Energy

Efficient

Windows,

Doors and

Skylights

Energy Efficient Windows

Window Films

Window Awnings/Overhangs

Storm Doors

Attic Doors

Door Sweeps

Tubular Skylights

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WINDOWS,andSKYLIGHTS

DOORS

Many of us take our windows, doors, and skylights for granted until one day we notice

a draft in the room or we have to turn on the lights during the daytime. Then we ask: who’s in control here, the house or us?

Windows,doors,andskylightsthatarepoorlyconstructed or have deteriorating frames are energy wasters. They allow too much heat to escape the house in the winter and allow too much heat to enter in the summer. Your utility bills increase by as much as 15%, while house comfort decreases. In fact, there is a natural tendency to fiddle with the thermostat more often in an attempt to compensate for drafts, and that can drive energy costs even higher by reducing the efficient operation of the HVAC system. In addition, homeowners do not always make good use of their windows to control light and ventilation in a way that reduces energy costs and increases internal comfort.

Fortunately, you have several options that include replacing windows and doors, adding skylights, installing window film, sealing leaks, and much more. The extent of your home improvements will depend on your budget, but in this section there are ideas to fit any size home or budget. As you read through the eco-friendly products and ideas available today, like the operable or smart windows, make a note about the ones that best suit your particular situation. While installing all new windows may be expensive, adding storm doors is not.

Energy-

Efficient

Windows

What is it?

Back when energy was plentiful and cheap, builders weren’t concerned about using energy-efficient windows. They knew that homeowners would simply cover windows with drapes to help keep drafts out. But oil shortages, rising energy prices, and emerging eco- awareness required engineers to develop new energy- efficient materials and designs. Multiple panes of glass—double or triple— have been incorporated into modern window design. Additionally, window frames have been engineered to be more energy-efficient and minimize air penetration.

The insulation power of window glass is described numerically with a “U-factor.” The lower the U-factor, the more insulation the window provides. A good number for double pane windows is 0.30, and some triple-paned windows rate as low as 0.15.

Replacing old-style windows can reduce energy costs by as much as 15%. However, if replacement is not an option, even old-fashioned wood-frame single-pane windows can benefit from additional weather-stripping and proper glazing.

Beyond the monetary savings enjoyed by installing new, energy-efficient windows, homeowners will note being more comfortable in their homes. During cold weather, that slight chill in the air in the house will be gone, and during the summer, sounds and smells from outside will no longer be noticeable.

Why do it?

Environmental Qualities

Reduces energy consumption

Reduces power plant greenhouse gas emissions

Reduces the home’s carbon footprint

Performs better and reduces the use of natural resources like aluminum and wood

Pros:

Replacing inefficient windows with Energy Star-rated windows lowers household energy bills by 7%–15%.

Choosing specific high or low solar-gain glazing, based on the window orientation, can lower air conditioning and heating loads.

Cons:

Upgrading windows can be expensive.

Installation can be laborious and might require a skilled craftsman.

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Removing old windows might uncover structural damage previously unaccounted for (such as rotted wood), raising costs for materials and fees.

Maintenance:

Wooden windows need regular, scheduled maintenance consisting of painting and re-glazing to prevent rotting and reduce air penetration. Fiberglass or aluminum windows are durable and require less maintenance.

Timeline:

Removing trim from an existing window, then installing a new one, as well as replacing the trim and painting or sealing, can take as little as two hours if no additional repairs are needed. If the exterior has a masonry veneer, this process is more complicated and should only be tackled by a very knowledgeable homeowner or professional contractor. It could take several days to remove masonry properly, replace the window, and then reinstall masonry.

Steps:

Cost Estimator:

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This task requires two people, a pre-ordered window pane that is correctly sized to fit the space, the necessary tools, and personal protection equipment.

1.Assess proper staging and location of window. Will you need a platform or scaffolding? Cover and protect your home from debris and dust.

2.Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Determine whether or not the existing window sill needs to be replaced. If it does, remove the sill while window is out; cut a new one to fit and install it.

3.Place the new window in the same position as the former window. Insert wood shims below the sill or frame to level and fit the window against the header.

