Choosing Energy-Efficient Windows: Pros and Cons

Choosing Energy-Efficient Windows: Pros and Cons

August 21, 2023
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
energy efficient aluminim window

If you're searching for San Diego window installation and aiming to enhance your home's energy efficiency, it's important to recognize the impact that windows can have on your energy consumption. While we often become aware of drafts, you don't need to wait until they're a significant issue before considering replacements. The right windows can effectively reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling your home.

Thanks to innovative advancements in technology, the composition of window glass can be optimized to bolster your home's energy efficiency.

However, these windows may not be suitable for everyone. In this post, we'll cover the pros and cons of energy-efficient windows so you can decide whether it's the right addition to your home.


What Are Energy-Efficient Windows?   

Energy-efficient windows play a crucial role in maintaining a consistent temperature within a home. They achieve this by creating a thermal barrier that effectively manages the entry of solar energy or its retention based on the specific climate. These windows prevent the loss of conditioned air (whether heated or cooled) from inside the home while also countering the impact of solar radiation using smart design.

As highlighted by, approximately 25% to 30% of residential heating and cooling energy consumption can be attributed to heat gain or loss.

In areas with strong sunlight, windows that aren't designed well can let too much heat into a room. This makes the air conditioner have to work for a longer time to cool down the room, which uses more energy.

Windows that don't keep the warmth inside properly let the warm air move to colder places, and this makes the air you've heated escape from your home. This means the heating system has to work more to keep the inside warm, using up more energy.

Energy-efficient windows address these issues in two ways. They either prevent excessive heat from entering or retain indoor warmth, effectively conserving energy and lowering utility expenses.

Pros of Energy-Efficient Windows    

Energy-efficient windows offer a range of benefits, making them a smart choice. They reduce your impact on the environment and provide insulation against outdoor noise. Here are the pros of energy-efficient windows.

Saves Money   

sunny window

Energy-efficient windows can save, on average, 12% on your energy bills. These windows are designed to minimize heat transfer between a home's interior and exterior, resulting in significant cost savings for homeowners. These windows employ advanced technologies such as multiple glazing layers, low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings, and insulating gas fills between panes.

By effectively reducing heat loss during colder months and heat gain during warmer months, energy-efficient windows help maintain a consistent indoor temperature, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling.

This directly translates to lower energy consumption, as heating and cooling typically account for a substantial portion of a household's utility bills. Energy-efficient windows also enhance insulation, thereby decreasing drafts and improving overall comfort within the home.

Reduces Outdoor Noise   

Do you live next to a busy street? Or maybe you live near an ongoing construction site or noisy neighbors? If any of these scenarios resonate with you, then you'll be interested to learn that energy-efficient windows offer an extra layer of defense against outdoor noise.

Energy-efficient windows reduce outdoor noise through improved insulation and design features that block or absorb sound waves. These windows are constructed with multiple layers of glass, often including laminated or thicker glass panes, which creates a barrier that sounds waves have difficulty penetrating. Additionally, the space between the glass layers can be filled with insulating gases that further dampen sound transmission.

Special coatings, such as low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings commonly used in energy-efficient windows, can also reduce noise by absorbing or reflecting sound waves. These coatings are designed primarily to control heat transfer, but their properties can also help in reducing noise transmission.

Furthermore, the tighter seals and better frame designs in energy-efficient windows prevent gaps and leaks that could otherwise allow noise to enter the home. This is because these windows are designed to be more airtight to improve energy efficiency, and this improved sealing aids in reducing noise infiltration.

All those disruptive noises from the lively street or clamorous neighbors are effectively kept outside. This means you can enjoy better sleep at night, leading to improved performance at work and an overall enhanced quality of life.

Top Quality   

Energy-efficient windows are crafted with high-quality materials that make them last longer and are easier to maintain. For instance, using durable frame materials like vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum ensures that the windows can withstand the elements and resist warping, cracking, or corrosion over time.

Also, they often incorporate features such as double or triple glazing with robust glass panes that enhance their structural integrity. These multiple layers of glass are efficient in terms of insulation and add strength to the windows, making them more resistant to impacts and less prone to breakage.

Their modern design also focuses on minimizing maintenance requirements. Many of these windows feature low-maintenance coatings that repel dirt and water, reducing the need for frequent cleaning. Also, the tight seals and improved construction of these windows minimize the potential for drafts, moisture intrusion, and the accumulation of debris, which further simplifies maintenance efforts.

