Courtesy of Thompson Creek Windows

Advancements in replacement window technology have given homeowners some very energy-efficient options today. Even if your home is relatively new or your windows are only a few years old, chances are they aren’t operating at peak performance.

There are a few critical components to a window that make some options more energy-efficient than others. When looking at replacement windows, a term you should learn is low-e glass. Low-e stands for low-emissivity glass, which is a very thin coating of material on the glass to make it more efficient. Low-e coating helps reflect heat away from the surface, keeping desired heat inside in the winter (and keeping unwanted heat out in the summer). Low-e glass is the most cost-effective way to increase the efficiency of your windows. It can also help reduce the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation entering your home, reducing furniture and carpet fading.

If you currently have single-pane windows, installing new windows with double-pane glass and low-e coating can help with savings on your energy bills. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that for a typical home, installing ENERGY STAR-certified windows will save $126–$465 a year when replacing single-pane windows.

And replacing inefficient windows have an added benefit: they can often value to your home. Studies show that the two most important items on a new homebuyer's list are energy efficiency and less exterior maintenance. These items consistently rank higher than other factors such as location and proximity to schools. New windows, as well as doors, siding and gutters, add curb appeal, energy efficiency, architectural interest and excitement to your home, giving you an edge on comparable homes for sale in your neighborhood.