Just about any home renovations made today will be made with energy efficiency in mind. Whether you’re trying to save the earth, or just a little money, green is an increasingly practical option. The US Department of Energy estimates that heating and cooling account for more than half of the energy costs of the average home, and much of that energy is wasted on heat that seeps out of old fashioned windows and doors, or battling with the heat from the sun beating down on single-paned windows. Upgrading to modern windows and doors can save quite a bit of money on climate control, as well as improve the comfort in your home.
Older windows can cause a huge amount of wasted energy when it comes to heating and cooling your home. In fact, just the heat lost through the windows of an average home accounts for 10-25% of its heating costs.
New windows are designed with this problem in mind, and they have been improved in several ways. For one thing, they are double-paned, and each pane is coated with a UV protective film. This will reduce the strain on your air conditioner, especially in the hottest months of summer. In between the panes, a low-emissivity gas is injected, which will further insulate and slow down the transfer of heat.
Traditionally exterior doors have been made from wood, which is not a particularly good insulating material. This means that it allows hot and cold air to pass in and out of your house, regardless of how hard your air conditioner or heater is working.
If efficiency is your priority, consider a steel or fiberglass skin with a foam insulation core. These doors will slow down the rate of heat or cooling transfer between the exterior and interior, and some will be five times as insulating as its solid wood counterpart. Another advantage of these new doors is the magnetic strip that is often built in, which will serve as weather stripping and create a tighter seal against the outside.
If your home has a sliding glass door, you’ll want to keep in mind the same information used when shopping for energy efficient windows. If the door opens, you’ll be losing energy, but you can reduce the amount of waste by choosing the right product and ensuring that it is installed properly.
Frank Newhouse is a freelance writer who enjoys helping other homeowners save money and reduce their environmental impact. He currently writes for Air Conditioning Florida which helps people in the Orlando area stay cool by locating the air conditioning services they need.