How to Improve Energy Efficiency in Windows

Inefficient window designs and poor installation/implementation can add significantly to the energy consumption of a typical building – ultimately leading to higher energy bills. On the other hand, there are big gains to be made by improving the energy efficiency of the windows.

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This is easiest to do in the planning stages of a new building. However, there are many things you can do to improve the efficiency of existing buildings as well. Here are the best ones:


Storm Windows

A storm window is an additional window that goes on the interior or exterior of your primary window typically with two or three screws on each side. The installation is quite simple.

This window helps with both energy savings and noise control. However, storm windows do not add particularly much to the insulation of a typical single-glazed window that is installed properly. On the other hand, they do help significantly when it comes to reducing airflow in and out of a building, which do result in higher energy efficiency.

Storm windows come in models for most primary windows on the market.  Prices range from cheap inexpensive storm windows composed of cheap plastic, and all the way up to triple-track glass units for long-term use.


Air Sealing Techniques – Weatherstripping and Caulking

These are simple and straightforward measures that mainly will stop unnecessary air (and heat) from leaking in and out of your windows.

It’s a good idea to look into getting professional help to determine where air is leaking and if air-sealing techniques are beneficial in the first place.  I recommend asking for a blower door test, which will reveal other types of leaks as well.

Weatherstripping refers to the technique that is used stop leaks around moveable joints in windows and doors.

Caulking is ideal to seal air leaks for cracks and gaps around frames of windows and doors.

Caulking windows to seal air leaks

The final category we are going to talk about is also the most overlooked. Many people are simple not aware of that window treatments can be beneficial to help energy conservation. Look into replacing window blinds, shades, drapes or other treatments and coverings that not only look stylish, but also adds to the overall energy efficiency of your windows and house.

They are not particularly helpful in stopping air leakage, but are good at absorbing heat from incoming sunlight – which will reduce your heating costs.


Keep in mind that if your windows are starting to get old, replacing them with new more efficient ones might be the best solution. There is only so much you can do to your old ones. After a certain amount of time (depending on how high efficiency rates you are able to get by upgrading or replacing, and the cost of each approach) new windows will usually pay for themselves.

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