Friday, October 23, 2020
Oct. 23, 2020

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Open the Curtains, Let in the Light

Check Out These Energy Incentives for Replacing Your Windows

Do you close your blinds all summer to beat the heat? Do you live behind closed curtains all winter to keep out the cold?

If it’s been more than 20 years since you had your windows replaced, then you may be like many people who spend more time looking at their window coverings than the view outside their windows. With the prolonged weeks of gray skies here in the Pacific Northwest, most agree that we need as much light as possible, and we should be able to enjoy as much of the sun as we can on those magical days it appears.

Besides just missing out on the view outdoors and natural light inside your home, you may also be missing out on significant savings in your energy costs. “Old windows are a primary reason for energy inefficiency in a home,” says Thea Cutsforth, sales manager at Henderson & Daughter. “Drafty windows don’t retain heat in the winter or cool air in the summer.”

Yet she says that some people aren’t choosing to replace their windows because they don’t know about all the improvements in energy efficient glass or about all the energy savings incentives available now.

“Many people put off replacing their old windows because they’re afraid of what it will cost,” says Cutsforth. “But energy efficiency is more affordable than ever before.”

She also says fear of the unknown is also factor. “People get nervous to have windows cut out of their home but when done correctly by a reputable contractor, there is nothing to fear.”

The team at Henderson & Daughter understands the idea of replacing windows can be daunting for any homeowner. Cutsforth says it is their goal motivate and educate people about the process of replacing windows and about all the options that are available now.

Introducing Low-E Glass

Low-E means low-emissivity, which is glass treated with coats of silver oxide so it can minimize infrared heat and ultraviolet rays while maximizing the amount of actual light passing through.

Thea Cutsforth explains the basic concept behind low-e glass is that its heat reflective properties keeps heat outside in summer and holds heat inside during winter.

It sounds so modern and high tech that people may assume it’s rare and probably expensive.

Although the concept of low-e glass may sound like it would come with a higher price tag compared to regular clear glass, this kind of window glass does not cost that much more. In fact, Cutsforth says it is the new normal and comes with many benefits.

“It’s amazing how affordable energy improvements have become,” says Cutsforth. “Twenty years ago most people had regular clear glass, and in order to get energy efficient glass there was solar bronze glass which is dark, brown tinted, doesn’t let in light, and is more expensive.”

“Low-E glass, the standard today, is about a quarter of the cost of solar bronze glass, more energy efficient, and lets in more natural light,” she explains.

It’s all about the U-Value

Here’s some more heavy science: U-value. Also known by a longer name, thermal transmittance, u-value is a common term in building energy efficiency ratings that refers to rate of heat transfer and insulation performance. The lower the u-value number, the higher the insulation properties and better the energy efficiency.

Cutsforth says that standard low-e glass with two coats can give a u-value of .35, but now there’s a new low-e option called “fourth surface” that performs even better.

“With regular clear glass the u-value is about .50,” Cutsforth says. “With fourth surface low-e, you spend 15% more than the standard low-e and you get a u-value of .25, which is much more energy efficient for not much more cost.”

“Fourth surface has been a real game changer in the industry,” she says. “It’s like sunglasses for your windows without reducing natural light. It also reduces the UV-transfer that causes fading of floors and furniture.”

How Energy Incentives Work:

“To me what’s so exciting is the market has become smarter and more affordable,” Cutsforth says. “We have all these resources that give financial incentives to homeowners to replace old windows. In 20 years I’ve never seen so many incentives as there are right now.

There are two county energy incentive programs, one through Clark PUD and another through Energy Trust of Oregon for SW Washington residents. Cutsforth says Henderson & Daughter is authorized to work with either of these local programs.

“Both programs are very easy, no complicated rebates,” she says. “We fill out the forms and submit the proof of purchase and do the work. Homeowners just receive a check. We make it easy.” Just how much of money can a homeowner expect to receive from using these local energy incentive programs? Cutsforth gives the example of one 6×4 window. “At $4 per square foot, the rebate will be $96 dollars,” she says. “For eight windows and a sliding door, the credit can be up to around $1,000.”

Homeowners aren’t required to replace all windows at once though. There’s no minimum. However, Cutsforth encourages homeowners to consider more than just one window at a time.

“You get the biggest bang for your buck to do five or more windows,” she says. “Or you can do your front windows one year and back windows next year.” She says homeowners should also take advantage of federal tax rebates which give a maximum credit of $200 for windows and $500 for doors with a total combined maximum credit of $500. Products must meet .27 energy star rating. Homeowners can combine the federal rebate with their local energy incentive.

Like with the county programs, Henderson & Daughter will also complete the rebate process for homeowners using the federal tax credit. Homeowners just have to submit the tax claim.

Besides savings through local and federal incentives, Henderson & Daughter and their suppliers offer special promotions and financing. Their primary supplier for windows is Milgard Windows & Doors. Milgard products are locally made and known for cutting edge energy efficiency.

“Our goal is to help people get more energy efficient windows,” Cutsforth says. “We’re well versed on all incentives and offer financing to make it easier.”

Henderson & Daughter has been providing door and window installation in the Clark County area since 1977. For a free consultation, call 360-573-7402 or visit hendersonanddaughter.com

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