With winter coming to northern Virginia, here’s something to keep in mind: Windows account for about 25 to 30 percent of heat loss and the cooling of your home. One of the most effective solutions for this heat loss is the installation of energy-saving replacement windows. If you weren’t already considering beautifying your home with new windows, you shouldn’t underestimate the amount of investment you can get back in energy savings.

When choosing among different types of windows, most homeowners focus on elements like the attractiveness, openness, or color and design thereof. These elements are important, but you can’t neglect other more technical aspects that will define the true quality and worth of the window – aspects like improved year-round energy efficiency.

Why Switch to Efficient Windows?

Here in Fredericksburg, when most homes are built, builders install low-cost windows that have only one pane. Double-glazed windows, which insulate twice as well as single-pane window glass, aren’t always found in new homes, let alone older ones. Improving the quality of insulation – measured as R value – decreases utility costs and reduces your carbon footprint and emissions of the house. The R-value of the glass is part of the overall rating of the energy efficiency of the window.

Think about this: The average family spends close to $3,000 a year on electricity bills, and just by upgrading from single-pane windows to double-pane, you could reduce your energy costs by half, each month. For example, by upgrading from a single glass pane, homeowners could diminish energy loss through the windows by:

  • 34% if replaced by aluminum frames and double pane
  • Up to 51% if replaced by PVC and double pane

Conserve more energy. Double-glazed windows have an air space between the panels that are filled with various substances, like argon or krypton, which insulates against the loss of precious heat in the winter and comfortable cool in the summer. By reducing heating and cooling loss by up to 50 percent, double glazed windows will help to conserve natural resources through reduced power consumption.

Minimize condensation. Condensation control is another important advantage of double pane windows. Windows that are energy efficient keep glass surfaces and window frames in the house warmer. This means more heat is maintained inside. When the windows and interior walls retain heat efficiently, condensation is less likely to form on interior windows. The glass will be less prone to “sweating,” and you’ll have less humidity to deal with.

Choosing for High Energy Performance

The typical materials chosen for window frames are wood, aluminum, and vinyl. But what to choose? Each of these materials has its own characteristics in terms of thermal and sound insulation.

Aluminum is a material that allows greater diversity of window shapes and sizes for a wide variety of specific designs. Key benefits that stand out are affordability and minimal maintenance. It does not corrode or deteriorate, and can be easily cleaned with water, soap, and a soft cloth.

Vinyl windows are also pretty affordable. Their main feature is that vinyl is electrically, acoustically, and thermally non-conductive; in other words, it’s a great insulator. It also has high impact strength and is exceptionally durable.

Wood windows are highly regarded because they tend to be both beautiful and durable, but they tend to cost more than their counterparts.

Just imagine if you could combine the versatility and malleability of aluminum, the insulation and easy care of vinyl, and the beauty and durability of wood in a single window. As a matter of fact, you can. Renewal by Andersen replacement windows made of Fibrex® manage to combine the best qualities of the other window materials into one great design. Best of all, these energy-efficient windows meet or exceed EnergyStar® standards.

Winter will be here soon, and so will high heating bills. If you’ve been considering talking to a local Fredericksburg installer about energy-saving replacement windows, now is the perfect time.