There are many benefits to upgrading to energy-efficient windows. They can reduce energy bills while increasing the value and beauty of your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Iowa homes can save about $352 per year by upgrading from single pane to Energy Star qualified windows. If upgrading from double pane windows, Iowa homeowners can save around $75 per year.

Reference Terms

U-factor: This is the rate of non-solar heat gain or loss through a material (e.g. glass). The lower this number, the better insulation value and higher resistance to airflow.

SHGC: The solar heat gain coefficient is the solar radiation that streams into and is absorbed into the home through the windows. The lower this is, the less solar heat is transmitted and the greater the window’s shading ability.

Low-E Coating: Low-emittance coating consists of metal or metallic oxide layers on a window that can lower the U-factor by lessening heat flow and radiation.

Infiltration: This measures air leakage by the amount of air that passes through a unit (square foot) area of the window frame.

Benefits of High-Performance Windows

Save both energy and money by switching to energy-efficient windows and decreasing heating and cooling loss. Efficient Windows Collaborative found that in the winter, these windows can end up saving you 15-25% on heating expenses, and in the summer, 10-40% on cooling costs.

These windows can also lower HVAC costs, reducing peak (maximum requirement for heating and cooling at one time) loads. This factor determines what size of HVAC system (furnace, air conditioner, heat pump, etc.) you need for the size of your home. Reducing the peak load can allow larger homes to efficiently install smaller HVAC systems and, in turn, save money both in purchasing expenses and ongoing energy costs. A properly sized HVAC system will reduce maintenance needs and ensure the best air quality, comfort, dehumidification, and mold prevention.

If you live in or around Ames, IA, you’ve experienced both the scorching heat and bitter cold. Your comfort level will greatly increase with energy-efficient window installation. You typically experience discomfort in your home if the interior window surface temperature is at or below 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Energy-efficient windows have lower U-factors that increase the interior surface temperature under cold conditions. Proper installation and weatherstripping also ensure a tight seal to reduce air leakage. In the summer, windows with a lower solar heat gain coefficient will admit less heat and allow for greater shading.

When it’s cold, these windows keep the interior glass surface warmer than standard windows and so reduce condensation and frost. With a Low-E coating, they have a high resistance to heat flowing through. Also as the U-factor improves (decreases), condensation occurs much less often.

People oftentimes try to deal with the heat coming in through their windows by adding shades or tinted glazing. This makes your home darker and can obstruct the outside view. Try glazing with low-solar-gain Low-E. It is a spectrally selective glazing which means your windows will be transparent to some wavelengths of light (visible) while reflecting others (UV and infrared). This glaze minimizes light loss and allows you to have a clear view of the outside world. This coating can also lessen fading in your home from sunlight exposure. Protect your furniture, paint, wood, fabric and carpet with Low-E coatings, films, or plastic layering for your windows.


Your federal and local utility companies may offer incentives for widow upgrading. Check out the details of offers to be sure you know how to qualify for rebates and special financing.

Be sure to hire a professional to install your new window(s) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If not done properly, you could accidentally void your warranty.

Cyclone Contracting in Ames, IA sells and installs Pella, Eagle and Anderson windows that are both high quality and energy efficient. We also install egress windows for your basement and offer repair and maintenance services you may need for any existing windows.