Can new storm windows save you money?

by Lara Bonn, Strategic Planning Manager

Old, drafty windows are a common frustration among Vermonters. They are cold in the winter and let heat into your home in the summer. Leaky windows make it very difficult to control the temperature in your home to keep it comfortable and they can also have a negative impact on your energy bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, leaky windows can account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill by letting heat out.

Many homeowners assume that their only recourse for drafty, inefficient windows is to replace them with expensive, brand new windows. But a full window replacement can be very pricey, and it usually isn’t the most cost-effective option for reducing energy bills. Some low-cost and relatively easy ways to reduce air leakage in your home include caulking and weather stripping around your windows. A more effective option that costs a fraction of the cost of a full window replacement is to add storm windows to your existing windows.

The Low-E option

Low emissivity (Low-E) storm windows are a smart choice for upgrading your existing inefficient windows. They reduce the flow of outside air into your home, and the airspace between the storm windows and your existing windows acts as an added insulation layer. Low-E storm windows are coated with an ultra-thin, virtually invisible layer of metal that reflects heat back to its source. So on a cold winter day the storm windows reflect the heat from your home’s heating system back into the house, helping to keep it warmer and reduce your energy costs. The coating on Low-E storm windows has little impact on lighting levels and it helps to reduce ultraviolet ray damage that can cause your window treatments, floors, or furniture to fade.

illustration of Low-E windows

Low-E storm windows are easy to install and for a limited time cost as little as $39 per window, whereas an ENERGY STAR® rated full window replacement starts at about $120 per window, plus professional installation. Last month Efficiency Vermont launched a pilot promotion offering instant savings on qualifying Low-E storm windows purchased at Home Depot stores in Bennington, Rutland, and Williston and at Lowe’s stores in Essex and South Burlington. With this instant discount many Low-E storm windows are reduced to the same price as comparable storm windows containing less efficient standard, uncoated glass. This offer is valid while supplies last and there is a limit of 15 Low-E storm windows per Vermont electric utility account.

Once this pilot promotion has concluded we will evaluate how effective it was and we will consider offering a longer term discount on Low-E storm windows with additional retail partners, so stay tuned for updates. Do you have window woes? Have you considered Low-E storm windows? Let us know in the comments below!

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