Which are the Best Energy-Efficient Replacement Windows for Your Buck?

From on August 02, 2011 in Window Replacement


Energy-efficient replacement windows have a ton of benefits. Not only do they look better than old, outdated ones, but they insulate against extreme outside temperatures and moisture, save you major cash on utility costs (15-20% annually, sometimes more), and raise your home’s resale value at the same time.

To get a sense of the best replacement windows for your home, you’ll need to answer these questions:

  1. Can new windows (glass panes, jambs, and trim) be retrofitted around the current frame, or will the frame have to be replaced, too?
  2. Do the window sashes need to be replaced?
  3. While it’s unlikely, does only the frame need upgrading?

Not sure? A licensed window installer will often give you free advice and estimates about the work that needs to be done.

To get pricing on a window replacement in your area, click here.

We always recommend comparing multiple quotes for a successful project.

Some of the Best Energy-Efficient Window Solutions

Other factors include which materials to use, what type of window, and which optional features to consider. Also, it’s highly advisable to go with either wood, vinyl, or fiberglass window frames. Steer clear of aluminum ones, as they’re notoriously bad insulators.

While it depends, to a degree, on your local climate when deciding the top energy-efficient windows, there are many givens. The best bang-for-your buck windows typically come:

  • Rated Low E or Low E2 and have two to three panes of glass
  • With high-grade edge spacers (non-aluminum) and use little or no inferior materials such as foam, aluminum, or rubber.
  • Rated Energy Star and bear the sticker.
  • With a U-Factor (insulation value) of 0.30 or lower and air leakage (AL) of 0.28 or less.

See the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) spec sheet for more information on window efficiency.


Top Rated Energy-Efficient Manufacturers

Here are the best national leaders in the field, those with the highest overall customer satisfaction ratings (via Consumer Reports):

  • Andersen Windows: A global leader in terms of innovation, value and trustworthiness, Andersen is also one of the largest manufacturers, producing some 6 million windows and doors annually.
  • Milgard: Another highly rated window manufacturer, Milgard is one of the largest manufacturers to not only distribute replacement windows, but actually manufacture them in their entirety (unlike many other companies).

In sum, the best windows are those that resist extreme temperatures and have been expertly installed, because if not, even the most advanced windows can be useless in insulating your home.

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Photos via Houzz