This is an excellent question, and the short answer is, “Less than you think!” The requirements for the Federal Tax Credit for energy efficient home improvements are fairly stringent. The standards are a U- value <= .30 and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) <= .30. (U-value measures the rate of heat loss through a window and SHGC measures how well a window blocks heat from sunlight).
Before June 1st of this year (2009), the Energy Star standard for U-value was .35 (meaning windows manufacturers were given the Energy Star label if their windows had a u-value below .35.) But since the release of the Federal Tax Credit, the Energy Star program has reduced their standards to match the Federal Governments. This means some manufacturers were hit with a double whammy, losing their Energy Star label and having products that don’t qualify for the tax credit.
Most manufacturers had few if any windows that met these standards prior to this year. What that means is there was a lot of scrambling to get windows out on the market that qualify. Unfortunately that means many manufactures have just added thicker or more coats of Low-E, which means a darker, shiner, and less attractive window for your home.
Some manufactures like Simonton and Andersen were ahead of the game and had already developed new Low-E coatings that meet or exceed both the Energy Star and Federal Tax Credit standards well before 2009. With Simonton the products is Low-E 366, and with Andersen the product is Low-E Smart Sun. Both increase the energy performance of the windows without decreasing the aesthetic appearance of the windows.
If you are considering a window replacement project contact us today! We’ll be sure the windows you buy with meet all the necessary requirements to get you 30% back up to $1500.