Of particular importance in your effort to build an environmentally-friendly home is the windows that you will choose. Energy efficient windows for your new home construction can make your heating bills lower in the winter and your cooling bills easier to handle in the summer. An energy efficient window needs to be at two panes thick, have a low-E (emitting) glass coating, an airtight frame, and be rated as energy-efficient by the Energy Star program. Let’s look at each of these elements of the energy efficient window in greater detail.
When considering your window frames, the material of the frame is very crucial the energy efficiency of the window itself. Opting for a vinyl or fiberglass frame ensures maximum efficiency and both of these materials do a great job of reducing the heat transfer and improving the insulation factor of the home and the home’s envelope. The decision to go with vinyl or fiberglass is usually an aesthetic one for most homeowners, although cost of the window frame itself certainly plays a role in that decision. Look for window frames in vinyl and fiberglass that have been specifically engineered and designed to perform optimally, such as those that have chambers within the frame that enhance their strength, provide additional insulation and reduce noise
Having dual pane or multiple pane windows is important when installing windows that are energy efficient. Dual pane windows have a space between the two panes of glass that is filled with either gas (look for those gases like argon or krypton for their non-toxicity) or air. This provides more insulation than a single pan window. If you can afford it, go for Energy Star rated windows that have three or even more panes for the highest level of energy savings. Look for windows that feature spacers between the panes that allow for the correct distance of panes in order to allow for airflow within the pane. These warm edge spacers can be made of fiberglass, vinyl, foam or steel and will have the added benefit of reducing or preventing condensation between panes. Your windows should also feature low-E coating that will block out the infrared light from the sun that makes your home hotter in the summer and that can fade your flooring, carpeting, or furniture over time.
Financial Incentives for High Efficiency Windows
Local, state and federal governments have recently announced incentives for homeowners who install energy-efficient upgrades in their homes. These incentives include tax breaks and tax rebates. Talk to your installer or your contractor to find out if the windows that you choose qualify for these tax incentives and be sure to file for them in a timely manner. You can get up to $200 under some programs for each window that you install, either as a tax deduction or a credit on your taxes. That makes paying for your high efficiency windows easier, and provides you with a bit of money to spend on other eco-friendly upgrades.