If you’re a homeowner in south Florida, you may well have considered replacing your windows and doors for storm-safe, impact rated versions. In addition to protecting your property, an added incentive is a reduced premium on your homeowners insurance.
Upgrading to high-efficiency products can do even more: Cut your cooling and heating bills! While we don’t typically think of windows as energy-efficiency items, when it comes to saving energy, they are actually are pretty complex.
Like major appliances they can be Energy Star-rated, which means they’re graded in terms of their solar heat gain coefficient, air leakage and light transmittance, among other criteria.
The most important factor in Florida is the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, which does what it says on the label- i.e. stops your home gaining heat from the sun. Look for a SHGC less than 0.27.
By minimizing heat gain and loss, the Department of Energy estimates that replacing single pane windows with Energy Star-rated, double-paned versions could save you over $300 a year in home energy costs.
Energy Star-rated doors include improved core materials and tighter seals.
Bear in mind that this is not a cheap project; be prepared to pay $500-800 per window, and door products can range in the thousands.
There’s a sweetener though, if you hurry. Until the end of 2011, you will be able to claim 10% of the product cost, up to $200 for windows and $500 for doors as a federal tax credit.