DOE, Efficient Window Collaborative offer assistance on replacement windows
With the $1,500 federal tax credit on energy-saving home improvements set to expire at the end of the year, many homeowners are scrambling to make improvements in order to take advantage of the tax refund. One of the most common energy retrofits is window replacements.
However, with today’s advanced technology and a plethora of Energy Star-rated products available, there is a steep learning curve when it comes to deciding which window is best for your home. Consumers must decipher the meaning of energy performance ratings like U-values, solar heat gain coefficients and visible transmittance.
According to the Efficient Window Collaborative, cold glass can create uncomfortable drafts as air next to the window is cooled and drops to the floor, setting in place an air movement pattern that creates uncomfortable drafts and accelerates heat loss. High-performance windows with lower U-factors will result in a higher interior window temperature in the winter, fewer drafts and cold air movement and much greater comfort.
Gas-filled, double or triple pane windows with exterior glazing are becoming the most common option to shut out the cold during the harsh winter months, and limit heat gain during the summer to decrease the use of air conditioning units.
The Window Selection Guide available from the Department of Energy can help homeowners select the proper window for their home. It contains three sections: an explanation of energy-related window characteristics, a discussion of window energy performance ratings and a checklist for window selection. Click here to view the document.
In addition, the Efficient Window Collaborative is an excellent resource for determining how to choose a window for your particular home style and the region where you live. The site provides a convenient Web-based toolto help homeowners decide which window style is best, according to the specific state and city that they live in.
The federal tax credit is a 30 percent credit for materials only, and does not include labor. A $5,000 home expenditure on materials would qualify for the full tax credit. Homeowners must retain their receipt and the Energy Star certificate on the window in order to qualify for the tax rebate.