Energy-efficient windows are designed to stand the test of time while offering convenience. Their durable materials, reinforced glass, and low-maintenance features collectively contribute to their ability to endure various weather conditions and reduce the hassle of upkeep, ensuring that homeowners can enjoy their benefits for years to come.

Prevents Mold Growth   

One major issue with single-pane windows is the substantial amount of condensation that accumulates on the inner side of the glass. This moisture can trickle down the glass surface and stream down the wall.


If this moisture isn't consistently wiped away (which can be quite a task, especially with many windows), it can be absorbed by window frames, walls, floors, and nearby furnishings. This absorption might lead to mold growth, damaging your home and belongings and creating an unhealthy living environment for you and your family.

Even if condensation doesn't directly cause mold, it can trigger a range of water-related problems. For instance, the paint on your walls might start to peel, the hardwood floor beneath the window can develop bubbles, warping, or other distortions, and water spots and stains can mar your furniture.

Neglecting these issues will only worsen them, potentially resulting in more extensive damage. Addressing them or replacing affected furniture can end up costing you a fortune.

Weather Protection   

When looking at the benefits of energy-efficient windows, weather protection is an essential part of the equation. Homeowners need insulation against various elements that can cause damage to their property.

These windows are built with durable materials that are resistant to harsh weather conditions, such as strong winds, heavy rains, and extreme temperatures.

Double or triple glazing, a common feature in energy-efficient windows, provides an additional layer of insulation that helps to regulate indoor temperature and reduce drafts. This design feature not only aids in maintaining a comfortable interior environment but also acts as a barrier against outside weather fluctuations.

More Comfortable   

Energy-efficient windows effortlessly and effectively manage your home's temperature, ensuring air stays inside and unwanted drafts remain out. Instead of relying on excessive heating or air conditioning, these windows maintain your home's comfort level effortlessly, and the best part is they do so without adding to your costs.

Upgrading to energy-efficient windows creates a more pleasant living space that doesn't become overly hot or cold. The general rule is that the more glass panes your window has, the better its energy efficiency. For instance, double-pane windows are an appealing choice for homeowners seeking energy savings. The space between these two glass layers provides superior insulation, keeping your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

This design offers extra insulation, effectively regulating the indoor temperature and minimizing drafts. This not only ensures a consistent and cozy indoor atmosphere but also functions as a barrier, preventing abrupt temperature changes caused by external weather conditions.

man in comfortable home with energy efficient windows


By swapping out single-pane windows with energy-efficient alternatives, you're significantly contributing to environmental conservation. Each window replacement saves approximately 50 to 300 gallons of gasoline, effectively reducing your carbon footprint.

Energy-efficient windows are designed to limit heat transfer, which means they keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer without relying as heavily on heating or air conditioning systems. This results in lower energy consumption, reducing the demand for electricity and fossil fuels used to power these systems. By using less energy, you contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the depletion of non-renewable resources.

If you want to make your home more eco-friendly, switching to these windows is a great first step.

Protect Your Valuables   

When you opt for energy-efficient windows equipped with low-emissivity coatings, you're not only making a choice that benefits your home's energy efficiency but also taking a proactive step to protect your valuable possessions. These specialized coatings act as a shield against the harmful effects of UV sunlight exposure. By effectively minimizing the transmission of ultraviolet rays through your windows, these coatings help prevent the gradual fading, discoloration, and deterioration of your flooring, carpets, and furniture.

UV sunlight, over time, can cause irreversible damage to these items, robbing them of their original vibrancy and quality. Energy-efficient windows with low-emissivity coatings act as a barrier, significantly reducing the extent of UV light that enters your living spaces. As a result, it prolongs the lifespan and the aesthetic appeal of your cherished belongings.

Tax Deduction   

Energy-efficient windows can provide tax deductions or credits through various government programs aimed at incentivizing energy-efficient upgrades in homes. One of the most common programs is the federal Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, which offers homeowners the opportunity to claim a credit on their federal income taxes for qualifying energy-efficient improvements, including windows.

The tax deduction for energy-efficient windows is equivalent to 30% of the window cost, capped at $600. This deduction is valid for both newly installed and replacement windows. The windows must adhere to specific energy efficiency criteria established by the Department of Energy, primarily based on the U-factor, which assesses a window's ability to retain heat.

This tax credit directly reduces your tax liability by the credited amount. For instance, if you spend $500 on energy-efficient windows, your credit will be $150 (30% of your expenditure). Energy Star-rated windows can claim up to a maximum of $600 in tax credits.

