Energy-efficiency will always be a concern as homeowners try to find ways to reduce their monthly costs while remaining comfortable. Your windows and window treatments are a worthwhile investment to improve your energy-efficiency and utility costs.
Improved Fit and Quality
Sometimes, simply replacing your windows is enough to improve energy-efficiency, even without advances in window technology. Common reasons your windows are the culprit of energy loss are they are worn, no longer fit properly, or made from poor-quality materials. Some inexpensive window materials allow for easy temperature transfer, which causes you to lose heating or cooling to the outside environment. Old windows or those that no longer fit properly simply allow the outside temperature inside, making it harder to heat or cool your home. If your goal is improving energy-efficiency, window replacement may be enough to make a difference.
If you have concerns about rooms in your home that become overheated, especially if you have large windows that receive direct sunlight, installing shielding can help. Shading your window with more than blinds or curtains can be a better option because it allows you to enjoy natural light with less heating from the sun. Some examples of shielding you may want are window awnings, especially retractable options. During the warmer months, the awning reduces the amount of direct sunlight your window receives so you can keep the blinds or curtains open without negating the effects of your air conditioner. When the weather turns cooler, you may want to retract the awning to benefit from more direct sunlight and reduce your need to use a heater in the same room.
Improved Window Technology
The energy-efficiency of your window is also dependent on the materials used in construction. Selecting windows with more advanced features can make your home more comfortable and can have a positive effect on your utility bills. Some windows are manufactured with a "low-e" coating so they reduce energy loss. There is variability in the amount of solar energy gained from the use of these coatings, so you can select the coating that is best for your environment. For example, if you live in an environment with harsher winters, you will want a coating with increased solar gain to help heat your home. Conversely, homes in environments where the warmer months are more of a concern will want low solar gain to reduce heat transfer from the window.
Your windows and window treatments can drastically reduce issues with ineffective heating and cooling inside your home. An upfront investment in your windows is a long-term investment in your utility costs and comfort.