There’s a Window Problem with the affordable Zero Energy Home…
- Windows lose a lot of heat, therefore a good energy renovation will address the windows
- Replacing the windows is very expensive and sometimes sacrifices the good looks of classy wood trim
- Non-replacement options are also expensive; sometimes as expensive as new windows
- New windows still lose a lot of heat
Here’s an answer to the problem, if not a complete or entirely cost effective one. One of my favorite non-replacement options is on sale – 25% off – in April. Advanced Energy Panels (AEP) is headquartered in upstate New York. The product is an interior storm window with two layers of plastic film glazing. The aluminum frame fits inside the window jam, from the inside, and seals with weatherstripping. Two layers of plastic film makes an insulating pocket of air, and the space between the primary window and the storm window is another pocket of air.
There are a couple of disadvantages to the interior storm approach. One, it does nothing to protect the primary window from the weather, and if you have old, beautiful windows that may be a priority. Two, you have to install, remove and store the storms – a big deal if you don’t have a basement or garage. And, three, you can’t open the windows without removing the storms: only an issue in the winter.
But the advantages: many! Interior storms, especially ones that seal well, do a great job controlling window condensation, and for many windows that is a big help in preserving the window and trim. The multiple layers of glazing really do a lot to improve the heat-retention of the windows, maybe even more than the most expensive new window on the market. And, finally, at 25% off, the AEP is probably the least expensive way to get to those higher levels of performance.
One caution about the AEP; there’s a little bit of carpentry involved in fitting your window opening for the storm panel. There may be a compromise to the aesthetics, but for most windows it can probably be done with a very small change, if any.
As with so much in the Zero Energy world, the time is now! If you have good-functioning windows this is probably the best way to make your windows Zero Energy ready. 25% is a discount not to be passed up.