Homeowners looking to upgrade the performance of their existing windows often opt for energy efficient window replacements.
Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the financial and environmental impact of their energy use. With new studies showing that residential buildings account for about 20 percent of total energy use and carbon dioxide emissions in the country, and that heating and cooling accounts for the largest energy use in single-family homes, consumers understand that upgrading their windows can have a huge effect on their home’s operational efficiency.
Here are some of the financial benefits of installing energy efficient window replacements:
- Energy and cost savings
Installing Energy Star rated windows can keep your home cooler during summer and warmer during winter. This is because energy efficient windows are built with better glazing options for improved insulation, reduce heat transfer by replacing metal frames with vinyl or fibreglass, and generally eliminate any gaps that allow warm air to escape or cool drafts to enter. That said, it is important to choose the right energy efficient windows for your area, based on the R-value. R-value is a measurement of a window’s ability to resist heat flow. For homes in much cooler climates, choosing windows with a higher R-value will help to ensure warmer temperatures inside your home during the cold months. This translates to lower heating costs during winter. Energy efficient windows are also treated to filter UV radiation, helping to keep your home cooler during the hot months. This translates to lower cooling costs during this period. Reports suggest that using the right Energy Star windows – based on the R-value and other factors – can reduce your energy bills by about 20 percent.
- Return on investment through resale
Replacing old windows can yield a substantial return on investment (ROI) in both the short term and the long term. If you intend to live in your current home for many years to come, the cost of installing new energy efficient windows that last for decades – and come with a lifetime warranty – will be recovered in due time owing to the savings in energy bills and zero (or nearly zero) cost of maintenance and repairs. Moreover, new energy efficient windows replacement is considered one of the top 5 home improvement projects with the highest returns. Replacing your old windows with new, vinyl or wooden window replacements can give you an ROI of up to 95 percent. So, if you are planning on selling your home, upgrading your windows can increase its value and make it sell it faster.
- Qualification for energy rebates and tax incentives
New window installations are costly. While homeowners may be aware of the benefits of energy efficient replacements, the huge initial cost may be a major obstacle. Fortunately, many provincial and territorial agencies provide a number of rebates and credits to offset the cost of installation.
- Independent Electricity System Operator (Save on Energy) – this is a new home construction program that seeks to incentivize contractors to build energy efficient homes in Ontario. The program encourages builders and renovators to install Energy Star certified – energy efficient – products during new constructions or renovation work anywhere in the province. The programs are offered via local electric utilities, and require the installation of Energy Star certified windows, doors, appliances, light fixtures, insulation, and heating/cooling equipment.
- Efficiency PEI – this refers to the Building Envelope Upgrade Rebate offered for the installation of Energy Star windows and doors. The rebate also applies to the installation of insulation and air sealing improvements.
- Gazifere – this program provides financial assistance to low-income households to encourage the uptake of energy efficient programs. The program pays $5 per square foot of Energy Star certified door or window replacement, up to $500 per residence.
- Revenu Quebec – this refers to a temporary refundable tax credit seeking to encourage households to invest in green and/or energy efficient home renovation work, including the replacement of windows, doors, and skylights with Energy Star certified products.
- Energy Efficiency Alberta – this Home Improvement Rebates program encourages homeowners in Alberta to work with participating contractors to increase the energy efficiency of their homes by using Energy Star certified products to upgrade their windows, improve insulation, or install tankless water heaters. These upgrades are offered at a generous discount.
- Efficiency PEI (Home Energy Low-Income Program) – low-income households can apply for the PEI Energy Efficiency Grant or Loan programs. If successful, a tradesperson from the program completes thorough air sealing (weatherstripping and caulking) of existing doors and windows at no cost. Other free items in the program include Energy Star certified LED and CFL light bulbs, a low-flow shower head, a programmable thermostat with free installation, and an $80 furnace cleaning voucher.
- Town of Banff Residential Rebates and Incentives – residents may apply for rebates depending on the type of energy efficient features they’re adding to their home. For instance, the rebate for replacing doors and windows with Energy Star certified products is $50 – paid post-purchase. Rebates also apply for refrigerators, furnaces, solar water heaters, dishwashers, programmable thermostats, and energy audits.
Get your energy efficient window replacements today
You can start enjoying the fiscal benefits of energy efficient window replacements immediately by simply replacing single-pane windows with double- or triple-pane windows. If you reside in colder climates, choose gas-filled windows with low-E (low emissivity) coating to further reduce heat loss – and reflect UV radiation during summer. Seek professional help to ensure you make the right purchase.