The requirements for 2015 energy star windows have changed. The department of energy originally proposed that the new changes take effect in January 1, 2014, but many manufacturers were not yet able to produce the newer more efficient products so the date was delayed by 1 year. The good new for consumers is that many manufacturers are able to produce 2015 energy star windows NOW. This lets you get a more efficient window today.
How have the requirements changed for 2015 energy star windows?
This chart shows the climate zones:
And this one shows the u/factor and shgc requirements in each climate zone:
You can see that the u-factors and solar heat cain coefficient (shgc) requirements have gotten stronger depending on which climate zone you are in. The air infiltration (or air leakage) requirements have not changed which surprised most folks in the industry. We expect to see this requirement get tougher in the coming years.
Are there tax credits for purchasing 2015 energy star windows?
Not right now. Tax credits for energy efficient windows come and go depending on the will of congress. There may be state or local credits available in your area. A great resource to find information on these programs is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency or DSIRE. They’ll have all sorts of additional info.
In the past they have enacted retroactive tax credits for replacement windows purchased while no tax credit was in place. This may well happen again. To be sure you’re covered in case this happened you should be sure to at least get energy star qualified windows.
Remember, there is no need to buy windows that meet the 2015 standard in 2014, but it might be a good idea to buy the newer models rather than the older models as they’ll be in your home for many years to come.
If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List. For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run. You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here.
If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.