Window replacements are still among the smartest investments you can make for your home. Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report puts the national average return on investment (ROI) for midrange vinyl and wood window replacements at 78.7% and 79.3%, respectively. Here in Texas, the job costs are slightly less expensive and the ROI slightly lower, as demonstrated here.
Despite the small difference in potential cost recovery, however, it’s easy to see that window replacements are still well worth it for Texas homeowners. Besides the financial advantages, new windows can also make your home more comfortable and reduce the cooling load on your HVAC system.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey shows that nearly 80% of homes in this state depend on air conditioning to regulate indoor temperatures, which alone accounts for a large portion of household utility costs and makes Texas’ average annual energy consumption one of the highest in the country.
If you want to lower your energy consumption, you need to maximize the energy benefits you can get out of your window replacement project. To achieve this, you need to take two critical factors into consideration:window construction and window operation.
The Department of Energy estimates that energy-efficient windows can reduce a household’s heating and cooling costs by up to 30%. Examples of energy-efficient window products on the market today include:
- Smart windows.Smart windows use advanced technologies to stop the unwanted transfer of heat and air. Some make use of suspended light particles, while others have electrical fields that detect differences in light exposure and temperature. The biggest downside to smart windows, however, is the high upfront cost.
- Windows with modified glazing. Window glass has gone through a lot of changes in an effort to make windows more insulating and more efficient at reflecting heat and light. Some windows feature spectrally-sensitive, low-emissivity glazings, which have thin film coatings to improve their thermal performance.
- Windows with multiple glazings. Double- and triple-pane windows have been around for years, but they too have been improved with low-E glass and spacers that limit heat transfer and reduce condensation inside the glass.
In this article, Bob Vila offers an excellent overview of the most popular window designs available today. Of these, the following styles would work best for homes in Texas:
- Sash windows.Single- and double-hung windows can be opened easilyto allow air flow—a must for passive ventilation.
- Casement windows.Casement windows can be opened all the way, which makes them ideal for passive ventilation, but they can also be sealed tight, which will help you save energy when the A/C is on.
- Awning windows. Awning windows function much like casement windows, but they do a better job of keeping debris like falling leaves out of your home.Tinted awning windows can come in handy if you have a glare problem but need to let air flow through your home.
About ENERGY STAR and NFRC Labels
It’s always a good idea to check ENERGY STAR and NFRC labels to see whether a window meets the energy efficiency standards for where you live. Because Texas homes are either in the South/Central or Southern climate zone, a good rule of thumb would be to look for:
- A low U-factor.Maximum of 0.35 for South/Central, 0.60 for Southern.
- A low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).Maximum of 0.30 for South/Central, 0.27 for Southern.
About The Author:
With a goal to build a home improvement company based on quality and integrity, Jeff Jones established the Jones & Associates in 1987 with his wife L’Anna. His efforts paid off in 2007 when things started to grow for his company by being regularly slated as one of Qualified Remodelers’ Top 500 Contractors in the United States. He enjoys outdoor activities with his family as well as serving community and religious boards.