Window Energy Efficiency

Home Inspector with Pillar To Post® Professional Home Inspection


With heating and cooling costs continuing to rise, it makes sense to look at one of the leading causes of energy inefficiency in the home: windows. Installing energy-efficient windows can mean increased comfort as well as savings on utility bills in any climate.

The transmission of air and light is generally the most important function of windows. However, this can mean heat loss in the winter, overheating in the summer, and higher energy bills. A typical home may lose up to 30% of its heat or cooling through windows. Properly installed, energy-efficient windows can go a long way toward improving this situation.

There are many factors that affect a window's energy efficiency. Whether they are single- or double-paned, gas filled, Low-Emittance (Low-E) coated, and even the material of the window frame all contribute to a window's performance. Online resources such as provide detailed information on these specifications and how to select windows appropriate for various climates. An experienced window contractor can also be a good source of information and recommendations.

Homeowners should check with their local utility to find out about possible rebates and other incentives for the purchase of new, energy-efficient windows.

Of course, replacing windows is not always a viable option. There are steps homeowners can take to improve their energy savings without replacing windows. Making sure windows are properly caulked, keeping weather stripping in good repair, and using storm windows will help. Window coverings are another good way to reduce heat loss in winter and avoid overheating in summer.

Improving energy efficiency throughout the home means cost savings to the homeowner. Energy-efficient windows are a significant step toward that goal.


Kelly Cox



Comments (7)

Jacqulyn Richey
Prominent Realty Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate
Great consumer and realtor post Kelly. I'm going to include it in the best posts never read recap. -Charles
Aug 08, 2007 09:49 AM
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector


Not to throw stones since we're talking about windows, but that figure of 30% savings is quite high. Windows are actually not a very big payoff item when it comes to increasing the energy efficiency of a home. Insulation is by far, and in most cases, the best and most cost effective energy upgrade. Often windows will take a full twenty years to reach the break even point on your investment to energy savings. At which time they are nearing the end of their life and will need replacing soon.

Aug 08, 2007 12:11 PM


I agree, that insulation is likely the greatest energy upgrade.  Maybe, I'll write about insulation next time.  Thanks for you comments.


Aug 08, 2007 01:06 PM
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy Kelly

I go along with what James stated in his comment.

Have a good one

Sep 08, 2007 10:02 PM
Steven Turetsky
Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants - Staten Island, NY
Building Moisture Analyst

Windows, insulation, efficient heating and cooling systems, lighting systems, and lifestyles all contribute to energy efficiency. Conservation is a way of life. What good are the windows if you leave your AC on while you are away at work? What good is the insulation if you if your boiler is an outdated monster that spews the heat out of the chimney?

OK, maybe "what good is..." really isn't the right phrase, because proper insulation is better than not proper insulation, etc., regardless of everything else I mentioned. I think it's all important, they all tie in together.


Sep 22, 2007 06:23 PM
Bob Elliott
Elliott Home Inspection - Chicago, IL
Chicago Property Inspection

Good points Steve.

Where you been Bud.?

Sep 23, 2007 02:55 AM
Steven Turetsky
Comprehensive Building Inspections & Consultants - Staten Island, NY
Building Moisture Analyst

Hey Bob,

I've been wondering where you were too.

Anyway, work has been hectic... as usual and I am studying for my pesticide applicator's license. Not that I want to apply pesticides, but it is necessary to endorse the inspection reports that the banks require.

So with all that is going on, to tell you the truth, on day I sat  and started to log in and suddenly felt cyber burnt. I think I needed a vacation. I get that way once in a while, but my thoughts and friendship are always there.

Well, I'm back.


Sep 23, 2007 03:33 AM