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Windows and Home Energy Performance (Part 1)

Friday, August 15th, 2014 by Brian Stewart

WindowIn the home energy performance business, we sometimes take for granted that windows have very little effect on home energy usage and that replacing them is a low priority, long payback, low return-on-investment activity.  For the most part, this is true.  That doesn’t mean however, that replacing windows is a waste of money.

Appearance, serviceability, and comfort are among the many good reasons to replace windows.

Sometimes the appearance of windows isn’t what we want it to be.  Old wood or metal windows and frames can make a house look dated.  Peeling paint and rust can make it look worse.  More modern vinyl windows can lose their luster.  Most of us look at our home every day and sometimes we just want it to look nicer.  New windows can be a big help.

Unserviceable windows can be more than just an eyesore.  They can be inconvenient or impossible to open and close.  They can make it difficult to secure your home.  In an extreme case where glass or framing is broken, rotted, or missing; unserviceable windows can be a high-priority home improvement that can make a significant contribution to saving energy and money.

Windows that do not do a good job of keeping out the hot sun can make a room or an entire portion of your home very uncomfortable in summer.  Drafts near windows can have a chilling effect during winter.  If replacing windows can solve comfort problems, then again, they may be worth the expense.

Of course whether the concern with your windows is appearance, serviceability, or comfort; improving all three factors can make a large contribution to the resale value of your home.

Most of the time, it does not make sense to replace windows for energy efficiency reasons.  But if you have other reasons to replace windows, then it makes sense to use replacements that are energy efficient.  Read on to Part 2 for information on what makes an energy-efficient window.

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About the author
Brian Stewart is the General Manager of Dr. Energy Saver St. Louis. He has many years of experience making homes more comfortable and energy efficient.

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