When you pay your heating bill, the last thing you want to do is waste money. The government doesn't want to you to waste energy either, so they are saying, "Don't throw your money out the window - buy new windows instead!"
Thanks to the Obama Stimulus Bill, Denver homeowners can now receive energy credits of 30%, with a cap of $1,500, for installing more energy efficient windows and doors. This credit, good through 2010, improves on a popular credit in effect in 2006-2007 by expanding the amount. Besides windows and doors, the credit also covers insulation, water heaters, roofs, air conditioning, and biomass stoves. For homeowners willing to convert to alternative energy sources such as geothermal heat pumps, solar water heaters, solar panels, fuel cells, and small wind energy systems, there is no cap on the 30% contribution and they have until 2016 to fully install these systems.
While new windows and doors might improve the appearance of your home, the energy saving aspect is that you will save money while:
- reducing greenhouse emissions from power plants
- becoming more comfortable in your home as you reduce drafts and overheated spaces
- reducing condensation
- reducing sun rays that can damage and fade fabrics in your home by acting as a sun screen
Only windows and doors that have a combination of a less than .30 U-Value and a .30 SHGC qualify for the credit. Prior to June 1, 2009, it was enough to have an Energy Star label on the product. Now window ratings must be certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), the only federally recognized organization for determining the energy performance of windows, doors and skylights. Windows must have an NFRC label. To get the credit, homeowners must obtain a manufacturer certification statement to document window, door, or skylight eligibility for the tax credit. This certification may be available on the manufacturer's Web site if the retailer or installer cannot provide this document. More information about product performance is available at the NFRC website.
Windows are now more efficient due to new glazing techniques and better sealing, so less air escapes from around the frames. Air loss leads to substantial heat loss, heat gain, and moisture migration in a building. Proper sealing around all doors, windows and other open through the walls, ceiling and foundation is as important to energy code compliance as are proper insulation R-Values and component U-factors. Click here for a handy sheet to help you select energy efficient windows in Denver from the Efficient Window Collaborative.
Even with the tax credit, replacing older less efficient doors and windows could be costly to homeowners. Many window companies are running promotions (and financing options) to make it easier for home owners to upgrade. Since the tax credit lasts until next year, there is also time to budget for the replacement.