Our homes can consume a lot of nonrenewable resources, particularly when it comes to keeping comfortable. In fact, home heating and air conditioning are the greatest contributors to every American’s carbon footprint, and with the price of fossil fuels rising every year, heat and air conditioning are among every homeowner’s most expensive line-item.
One way to cut down on the costs and improve your efficiency is to install energy-saving windows.
If your home has older windows, the money you are trying to save in other ways, such as installing energy-efficient appliances or buying local produce, is going right out the window – literally. Older windows are single pane, which can be a large source of heat transfer – meaning they allow the warmth out in the winter and the heat in in the summer. This will cause your HVAC system to work overtime just to keep your family comfortable.
Windows are actually the most common place for homes to lose energy. Why? Because glass is an excellent conductor. It quickly moves energy from one side of the window to the other. Think of your car and how warm and steamy the interior gets when it is parked in the sun, even though it is pleasant outside.
Besides replacing your windows with more energy-efficient ones, there are other steps you can take to make your windows more energy efficient and reduce your energy consumption.
- Seal windows. Sealing the gaps around windows and doors can help reduce drafts (most noticeable in the winter) and heat loss.
- Use window treatments. To keep your home comfortable all year round, use blinds and drapes that have an insulating lining. When you want the warmth of the sun inside, open up them up, and close them when you want to block the rays. Insulated drapes keep the warmth inside during cold winter months, too.
Keep in mind that although your home may not be terribly old, the windows may still have less-than-ideal energy-efficiency ratings. Check the ratings and compare those to what’s available today.
For homeowners who want to truly improve their home’s energy efficiency, your best bet is to replace inefficient windows with more efficient ones. Look for “Low-E” windows that have krypton or argon gas between the panes. The gases are invisible, but serve as a protective layer of insulation that prevents glass from being a heat conductor.
If you’d like to increase your home’s comfort level while spending less on heating and cooling, improving your windows is the answer. Seal cracks, install appropriate window treatments and replace old, inefficient windows, and soon you’ll notice a big difference.