Filing Form 5695 alongside your tax return is necessary for claiming this window tax credit. To be eligible, homeowners must install energy-efficient windows certified by the ENERGY STAR program. These windows should be set up in the taxpayer's primary residence.

The purchased residential windows must be acquired between January 1st and December 30th of each year you claim the credit to qualify for the energy-efficient window tax deduction. Additionally, the windows must meet specified requirements, chiefly focusing on their energy efficiency.

These windows should be constructed using glass or plastic. Common examples encompass double-pane or triple-pane windows featuring E coatings, argon gas filling, and high-performance glazing materials like krypton gas or low-emissivity coatings.

Keep an eye out for Energy Star labels on manufacturer websites or packaging, indicating compliance with energy efficiency benchmarks laid out by the EPA. For example, Milgard windows are ENERGY STAR certified through a combination of design features, materials, and performance standards that meet the strict criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

When claiming a tax deduction, you must provide documentation of the windows' installation, including receipts, invoices, and certifications. Hiring a reputable installer like US Window and Door ensures you have the necessary documentation to support your claim.

Lots of Design Options   

energy saving windows

If you're considering upgrading to energy-efficient windows, there's no need to be concerned about finding the perfect match for your home. These windows are available in a diverse range of styles, colors, and frame materials, among other options.

Whether you prefer traditional double-hung windows, sleek casement windows, elegant bay or bow windows, or any other style, you'll find energy-efficient options to suit your taste. Some manufacturers even offer customizable hardware, grid patterns, and color choices, allowing you to create windows that seamlessly blend with your home's design while still enjoying the benefits of improved energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient windows provide a wealth of design options, ensuring you don't have to compromise aesthetics for energy savings. You can enhance your home's appearance while also enjoying the practical advantages of these innovative windows.

Boosts Home Value  

Energy-efficient windows can significantly enhance the value of your home through a combination of practical benefits and market appeal. By helping to regulate indoor temperatures, these windows reduce the need for excessive heating and cooling, resulting in lower energy bills. This financial advantage is an attractive feature for potential buyers and contributes to making your property more valuable.

In today's real estate market, the emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency is growing. Homes equipped with energy-efficient features, including windows, are sought after by environmentally conscious buyers. This heightened demand can translate into a higher resale value for your property, as these buyers are often willing to pay a premium for homes that align with their values.

Cons of Energy-Efficient Windows   

That said, switching from traditional single-pane windows to more energy-efficient ones can have some drawbacks. Here are some of the disadvantages to consider:

Relatively High Initial Cost   

Efficient double-pane and triple-pane window replacements cost more upfront than single-pane windows.

Energy-efficient windows are built using higher-quality materials that provide better insulation and performance. These materials, such as multiple panes of glass, low-emissivity coatings, and insulating gas fills, contribute to improved energy efficiency but come at a higher cost.

Proper installation of energy-efficient windows is crucial to their effectiveness. Ensuring proper installation often requires skilled professionals, which can incur additional labor costs compared to standard window installation.

From seals that break down to glass spacing that's not done right, windows manufactured with defects can erase the energy savings you expect and potentially give rise to additional issues, like condensation forming between the glass panes. Quality is the pivotal factor, which often translates to a higher cost.

Need To Replace All Windows   

Replacing all windows in your home is recommended to get the most out of your window upgrade.

Mixing energy-efficient windows with older, less efficient ones can create disparities in thermal performance. However, replacing all windows ensures a consistent level of energy efficiency throughout your home, maximizing the benefits of reduced energy consumption and improved comfort.

This allows you to fully capitalize on the potential energy cost reductions rather than having some areas of your home still contributing to energy loss.

Make the Switch to Energy-Efficient Windows with US Window and Door

The decision to opt for energy-efficient windows presents a balancing act between initial costs and long-term benefits. While the upfront investment might be higher than traditional windows, the advantages are far-reaching.

Energy-efficient windows contribute to substantial energy savings, reducing utility bills year after year. They enhance home comfort by maintaining consistent temperatures and minimizing drafts. Additionally, these windows bolster the value of your property, offering potential returns through increased resale value.

If you're ready to take the leap, you'll need to find the right San Diego Window installation experts. At US Window and Door, our team is certified and expertly trained to ensure your newly installed energy-star certified windows perform at peak efficiency. Call us today to speak with a window installation expert and receive a free in-home estimate.