Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting it Right the First Time

Last week, a nice young man rang our doorbell and asked if we would like a free window inspection the next day. While I haven't been thinking about replacing my windows, I was intrigued when he said they would measure the efficiency of my current windows so I signed up.

Glass WindowsImage by Vardhana via Flickr

I wouldn't recommend the experience unless you're truly in the market (sort of reminded me of used car shopping), but I did learn some interesting things:

* 70% of the heat loss in your home is through the windows.
* Double pane windows do virtually nothing to keep the heat inside in the winter or outside in the summer.
* The important thing is what is in between the panes - krypton, in this case. Wow - I thought that was just for Superman.
* The test to "measure the efficiency" of my current windows involved shining a light bulb outside my sliding glass door and feeling the heat through the other side. Hmmm... I probably could have managed that on my own.
* And, finally... replacing windows is incredibly expensive.

When we finally got to the part about how it would cost nearly $50k to replace all the windows in my house, I was left wondering, why is it that we don't build things right the first time around? While they guaranteed I would save 40% in energy costs instantly if I replace all my windows, it would take a lifetime to earn back that huge replacement cost. No, I did not sign on the dotted line.

If we have the knowledge to build more energy-efficient homes, why don't we? I know there are exceptions to this rule, but the norm still seems to be to use the cheapest parts. Is it simply because we, as consumers, always want the lowest price?

No comments:

Post a Comment