4.Open the casements and fasten the window.

Quick Tips:

✓✓Avoid using vinyl frames and sash; the manufacturing of PVC has adverse environmental effects.

✓✓Be aware that aluminum windows are conductive to heat and electricity and do not insulate as well.

✓✓If storm windows or replacement windows are not in the budget right now, purchase and install a shrink film or polyethylene sheet, which can be found in window insulation kits from home improvement centers or hardware stores.

Estimated cost varies by window size and the number of windows needed. Some good windows are available for as little as $125 and range upward to several hundred depending on the manufacturer and style. Some cities or utility companies offer rebates, and there is an existing federal tax credit to help alleviate cost. Cheaper alternative measures can also be taken to repair or modify existing windows.

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Window

Films

What is it?

Window films are a temporary and inexpensive alternative to installing new energy-efficient windows. All-season window films are a good choice for cold climates, since they reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.

When selecting a window film, look for a low U-factor rating, a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), and a high Visible Transmittance. The cost of covering windows with film will almost certainly be recovered by energy bill savings within the first year. And in addition to saving money, the home is more comfortable in every season.

Why do it?

Environmental Qualities

Eliminate or delay the replacement of windows and saves on landfill waste

Reduces energy consumption and lowers greenhouse gas emissions

Pros:

No major changes to the home, such as removing a window

Instant reduction in cooling and heating energy, and quicker pay back

Easy installation, no professional required

Cons:

This is a temporary solution, based on life-expectancy of the film

Solar heat gain during winter is reduced by UV blockers in film

Window film can be reflective, and the slightest tint decreases visibility

Maintenance:

Once the film is fully cured (which might take up to 30 days), it can be cleaned. A simple solution of water and a small amount of soap or vinegar can be used to clean the windows. A clean soft cloth for wiping them dry is preferred.

Timeline:

Approximately 1 hour per window, depending on size.

Steps:

Materials and tools required: window cleaner, measuring tape, utility knife, straightedge, liquid soap, spray bottle, and paper towels. A helper, while not required, will make this task much easier.

1.Clean and dry window pane(s) thoroughly.

2.Measure the window pane(s).

3.Trim the film to fit.

4.Wet the window pane(s).

5.Apply the film.

6.Spray the film.

7.Squeegee the film.

Cost Estimator:

Popular window film brands available at national hardware stores sell for about $150–200 for a 3x100 ft. roll. The tools needed to apply the window film are generally inexpensive and available in most homes.

Quick Tips:

Inspect windows for any damage and repair or replace damaged components.

Scraping, caulking, and repainting can help restore and seal air leaks around window.

Look for a window film certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).

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Window

Overhang/

Awnings

What is it?

Window overhangs or awnings are shading devices positioned over building fenestrations.These coverings are designed to be aesthetically pleasing while reducing solar heat gain and should be extended far enough over the door or window to provide shade throughout the summer/fall solar path. Window awnings can be made of various textile materials stretched over metal frames, or they can be made of a more solid framework and covered with a variety of traditional roofing materials, such as clay tile, shingles, or metal.

Although the premise behind this architectural feature is simple, homeowners should consider window orientation and climate before installing awnings. Covering south- or west-facing windows can reduce cooling energy costs during peak electricity consumption months. For cold climate homes, allowing light to enter during fall and winter for solar heat gain reduces energy usage to heat the home. This can be solved by using removable, modular, or electronically controlled window overhangs or awnings.

Why do it?

Environmental Qualities

Reduces direct solar heat gain through windows

Reduces energy consumption and lowers utility bills

Reduces the impact of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions

Pros:

Considered aesthetically pleasing and can add curb appeal

Energy savings and increased indoor comfort due to minimal light penetration and heat gain during peak sunshine hours

Multiple styles and material options are available, and books and plans can be found available for sale or free on DIY sites

Cons:

Materials can be expensive depending on the type of overhang or awning selected.

Materials may not be resistance to sun damage.

Overhangs and awnings may require professional assistance

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for design, manufacture, or installation, which may increase the cost.

Maintenance:

Awnings or window overhangs should be inspected at least once per year for sun and wind damage, and repairs made if any damage is noted.

