing windows and walls.

Increased Light & View – Daylight and view are two of the fundamental attributes of a window. High-performance windows reduce unwanted heat gain and fill the room with natural light.

Reduced Fading — Materials such as carpet, fabrics, paper, artwork, paints, wood flooring fade from exposure to sunlight. Modern Low-e windows filter out damaging rays of sunlight.

AlabamaWISE is a community energy program to help homeowners make smart choices for energy saving home improvements and low interest loans up to $15,000 for a limited time.