New windows, glass tint bring Atlanta energy savings

New windows, glass tint bring Atlanta energy savings

"I recently moved to a home where the front windows face southwest. There are no shade trees in the front yard, so I'm expecting the front rooms to get hot this summer. I plan on replacing the glass but I'm getting conflicting advice. Should I get low-E glass and rely on it to block infrared heat waves, or get clear glass and have an infrared-reflective film applied? Which will give me the best results?" — Angie's List member Roger Linville

If you want to improve your window's overall efficiency, don't replace the glass, replace the windows, says Marc Tompkins, owner of highly rated MWT Home Improvement in Decatur, Ga.

"You'll get the most effective energy-efficiency upgrade by replacing the entire window," he says. "Solar film will reduce the heat gain, but you won't get all the benefits of a new energy-efficient window." He says most new energy-efficient windows start at around $300 to $400.

New windows may also qualify for a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent of a certified product's cost up to $1,500, not including labor or installation. Visit for more information.

Solar film may be a less costly option overall, says David Parke, a sales manager at highly rated Custom Sun Control in Marietta. He says most solar reflective films start at about $6 to $14 per square foot.

"For the money, you won't find a window that will give you the same performance as solar film," he says. However, installing the reflective film won't address an inefficient window frame.

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