When considering home energy upgrades, many homeowners look at two projects: insulation or windows. There are many conflicting messages about which is the best investment for your energy dollar. The more visible upgrade option, windows come to mind as a top energy upgrade priority.
Before you open your checkbook, we invite you to read below to learn more so you can make the best choice for your home.
When considering the total square footage of your home’s shell (i.e. the walls, floor, and roof), windows comprise a small portion of it. Your house will benefit from upgrading your home’s attic insulation (and even exterior wall insulation) rather than investing in windows.
Air inside a home naturally flows from ground to sky. A home loses 70% of energy through the attic and roof – far more than is lost through windows or doors. Upgrading attic insulation keeps the air you’ve paid to heat in your home. AND don’t forget about air sealing! Sealing air leaks in an attic further prevents conditioned air from seeping out around construction penetration points found around ducts, attics, and more.
R-value is a measure of the amount of heat flow a certain product resists. The higher the R-value, the better it reduces heat flow (a key component of energy efficiency). The R-value of windows can vary based on the number of panes, air space between panes, etc. Double pane windows have an R-value of 1.5 to 2. Upgrading attic insulation to the current code results in an R-38. Combine this with the natural heat flow of the home, and it’s easy to see how a fresh blanket of insulation is a great investment.
When looking at the bottom line, the choice is clear. According to Home Advisor, the average cost to upgrade windows in the Georgetown area is $4,732. The same report shows the average cost to upgrade insulation in the Georgetown area is $1,355.