Should I replace my windows to improve energy efficiency?

March 30, 2023

According to the Department of Energy, windows are responsible for 25%-30% of heating and cooling energy use. Energy efficiency is a concern for rental property owners. With the growing popularity of flexible coliving spaces, many rental property investors will pay for utilities. This makes the housing affordable for the members, while the income from more bedrooms covers the cost of paying for utilities. You can use this calculator to see how much more your rental property could earn as a coliving property. Improving the energy efficiency of your property is a way to improve your ROI as a long-term rental host.

Advantages of window replacement

There are many advantages to window replacement for rental properties. Here are five to consider.

  1. Energy efficiency –  ENERGY STAR estimates between $101 – $583 savings a year when replacing single-pane windows.
  2. Noise reduction – New windows often have better soundproofing and will increase the comfort of the space.
  3. Safety – New windows have stronger glass and more secure locking mechanisms providing better security.
  4. Visual appeal – The updated windows can provide better aesthetics inside and outside the property.
  5. Maintenance – New windows do not require the maintenance or repairs that old windows need to make them energy-efficient.

Energy savings with new windows

ENERGY STAR-rated windows can provide significant energy saving over older windows. Depending on the climate your property is in will affect the windows you choose. Choose windows that reduce summer heat gain in southern states or lower heat loss during the winter in northern areas. Energy savings will vary depending on the condition of existing windows. An energy assessment can help determine if your windows need to be replaced or if alternative options are possible.

Alternatives to window replacement

Before you decide to replace your windows, you can assess your existing windows. If your windows are in decent condition, there are alternatives to improve their efficiency. 

Seal your existing windows

Sealing air leaks have the potential to provide 10% to 20% energy savings per year, according to the Department of Energy. Check windows for proper caulking and weatherstripping. Additional areas to check for air leaks are doors, ductwork, electrical boxes, plumbing, and vents.

Window films reduce energy bills

Treatments can be applied to windows to lower solar heat gain. These treatments are best for southern climates that require air conditioning for much of the year. These treatments block the sun’s heat in the winter and are generally not used in northern climates. Low-e window treatments would be an option for colder climates and can lower heat losses.

Low-e storm window options

Storm windows are a cheaper option to window replacement. Adding storm windows have similar energy savings to a window replacement. Modern low-e storm windows have a coating that reduces heat transmission. This keeps the house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. These Low-e windows reflect radiant heat 35% better than clear glass.

DIY Energy Assessment

A DIY energy audit is possible to find air leaks in the property. A visual inspection can be made to check for visible gaps along the exterior walls. Additionally, a DIY building pressure test can be performed. This involves shutting all the doors and windows in the house. Next, turn on all exhaust fans inside the house. Finally, pass an incense stick along windows, doors, and other possible air leak areas. There is a draft that needs to be fixed where the smoke wavers.

Professional Energy Audit

Your local energy utility company may have recommendations for local energy auditors. The company should provide a calibrated blower door test and thermographic inspection. The first method involves installing a fan in an exterior door that blows the air out of the house lowering the air pressure. The energy auditor will then detect air leaks in your home. An infrared camera will also reveal temperature differences in the home that need to be corrected.

Provide cozy coliving with energy savings

These window replacements or improvements will provide energy savings. This is an easy way to improve your profits if you pay for your rental utilities. Additionally, your coliving rental will be made more comfortable. Read about some of the success stories hosts have had with PadSplit. Then learn how to transform your single-family rental into a coliving space that will increase your ROI with PadSplit.

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