New win­dows make good en­ergy sense

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - Satur­day, Au­gust 18, 2012 CA­ROLE FELD­MAN

Are your win­dows leak­ing air? Are they get­ting more dif­fi­cult to open? Is the wood frame rot­ting?

Home­own­ers choose to re­place their win­dows for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, from en­ergy ef­fi­ciency to es­thet­ics.

“It might be the seals have failed or the wood has rot­ted,” said Kerry Haglund, se­nior re­search fel­low at the Cen­ter for Sus­tain­able Build­ing Re­search at the Univer­sity of Min­nesota.

Or home­own­ers might be look­ing to re­place leaky win­dows to keep heat or air con­di­tion­ing in, or they might want added UV pro­tec­tion for fur­ni­ture.

New win­dows can be costly and you won’t make up the cost in en­ergy sav­ings or home re­sale,” said Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens se­nior ed­i­tor Kit Selzer.

Still, new en­ergy-ef­fi­cient win­dows can make your home more at­trac­tive and com­fort­able. Haglund rec­om­mends choos­ing the most en­ergy-ef­fi­cient win­dow you can.

The cost for a new win­dow can range from hun­dreds of dol­lars to $1,000 or more, de­pend­ing on the frame, style — dou­ble-hung or case­ment, for ex­am­ple — and whether you choose sin­gle, dou­ble or triple pane glass. Dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments can add to the price.

A case­ment win­dow might be a good op­tion in windy ar­eas, said Gary Pem­ber, vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing for Si­mon­ton Win­dows. “As the wind in­creases, they be­come more ef­fi­cient be­cause of the way they seal,” he said.

A dou­ble-hung that opens only from the top might be a good choice for in­creased se­cu­rity, he said.

Home­own­ers plan­ning to stay in their homes as they age might want to con­sider a non-lift win­dow.

Frames come in wood, vinyl, alu­minum and other ma­te­ri­als. The more tra­di­tional wood frame re­quires reg­u­lar paint­ing.

“If you’re want­ing some­thing main­te­nance-free, you can’t get any­thing bet­ter than vinyl,” Pem­ber said. There are many op­tions now for vinyl frames, in­clud­ing a va­ri­ety of colours. You can also get a wood in­te­rior and a vinyl ex­te­rior.

Alu­minum frames are more con­tem­po­rary but also more ex­pen­sive.

While Haglund urges home­own­ers not to scrimp on en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, she said there are other ways to save money short of full win­dow re­place­ment.

A new win­dow can be fit­ted into ex­ist­ing frames that are in good con­di­tion, she said. Or, you can re­place just the sash — the part of the win­dow that con­tains the glass — but only if the frame is in good con­di­tion.

If you de­cide not to in­vest in new win­dows, you can in­crease the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of your ex­ist­ing ones, for in­stance with storm win­dows, Selzer said.

Seal leaks around the frame with caulk­ing or weath­er­strip­ping.

In­su­lat­ing draperies and win­dow treat­ments can help. “They’re so much more tai­lored and thin­ner than they used to be,” she said. “Old in­su­lat­ing treat­ments were very bulky, like putting up blan­kets. Now, they’re cer­tainly sleek and more ef­fec­tive.

Theresa Cle­ment/ The As­so­ci­ated Press

En­ergy-ef­fi­cient win­dows will save on en­ergy costs, pro­tect from heat and cold and boost curb ap­peal.

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