Tag: Energy Star

How Much Money Can Energy-efficient Windows Really Save You

Some homeowners are reluctantly putting off the decision to replace their windows because they’re not sure if they will recoup their initial investment. Still others are putting the decision off until they see what’s going to happen with the economy.

Is replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows really worth the investment? How much money replacement windows will save a homeowner depends, of course, on numerous factors. At the top of the list is the type of window you choose and there are plenty to choose from. There are single-panes, double-panes, and triple-panes. There are coated and uncoated windows. There are windows with hard coating and windows with soft coating. There are windows will gas filling and there are windows without gas filling. Some windows are filled with Argon, some are filled with Krypton. Decisions. Decisions. Where does a savvy homeowner begin?

You don’t need to be Einstein to deduce that dual-paned windows will save a homeowner more money on their energy bills than single-paned windows. But does the same hold true with triple-paned windows? Will triple-paned windows save you more money than dual-paned windows? Here’s what Energy Star, a government agency which promotes energy efficiency, says: “All energy efficient windows have at least two panes, but not all double-paned windows are energy efficient. Twenty years ago, double-paned meant energy efficient; today, advanced technologies have enabled the development of windows that are much more efficient than traditional clear-glass double-paned windows.”

Just as a dual-paned window is much more energy-efficient than a single-paned window, so also a triple-paned window is much more energy-efficient than a dual-paned window. But what are some of these “advanced technologies” that Energy Star is referring to?

There are four things to look for when choosing an energy-efficient window:

1. The layers of reflective glass coating.
2. The type of reflective glass coating.
3. The type of gas used between the window panes.
4. The U-Value of the window.

Once you find a triple-paned window that is manufactured by a reputable company, you have narrowed the playing field considerably. Now you need to consider whether the window panes are coated, how many layers of coating the manufacturer uses, and the type of coating they use. Some windows are coated with a reflective coating, while others are not. By selecting a window with coated glass, the coating will reflect unwanted cold in the winter and unwanted heat in the summer, thereby reducing your fuel costs and saving you money.

But not all reflective coating is created equal. Also bear in mind that most window manufacturers only coat one pane of glass. Few window manufacturers are willing to go the extra mile by coating two panes of glass. Naturally, this will increase the initial cost of the window. Nevertheless, this extra coating will usually pay for itself in savings many times over. Once you have found a triple-paned window that coats two panes of glass instead of just one, you will have eliminated most of the windows on the market. But your search for optimal energy efficiency is not quite complete yet. Patience, dear reader; we’re almost at the finish line.

The next thing to consider is whether or not the window manufacturer uses hard coating or soft coating. Soft coating is much better because it is more reflective. So why doesn’t every manufacturer use soft coating on their windows? Again, soft coating costs a little more. But investing a little more for soft coating will usually pay for itself many times over.

Insulation can be further improved by placing inert gas between the panes of glass. Some manufacturers use Krypton, most use Argon. Again, Krypton costs a bit more than Argon, but the extra savings that come from Krypton gas is well worth it.

The exact energy efficiency of a window can be scientifically measured by a trained window expert. It’s a smart idea to have a trained professional measure the energy efficiency of your current windows. Some say, “I don’t need to replace my windows. My home is just a few years old.” That may be true. However, some homebuilders try to cut costs by installing cheap windows that are not as energy-efficient as they could and should be. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Have an expert measure your windows for energy efficiency. Usually, there is no cost or obligation for this free service.

Once you’ve checked around and are ready to get a free estimate on your windows, be sure to ask the representative for the exact U-Value of the window you are considering. The official standard of measurement for energy efficiency is called a U-Value, also known as a U-Factor. The lower the U-Value, the more energy-efficient the window is. Here is a sampling of a few popular windows and their U-Values:

Alside (Vinyl): 6000 Double Hung 0.30

Alside (Vinyl): R601 Double Hung 0.33

Andersen (Wood): Woodwright (Low-E & Argon) 0.33

Preservation: 9001/P601 0.30

Anderson (Wood): A series Double hung 0.31

Marvin (Ultrex): Integrity (Low-E & Argon) 0.29

Marvin (Ultrex): Infinity (Low-E & Argon) 0.29

Pella (Wood): Proline (Low-E & Argon) 0.32

If you are considering replacing your windows with any of these popular brands, be sure to ask the representative these four following questions:

1. Do you use multiple layers of soft coating on two panes?
2. Do you fill those panes with a gas?
3. (If yes) Do you use Argon or Krypton gas filling?
4. What is the U-Value of your window?

The answer to the first three questions ultimately determines the U-Value of the window. Therefore, question number four is the most important. The U-Value will tell you how energy efficient a window is and give you an idea of how much money you’ll be able to save on your energy bills. The lower the U-Value, the greater a window’s resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value. One window, though not as well-known as Andersen, Pella, or Marvin, has been able to achieve an incredibly low U-Value precisely because they follow the criteria mentioned in this article. Consider, for example, the U-Value of the Bristol Window, manufactured by Winchester Industries in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania:

Bristol (Reinforced Vinyl, overall window U-Value with Krypton): .18

Bristol (with Alpha-10): .21

According to the company’s literature, this particular window has been known to cut homeowner’s energy bills in half, though the exact savings will naturally vary depending on a wide variety of factors. A window expert can test your windows to find out whether or not they need to be replaced and calculate approximately how much money you will save if your windows do need replacing. By comparing the amount of money a window costs with the amount of money you will save, simple math will determine whether or not it is cost-efficient to replace your windows.

Another thing to consider is a window’s warranty. While most windows are only made to last for approximately 10 years, Bristol windows come with a transferrable 50 year warranty. That’s a huge difference. Instead of replacing your windows 5 times over the next 50 years, you can save additional money by only replacing your windows once.