Timeline:

If a pre-manufactured overhang or awning is selected, installation can be as quick as 1 hour per window. Homemade overhangs or awnings will take longer, however, depending on the scope of project and homeowner’s level of expertise..

Steps:

1.Fabric awnings can add a personal touch and look custom- made.

2.Look around the neighborhood or in custom shops for design ideas.

3.Buy or find a free awning plan suitable for the home’s

1.architecture.

2.Invest in quality materials for construction to maximize structural integrity and longevity.

3.A large awning coming from the roof line should be addressed by a professional for continuity of design and structural integrity.

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Cost Estimator:

Up-front cost will depend on the type of materials and the design style. A pre-manufactured overhang might cost up to $150–$300 to cover a 48-inch window—more if installed by a professional. There are many available DIY overhang projects that may be found online or in project books that can help reduce costs.

Quick Tips:

✓✓Avoid using PVC pipes for awning frames, as PVC manufacturing has adverse environmental effects.

✓✓You can use the Sustainable By Design calculator to perform shading calculations.

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Storm

Doors

What is it?

Storm doors are installed inside the opening of entry doors and serve several purposes, including providing additional insulation and security. When installed correctly, they can help cut down drafts from exterior doors. They are manufactured as either half glass or all glass, in single or double pane. Many come with a screen which can be exposed either by removing a half pane of glass or sliding it up or down. The door frames are manufactured from a variety of materials, such as aluminum, steel, fiberglass, wood, or a composite material, and have foam insulation or solid inner cores.

Why do it?

Environmental Qualities

Reduces energy consumption by creating an additional weather barrier or “dead air” space at entranceways and by reducing air penetration

Improves indoor air quality by allowing natural ventilation through screen

Pros:

Provides protection from weathering of more expensive entry doors

Controls natural ventilation by utilizing a screen

Decreases air loss around doors that might have faulty seals

Provides additional security

Reduces energy bills (though minimally)

Reduces exterior noise penetration into home

Cons:

Hides entrance door from full view, negatively impacting curb appeal

If full sun reaches door for more than a few hours per day, the exterior door behind it can still be damaged

Maintenance:

Must keep hinges oiled and tracks free of dirt and debris. Tracks can be periodically lubricated with a small amount of Teflon spray or silicone. If the door mechanisms are damaged

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by weather (typically gusts of wind) or by rough treatment, door closers are generally fairly simple and inexpensive to replace. The weather-stripping will need to be replaced when worn or damaged.

Timeline:

A DIY installer should be able to hang a storm door in about 4 hours.

Steps:

1.Measure the width and height of the door frame.

2.Purchase a storm door from a reputable dealer.

3.Decide in which direction you want the door to open and make sure the hinges are on the correct side of the door.

4.Place the door in the opening to check for fit.

5.Mark and cut the Z-bar at a slight slope on the hinge side to fit the opening.

6.Place door in opening and push against the jamb.

7.Secure the door with screws and then open door and install 2 jamb screws.

8.Put the top Z-bar in place and secure and then cut the latch- side Z-bar.

9.Attach the latch-side Z-bar.

10.Install the expander sweep at bottom of door.

11.Install the latch (and deadbolt if there is one) and strike plate. 12.Install the closer mechanism.

Cost Estimator:

A basic storm door costs approximately $200 to $260. High quality storm doors can cost much more.

Quick Tips:

✓✓Storm door hinges are generally on the same side as the entry door.

✓✓Storm doors are available with elaborate metal designs or simulated wood grain appearance to match house styles.

✓✓The adjustable door bottom needs to be set correctly to effectively block air flow.

✓✓The storm door edges can be air sealed with caulking.

✓✓High quality storm doors are sold with low- emissivity (low-e) glass to block harmful rays from the sun.

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Attic

Doors

What is it?

Most attics are accessible inside the house through an attic door. Attic doors come in different styles that include the attic hatch, a knee-wall door, or swing down door with an attached pull-down ladder. The attic door is often overlooked as a source of energy loss because it is used infrequently and is normally located in a hallway or closet ceiling.

