Windows & Insulation
Our window and insulation rebates concluded on April 30, 2020. While rebates are no longer available, there’s still great benefit in improving your home’s energy performance through window and insulation upgrades!
Windows typically account for a significant portion of your home’s exterior wall area and are a critical point of heat loss or gain in your home. Upgrading your windows to high-performance, energy-efficient models will improve the comfort of your home, as well as lower your energy bills. Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows can reduce an average home’s energy bill by 12% according to the US Department of Energy. Learn more about the benefits of installing ENERGY STAR windows and doors.
Insulation is an extremely effective way to reduce your heating costs and improve the comfort of your home. Insulation works by slowing the loss of heat from your home by providing a layer between your house and the outside air. This layer is measured by R-values, which is a measure of heat resistance. The higher the R-value, the better. The benefit of adding insulation depends on how much insulation the different areas of your home currently have, and how much you add. Air-sealing a home prior to adding insulation provides significant added benefit. To learn more about the process and benefits of air sealing and insulating your home, check out this information developed by the ENERGY STAR program.
Start by assessing your home’s current energy use
Understanding your home’s current conditions with respect to energy use, durability and health is the first step in creating a systematic plan for cost-effective improvements. A basic energy assessment can be completed by a homeowner, while in-depth energy audits involve specialized equipment and trained professionals. Explore our DIY Home Energy Audit resource to learn more about both types of energy assessments. The condition of a home’s “thermal envelope” (comprised of the walls, roof, floor/basement and all windows and doors) is a key factor in a home’s energy use. An energy audit assesses these elements and others, identifying where your home stands to gain the most from targeted improvements.
Suggestions for Window Upgrades
- Storm windows. If your existing single-pane windows are in good shape and/or provide your home with architectural interest you’re reluctant to lose, consider installing storm windows. Good-quality storm windows can increase the performance of a single-pane wood window to nearly that of standard double-pane windows. ENERGY STAR storm windows feature high-tech glass coatings that help keep your home more comfortable during the heating season and reduce unwanted summer heat gain. Tight-fitting storm windows also dramatically reduce air leakage and noise transmission—additional comfort-enhancing benefits. Storm windows come in many styles and can be installed on the interior or exterior of your existing windows. Learn more about storm windows from ENERGY STAR.
- Replacement windows. If your existing windows are in poor condition, replacement windows are likely your best option. Look for the ENERGY STAR designation when choosing replacement window. New windows employ a series of technological advancements, including gases and spacers between the panes that limit heat transfer, glass coatings that selectively reflect heat and limit passage of particular light wavelengths, high-performance seals that maintain a long-lasting vacuum between the panes, and airtight frames and gaskets. The highest-performing windows employ a third pane of glazing, including ultra-thin glass options that keep the window unit relatively lightweight. Learn more about the ongoing advancements in window technologies by visiting the Efficient Windows Collaborative, and find ENERGY STAR certified windows here.
Suggestions for Insulation Upgrades
- Address air leakage along with insulation levels. Insulation is important, but drafty homes can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of even the best insulation installation. Air sealing can be done by an ambitious do-it-yourselfer, but home performance contractors or properly trained insulation contractors can better identify the major air leaks in a home using thermographic cameras and blower door tests.
- Select the best solution for your needs. Insulation materials come in many forms, and different applications (walls, floors, basements and attics) can call for different materials and installation approaches. Review our DIY Home Energy Audit guide for an overview of insulation options, and ENERGY STAR’s DIY Guide to Air Sealing and Insulating is a great resource for understanding air sealing and insulating process.
Do you qualify for FREE weatherization for your home?
Income-eligible customers may qualify for free weatherization through the City of Seattle’s HomeWise Program.