Look at it this way: The government is giving you a huge head start. One thousand five hundred dollars is nothing to sneeze at. Now consider all the money you will probably save in the meantime. Often, the savings alone will pay for the windows within a few short years. It’s smart to have an energy expert help you do the math. If you still live in a home with energy wasting windows, you will pay for windows whether you replace them or not. The question is, would you rather pay extra money to your utility company for energy-deficient windows? Or would you rather invest in your home’s future value while dramatically reducing your energy bills by replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows? The choice is yours.

Choosing An Energy Star Home

When you make the decision to build a new home, you want a builder who will provide the highest quality at an affordable price. Many Knoxville home builders can offer competitive prices but when you are investing in a new home, you want the best. Home ownership is a great investment, but it can also cost a lot of money over the years. You can save in future ownership costs if you choose a builder who can build an Energy Star qualified home.

What Is Energy Star?
Energy Star is an international, governmental standard for energy efficiency in consumer products. When you own an Energy Star home, you have a home that performs better than most homes in America. Your cost of upkeep and ownership is reduced, and your home will last longer without the need for repairs.

What Makes a Home Energy Star Qualified?
Energy Star homes have higher standards for insulation and water management. In an Energy Star home the walls, floors, and ceilings are all tightly sealed and properly insulated to reduce drafts and leaks. Proper insulation not only provides lower energy costs, but also better air quality. Energy Star homes will have protection from more pollen and dust then regular homes.
Energy Star homes also must have efficient water management systems. There must be a way to direct water off of the roof and away from the foundation. This keeps your roof in better condition for longer, and protects the foundation from water damage.

If you are building a new home, your quality of life and cost of ownership will be improved if you invest in and Energy Star home. Many Knoxville home builders can build you a decent home, but if you want the best, find a builder who can give you an Energy Star qualified home.

Central Heating The Way To Go For Energy Efficiency!

You have your home all snugly tight with the right amount of insulation in all the right places and you turn on the heat and the room heats up, but… the kitchen is still cold; you need a central heating system of some kind.

The central heating systems are some of the most efficient systems because they generate the heat and then pump it all over the house in the same proportions that you select. That way, the rooms that are being used gets the most heat and the rooms that are not being used gets quite a bit less or none at all depending on their usage.

The central heating system’s boiler or heating unit is contained in the garage or basement and the ducts are run under the house or through the ceiling to come out in each room and you can even add a humidifier or dehumidifier to the entire system to allow those important functions as well. That makes a very good investment in your home and may increase the sales price, if and when necessary, all that much more.

When you are looking for a central heating system for your home, you need to ask yourself some questions that will help the contractor position the correct unit in there that will be big enough but not too big. Those questions would be:

1.Are you in an area that is normally fairly cold or fairly hot?
2.Is your home on a cement pad or is there enough room under it to install the ducting that is needed?
3.Do you want floor vents or wall venting to inject the heating into your individual rooms?
4.Do you need to have ceiling vents?
5.Is your home insulated? Without insulation, you will need a larger unit right from the start.
6.What types of walls do you have?

These and several more will be asked of you by the contractor before they can offer any suggestions and the answers are very important. You are also going to want to check the energy efficiency ratings of the units that you settle on. There are the Energy Star ratings as well as the BTUs ratings and the SEER ratings. These are all very important as they can affect any tax advantages that you may accrue due to the Greening of your home in accordance with many of the local regulations around the world.

Since the most efficient space heater will only have about a 70 -75 % efficiency rating, you are wasting a lot of energy with the system you have, now, and that is just not going to be good enough when the electrical rates start to make the move up that they all are going to do in the next several years, so a move to a much more efficient system is just going to be the right move for you to make.

The energy efficient central heating system is the right move and the savings will not only be with you, this year, but also for years to come and the resale value will only improve. If you are not mad keen on ducted air, then an under floor water heating system would be another very good option to consider.

Best Ways To Reduce Electric Bill

If you think that your monthly electric bill becomes burdensome, it is time to cut it. We have some tips to reduce electric bill as well as you save the earth with energy efficiency.

You can start with plan, telling the whole family that you are programming energy efficiency to reduce the electric bill. It will be useless if you yourself save the electricity, but the rest of your family keep using the electronic devices as usual. Ask them that by lowering the use of the energy, especially electricity, they will get two benefits. We can reduce the bill as well as saving the earth.

Then you can start practicing your program with simple things, like switching off lights and electronic devices when they are not in use. Make sure that you unplug those devices from any electricity socket. It is because some of those electronic appliances, like cell phone and laptop battery charger, computers, stereos, televisions, etc. keep consuming electricity even when they are turned off.

Speaking on light, you can change light bulbs to fluorescent light bulbs for energy efficiency. Also, let the sunlight come into your rooms during the day instead of using electric ones for lighting.

Pay attention on electronic devices with great energy consumption, like water heater and air conditioner. For water heater, you can lower the temperature from 140 degrees Fahrenheit (normal temperature setting) to 120 degrees. If you look for a new water heater, try to get tank less one which heats the water only when it is needed. Dealing with hot water, we suggest that you take shorter shower with hot water.

Talking about household, we strongly advise that your air conditioner or heater be in good conditions. Any leakage or damage can give bad impact to electric bill and safety in your home. Dishwasher is also a device with high energy consumption. Thus we suggest that you not use the dry cycle. Let the dishes dry naturally by the air. Use washing machine only for lots of laundry.

Then you also had better use your stove more often and reduce the use of oven, if it is possible. Oven consumes more energy to heat. Last but not least, we recommend that you purchase electronic devices with Energy Star. Those devices have been approved as products with energy efficiency. Thus, finally we hope this article useful for you to reduce your monthly electric bill.