Investing in high-performance windows can be a costly project but with their installation, you’ll enjoy the energy saving rewards for many years, with most windows lasting 15 or more years. With the expertise of a window specialist to guide you through the many brands, styles, and models available, you’ll choose the best windows for your particular climate, construction application and budget.
About High-Performance Windows
For new construction, installing high-performance windows from the start provides immediate returns on your monthly utility bill due to the windows excellent energy efficiency capabilities. How much money you save each month is dependent on current energy costs, the quality of the windows chosen, and if the windows are installed in a home that is well-sealed and insulated with no drafts or air leakage. By choosing high-performance windows for your project now, you won’t face the replacement costs of inefficient windows in the future.
Benefits of High-Performance Windows
If you’re interested in increasing the value of your property, energy efficient high-performance window installation is a good place to start. For example, you can expect as much as an 80 percent return on investment over the project cost when replacing with average quality vinyl windows , according to the “Remodeling Impact Report.”
Energy-efficient windows have a direct impact on reducing heat transfer into your home by an estimated 65 percent, which helps, significantly, in maintaining the interior comfort level of your home that in turn helps regulate cooling and heating costs.
Should you decide to put your home on the market, having high-performance windows already installed is an excellent marketing and selling point. There’s also the possibility of receiving a discount on your homeowner’s insurance with the installation of new high-performance windows.
Tax Incentives and Rebates for Purchasing High-Performance Windows
Each state has access to numerous programs that include rebates, incentives, grants, and loans for home improvement projects. New window installation falls into this category. A federal tax credit is also available for Energy Star qualified windows through December 31, 2016.
Check these websites for more information about incentives.
- Energy Star
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)
- United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development – Rural Energy for American Program (REAP)
Things to Consider when Choosing High-Performance Windows
The first thing to consider with new high-performance windows is the energy-efficiency rating found on windows carrying the Energy Star label. Not every window manufacturer carries this label as it requires passing a rigorous set of requirements set forth by the government. If the windows pass the requirements, they are granted a green certification. This is the standard and what you want to use when comparing the different manufacturer’s brands available to you.
National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Windows Ratings
Another rating you’ll find on quality high-performance windows is from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) that also rates a window’s energy efficiency. The rating takes into account a window’s capability to withstand extreme weather. This rating is beneficial for climate purposes and for those living in regions where severe weather is a possibility. Windows with the NFRC rating can withstand winds up to 155 mph and temperatures ranging from -20° F to 180° F.
Energy Savings from Windows Glazing
Choosing the glazing of the windows is a major decision and can depend on the region where you live. For the most part, single-pane glass does not offer adequate insulation. Typically, you’ll want double-pane or triple-pane high-performance windows. This means the better the window insulation, the higher the price but the more you’ll save in the long run on your utility bill.
Another feature to ask about is the use of a low-emissivity (Low-E) coating that reduces heat during the summer months and contains heat during the winter months.
High Performance Window Frames
Once you’ve made a decision about the style of window, glazing options, and manufacturer with excellent Energy Star and NFRC ratings, the window frame material is also a consideration.
Since the goal is to add better energy efficiency to your home through the installation of high-performance windows, you’ll want the best possible window frame material to ensure that money spent on the window project is invested wisely.
When choosing window frames, consider those that offer long-term durability, do not warp or sag, provide excellent performance, require minimal maintenance, and are made of a material that resists moisture that would result in wood rot and mold. It is recommended that you take into consideration the climate where your home is located and the type of weather your property is subjected to on a regular basis.