A picture of the window installer drilling screws into the frame of our new Energy Star hurricane impact windows on our net-zero solar energy home.

We’ve dedicated a lot of blog real estate to various types of hurricane and impact windows. Still, today we want to discuss whether it’s worth buying Energy Star-certified storm windows.

Is this a more energy-efficient decision than purchasing regular windows?

If you want to learn more about your savings options by switching to Energy Star-approved impact windows, this article will tell you everything you need to know. Keep reading, as we have lots of great info ahead!

Are Hurricane Windows Naturally Energy-Efficient?

Energy Star-certified hurricane windows are far more energy-efficient than standard windows. If your new windows lessen your home’s rate of air leaks and have thicker, stronger glass, The energy savings is increased compared to regular windows.

That all has to do with the construction of hurricane windows.

As we’ve discussed on the blog in past posts, hurricane windows are comprised of a layer of tempered glass, a polyvinyl butyral or PVB membrane, and another layer of glass. 

The glass used is of the same caliber as vehicular windshield glass, which is part of how impact glass is incredibly durable, but we digress.

A hurricane window undergoing an impact resistance test in a facility

By building hurricane windows this way, they create a higher degree of insulation, much more so than standard single-pane windows and perhaps even more insulation than dual-pane windows. 

The insulation of your hurricane windows will better control your home’s interior temperature so that you can give your heater or air conditioner a much-needed rest.

As an additional benefit, insulated windows also reduce the rate of outside noise flooding into your home. If you’re used to street noise interrupting your relaxation and keeping you awake at night, you’ll be stunned at how much quieter your home is. 

How Much Can You Save by Purchasing Energy Star Impact Windows?

We’ve talked about hurricane window costs before, including installation. However, if you need a refresher, HomeAdvisor puts the standard range for hurricane impact windows at $2,746-$15,145, which is quite costly. 

Now, you may wonder, how much money will you recoup if you spend that much on impact windows and potentially more for Energy-Star-certified windows?

According to Energy Star’s website, Low-E hurricane impact windows that meet Energy Star approval and replace clear, single-pane windows can reduce your annual cooling and heating spending by 10%. That’s $350 in savings on your utility bills for the year. 

That’s not a single-time saving either, but you’ll continue to enjoy that same level of savings every year you choose Energy Star-certified windows for your home. 

In two years, you’ll have saved $700 with Energy Star impact windows, and in three years, it’ll be $1,050 in savings. 

Over five years, you’ll have pocketed $1,750, and in 10 years, $3,500. In addition, should you keep your Energy Star-approved hurricane windows for 15 years, you’d have saved $5,250 on your utility bills.

The savings are pretty significant, as you can see!

Further, Energy Star notes that it will take about three years to recoup what you spent on certified storm windows. After that, all the additional money you save will go into your pocket to do as you please.

You might put the money towards your child’s college fund, finally buy a new car, or even funnel the cash into other energy-efficient upgrades around the house.

Speaking of more energy efficiency around the house, Energy Star is clear on its website that the above cost savings only apply to upgrading your windows from clear, single-pane windows to more energy-efficient impact windows. If upgrading your windows also treats other issues such as air leaks, your savings could still be even higher. 

A couple of homeowners installing a window inside their home

Energy Star doesn’t provide an estimate because, as it says, the rate of savings “can vary substantially from house to house.”

That said, the Eco Guide energy efficiency resource estimates that you can save an additional 5-10% on your utility bills by fixing air leaks, with a typical savings rate of 7.5%. 

On top of all that, some Energy Star-certified impact windows might be eligible for rebates. Once you buy and install the windows, the reimbursement will put money back in your pocket, slashing the original purchase price of your windows. 

You’ll have a lot more money in your pockets than what you shelled out for Energy Star-approved impact windows, that’s for sure! 

Our Own Installation of Energy Efficient Hurricane Windows

This was actually one of my favorite upgrades from our first netzero home renovation project.

an old window leaning up against the outside wall with the window opening being prepped for new Energy Star hurricane windows
Removing the old single pane windows to be replaced by PGT Winguard

The new windows were amazing. Not only do they offer hurricane protection, but they’re quiet, more air tight, energy efficient, and better for all around home security. Not to mention they just completely update the look of the entire house.

Here are some install photos:

The total cost for three sliding doors and eight windows came to about $14,000 installed, including some wood siding and stucco repair. That’s a pretty good price I think. I literally got quotes from every supplier I could find in town, plus the distributor I chose had a go-to installer that was very fair.

How Do You Know If Your Impact Windows Are Energy Star-Approved?

Impact windows may be energy-efficient on their own, but if you can increase their energy efficiency with Energy Star storm windows, you should. 

This way, for the cost, you can reap a lot of perks that will benefit your household (and your wallet) for many years to come. 

How can you be sure that your new hurricane windows are Energy Star-approved? To determine, here are some suggestions.

Browse the Energy Star Website

This list of hurricane window manufacturers and products, courtesy of Energy Star, is a current record of all the impact window brands you can shop for that meet the criteria of Energy Star.

Although you can’t buy hurricane impact windows through Energy Star’s website, you can research which windows meet the criteria and then purchase them through the manufacturer directly or through a third-party retailer. 

A rectangular version of the Energy Star logo
Courtesy of Efficient Vermont

Your impact windows themselves will not have the Energy Star logo on them, but the product listing online should. Energy Star only associates its name with the best products in energy efficiency, so that trademark blue logo with the white star is never too hard to find! 

Ask for Energy Star by Name

If you’re shopping in a store and want to be sure you’re buying energy-efficient hurricane windows, all you’ve got to do is ask for them. Contact the window retailer and mention that you only want Energy Star-certified hurricane windows. The retailer will hook you up with what you’re looking for. 

Conclusion 

Hurricane windows are naturally energy-efficient due to multi-layered glass encasing a center plastic membrane. However, upgrading to Energy Star-certified windows makes a set of storm windows more energy-efficient and is thus highly recommended.

You could save upwards of $350 a year on your utility bills, adding up to thousands of dollars saved over the years. You might also be able to take advantage of rebates to make your new windows more affordable. 

But even if not, the windows should pay for themselves within three years with all those savings. 

All you have to do is ask for Energy Star by name when upgrading to hurricane windows!

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