The attic hatch is a removable ceiling piece that is usually edged with wood. It is removed by simply pushing up on it. The knee-wall attic door is located approximately knee high on a wall and is usually located in a top floor room. The swing down attic door with pull down ladder is usually spring-loaded so that a simple pull on a cord brings the stairs down after the door is opened. The stairs and door are a single unit. The stairs fold or slide neatly back into the door space when it is time to close the attic door. All these doors should be insulated and weather-stripped to prevent heat loss.

Why do it?

Environmental Qualities

Can reduce energy consumption

Can allow access to previously unused spaces for maintenance purposes or storage

Pros:

When properly insulated, can lower energy bills by preventing heat loss into the attic from the house and cold air from entering the house from the attic

Helps maintain a more comfortable and even temperature inside the home

Provides access to the attic, creating more usable space in many cases

Cons:

Installation may require cutting ceiling joists and reinforcement with headers

Requires a moderate level of expertise to install

Maintenance:

There is very little maintenance required. The attic door molding may require painting periodically to keep it looking fresh, and the spring-loaded ladders in a swing down door need to be kept free of grime so they fold and unfold with ease and are safe to use when needed. The ladder mechanism and treads need to be in good condition at all times as well for safety.

Timeline:

A homeowner can install an attic door with ladder in approximately 11 hours; however, if you are not comfortable cutting through the ceiling or believe the joists may need to be cut, it is wisest to let a professional contractor handle the installation.

Steps:

To install an attic door with a spring-loaded ladder:

1.Before beginning installation, measure distance between ceiling rafters. Typical construction will provide a 22 ½-inch distance. Most attic ladders are designed to fit comfortably into this space.

2.Next, measure the distance available for installation. Typical attic ladders are four (4) feet long so they will require at least that much space, end to end. Also, ensure there is enough space between the ceiling and roof to allow for ladder storage and for climbing up into the attic once the ladder has been installed

3.Purchase a quality attic ladder from a reputable dealer.

4.From the attic, cut or drill a series of small holes through the ceiling to mark the attic door location.

5.Snap a chalk line or draw lines using a straightedge from corner to corner on the ceiling side to mark where the cut out will be.

6.Cut along the lines with a drywall or jig saw (always use proper eye and ear protection).

7.Frame the opening’s two short sides in the attic, using the existing ceiling rafters as the two long sides of the opening.

1.Install the attic ladder, and then adjust the feet to make sure they can rest securely on the floor when pulled down.

2.Install trim molding and paint or stain as appropriate.

Cost Estimator:

There is a wide range of attic doors and ladders available, ranging in price from $105 to over $700, depending on the type of door and ladder material. Insulating an attic door and weather-stripping the edges can be done for less than $25.

Quick Tips:

✓✓Seal the attic door or hatch with self-adhesive weather-stripping around the edges.

✓✓Insulate the attic door or hatch with a piece of rigid foam board or fiberglass insulation. ✓✓Pull-down attic stairs tend to create major air leakage, so some homeowners build a wood enclosure over the stairs while folded up that opens on hinges at the rear of the enclosure when entering the attic.

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Door

Sweeps

What is it?

Door sweeps are an efficient and inexpensive way to weather proof doors. They can be purchased with a single rubber strip attached to a metal bracket which screws along the bottom, inside of a door. They can also be made with multiple vinyl or rubber strips attached to a U-shaped metal bracket that slides under the door and is attached both inside and outside. These simple devices act as very effective weather barriers. In older homes, they can be adjusted up or down to close gaps created when floors or doors shift due to weather.

Why do it?

Pros:

Simple Installation

Inexpensive

Protect against pests entering through gaps

Cons:

Consumers might find them unappealing.

Attachments might scratch or damage the door.

Maintenance:

Wipe clean with an old rag.

Timeline:

Each door sweep can be installed in an hour or less.

Steps:

For an L-shaped door sweep:

1.Measure the door width and purchase the appropriate-length door sweep.

2.Cut the sweep slightly longer than door width.

3.Using the pre-drilled holes in the sweep, mark the door to match holes. Ensure that the sweep is snug to floor.

4.Drill holes, and then screw the door sweep on with the screws provided in the packaging.