Making your home more energy efficient is a trend that's unlikely to go away. First of all, you have the benefit of living more sustainably, which of course helps the environment. What's more, an energy-efficient home tends to be more budget-friendly as well. As Better Homes and Gardens points out, such homes can see up to a third of their energy bills reduced. Your windows are a good place to start in promoting energy efficiency in your home.
Replace the Windows
If you have old windows with drafty frames, your best bet is replacing the windows altogether. Wooden frames do offer the best insulative value, though they require upkeep so they don't become drafty. Vinyl and fiberglass both offer good insulation. Wood-clad window frames, in which vinyl or aluminum covers an insulative core of wood, off the benefits of both frame materials.
Your glass choice also impacts the energy efficiency of your replacement windows. Double-paned glass is pretty standard. Many windows also come with gas fills, which further insulate them. The key is to look for windows with low U-factor ratings. Finally, casement and awning style windows clamp closest to the frames, making them the least likely to leak.
Install Window Films
Many replacement windows also come with coatings or films that reflect heat. However, you don't have to replace your windows if they're otherwise sound – it's possible to have these films applied to existing windows. You can have them installed or do so yourself. Choose between insulating films, glare-reducing films or privacy films, depending on your needs.
Having films on your windows limits the amount of light and UV rays that enter your home. Not only does this increase energy efficiency, it helps protect your interior from sun damage. The films also reduce glare, which helps when watching television or looking at a computer screen. Depending on the film, they can also make your glass shatter-proof.
Hang Motorized Blinds
Another method for controlling light is hanging blinds. Minimize the amount of work you put into light control by selecting motorized blinds. Depending on the model, you can control how they work via a light switch, remote, or smartphone. You can even program them to open or close at certain times of day.
Apply Weather Stripping
Perhaps the most obvious way for making your windows energy efficient is applying weather stripping. Indeed, you should do this in conjunction with either replacing your windows or installing films. Compressible gasket stripping is the most effective style because it fills any possible cracks – imagine the type of stripping you see on car doors.
Reduce energy costs by making your windows more energy efficient with window tinting.