The Truth: Energy Savings from Energy Star

Replacing the glass and frames that make up the portholes to homes is often touted as offering significant cost savings on energy bills. However, while it is true that replacements will save money, whether they will have a large enough impact to pay for themselves, even over many years, seems a dubious proposition, perhaps put forth by those with the most to gain.

Modern Units Reduce Fossil Fuel Waste

To be sure, reducing the amount of fossil fuel burned or electricity consumed is an admiral, environmentally conscious goal that reduces one’s carbon footprint. The U.S federal government offers tax credits for homeowners who install Energy Star rated windows. Programs are also offered by utilities and at the local and state level of government to provide rebates to homeowners who install efficient windows.

Ask about the cost savings of local window replacement: Houston, TX; Albuquerque, NM; and most other municipalities in the United States are home to or serviced by contractors who would be happy to provide frank answers with regard to energy savings. Except for homes that currently have a just a few single-pane windows, homeowners will almost certainly not earn back the price paid to purchase windows and have them installed over their entire lifetime.

Many Benefits, Cost Savings May Not Be One Of Them

Consumer Reports states that a single-story 2,000 square foot house that currently has double-paned windows or storm windows installed might save between $27 and $111 per year in energy costs. This figure rises in homes with only single-pane windows, from between $126 and $465 per year. The consumer watchdog pegs the price of an average window-replacement renovation at between $8,000 and $24,000 for a similarly sized home. Even at the maximum estimated cost savings of $465 per year, it will take over 17 years for an $8,000 replacement job to pay for itself.

Something to consider is that if energy prices were to increase dramatically, say if the price of oil rose to $150 a barrel, something that is not currently forecast, the number of years such a job may pay for itself in could drop significantly. Homeowners are wise to keep themselves informed of the current prices of oil and electricity, as well as current window-replacement costs: the math that currently states, based on purely financial reasons, that window replacements are uneconomical could change by significant margins down the road.

Money Not The Only Consideration

Despite the financial considerations, there is nothing pleasant about feeling a draft from a leaky window, or one that allows hot humidity, or insects, to enter in summer months. New windows can help alleviate these problems. Further, many homeowners may simply want to improve the look of their home. Modern windows also provide increased protection from ultraviolet rays, which, when factored into cost savings, might make a difference. Replacing old windows that allow ultraviolet light in may be the answer to protecting family heirlooms, among other valuables, from the sun’s harmful rays.