How Much Can You Expect to Save from Energy-Efficient Windows?

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[Image credit: uydurrukcu/flickr]

Every year, Australians waste millions of total dollars in energy loss.

Drafty windows, old door seals, poor insulation, and inefficient roof coverings are just a few of the culprits that can cause energy to escape from your home and the money from your bank account.

According to the Australian government, up to 40% of a home’s energy can be lost through inefficient windows and skylights, and a whopping 90% of a home’s summer heat gain will be through windows. Even quality windows can be inefficient if they are not installed properly or haven’t been sealed correctly, as draughts can add up to 25% to your heating or cooling costs.

There are plenty of numbers to analyze, but the point remains the same: efficient, properly installed windows and doors can save a lot of money. But how much money can you really save? Read on to learn more.

How Much Money Can Energy-Efficient Windows Save You?

You might have often wondered if it is worth the cost to install new windows and doors. There are many factors involved, but as you’ll discover, over the long term, you can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars when you have new windows installed in your home. Let’s look at each aspect closely.

Savings are Dependent on Many Factors

Before we try and break down the specific numbers that you can save, it’s important to note that saving energy is a very complex topic that involves numerous factors and variables, including the changing cost of energy.

Therefore, we can’t simply say “invest in new windows and you’ll save $25 a month.” Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. Despite the complexities, we’ll do our best to simplify the information so you can make a clear, informed decision.

Here we go…

There are many different factors that affect the efficiency of your windows, but two of the most important are the insulation value of the current windows and the quality of the seals between the window and the frame. So if you have old windows with single panes and low-quality seals, you obviously stand to gain more efficiency and save more money by purchasing new windows and having them properly installed by an experienced professional.

There are other factors, such as shade around the house, use of interior fans, insulation in the walls, and the installation method that can all affect the amount you’ll save.

Personal habits and preferences also matter. If you constantly use the air conditioning system in the summer, then you’ll obviously save more total dollars by having a well-insulated home. If you are already a thrift with the thermostat, then you won’t gain as much.

Improving Home Efficiency: Breaking Down the Numbers

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But is there any hard data on the exact amount of money you can save with new windows and doors? Unfortunately, there’s not a lot, but there are many rough estimates and various pieces of data that we can put together.

The numbers are a little hard to translate, and it appears that the Australian government hasn’t provided specific numbers on savings, but we can look at a few related stats to get an idea of the savings potential.

According to the United States’ ENERGY STAR program, Americans can save an average of $126 to $465 in USD a year when they replace single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-rated products. This translates to roughly $165 to $600 in Australian currency. While the numbers don’t line up neatly (the products, existing windows, and house sizes will undoubtedly vary), this provides a rough estimate for how much you can save with high-quality windows.

Rebates and Incentives Can Help You Save on Energy-Efficiency

When you install new windows and other energy-efficient products, you’ll find that there are other saving opportunities outside of just energy conservation. The Australian Government has actually created a few different incentives that make installing new windows and other energy-saving products and appliances more affordable, enhancing your overall savings potential.

First of all, there are home and business energy incentives, which provide a wide range of offers and incentives for energy-saving projects. This incentive program offers households low-cost or even free products, such as new light bulbs or draught-proof strips. These incentives are not available to everyone, but people who meet certain requirements can realise added savings when they make energy-efficient changes, including draught-proofing windows.

Use the Window Climate Zone Guides for Best Efficiency, Savings

To help homeowners and facility managers make better decisions for their energy-efficiency needs, the Australian Window Association (AWA) has conducted exhaustive research on the most efficient windows for each section of the country. You can use their information to make smart decisions when choosing windows and doors, increasing your savings and helping you use less energy.

Zones 1, 2, and 3: Northern Australia, Brisbane, Darwin

The AWA advises people living in zones 1, 2, and 3 to keep solar radiation out of the home and to retain the coolness of retained air. Tinted windows are often the best, and ventilation can potentially improve cooling performance as well.

Zones 4 and 5: Sydney, Perth and Adelaide

In these zones, it’s best to balance the benefits of heat gain in winter while keeping your home cool in summer. Seasonal changes will therefore have a large effect on how you maintain efficiency in your home. The preferred U-value for windows is low but solar heat gain coefficient is best in the middle range and should be adjusted with elevation to provide the best performance.

Zones 6, 7, and 8: Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania

These are largely considered the cold-climate zones of our country, so the goal is to maximise the solar heat gain through windows. While sections in the northern climates will want tinted, clear windows are preferred in these areas. Ventilation will have little to no effect, and solar heat gain coefficient for windows should be high.

What Else Can You Do?

Large window man woman talking

If you are concerned about improving your home’s efficiency, there are many steps you can take. While installing new windows is a smart decision, it is only one of the many measures you can take to retain temperatures in your home with minimal effort from your furnace or air conditioning. In some cases, small, simple steps can provide maximum results.

For example, a report from the Tasmanian government says that adding weather-stripping to windows will reduce the average heat loss by 15 to 25% By sealing the gaps around windows and doors with specialty tape, heat loss is reduced and the home becomes more efficient.

You can also consider low-emission coatings for your windows, which are applied to reduce heat transfer. Numbers show these coatings can reduce energy loss by up to 50%, which adds up to massive savings throughout the year.

If your attic does not have high-quality insulation, you are likely losing lots of heat through the top of your house. One step you can take to increase home efficiency is to install reliable attic insulation. In many cases, you can find a professional contractor who can install this insulation for you, making the process simple and easy. You’ll often find attic insulation in two categories: bulk or reflective. In some cases, these materials can be combined for versatile performance.

Door sweeps can also be used to increase efficiency. These products, which are usually made from rubber or plastic, are placed underneath a door to block airflow. They reduce draughts and keep outdoor air inside while maintaining your home’s overall efficiency.

One of the best practices for reducing heat loss and energy bills is to install a programmable thermostat. These high-tech products allow you to set specific temperatures for specific times, meaning your furnace or air conditioner won’t run when you don’t need it. By setting the programmable thermostat, you can ensure your home appliance isn’t running at full strength when you’re not home.

Cool roofs are becoming a popular product in Australia. The principle is quite simple: by adding reflective or bright-colored roofing to a home, heat is not absorbed, resulting in reduced heat flow to the occupied areas below. According to Delux, a manufacturer of cool roofs, white surfaces can reduce surface temperatures by 20 to 35 degrees, which transmits to less heat in the occupied areas of the building.

Another option you can consider is a special coating for your windows. If you consult the specific zones from the AWA (see above) you can find the specific type of coating that will provide your home with maximum efficiency. For example, in the warmer northern areas of Australia, you will likely benefit from tinted window coatings. However, in the southern areas, which are generally cooler, you’ll benefit from clear windows.

BetaView Has Top-Quality Windows for Your Home’s Efficiency

You can get top-quality windows backed by a seven-year installation warranty when you order from BetaView. Contact us today and you’ll get a FREE in-home supply and installation consultation, which will help you get the best performance from your windows.

When you want efficiency, convenience, and visual appeal, you need aluminum windows and doors from BetaView!

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