Episode 135: Should I get new windows to improve the energy efficiency of my home?

Stephen Lee, professor in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture, explains how windows can affect our home energy use.



Learn more

Energy Efficient Windows from the U.S. Department of Energy

Repair and Upgrade Windows and Doors from the National Park Service

Frequently Asked Questions from Home Energy Saver


HOST: Have you wondered whether you should get new windows to improve the energy efficiency of your home? On this week’s Energy Bite, Stephen Lee, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

LEE: There are two sources of energy consumption related to windows. The first is the loss or gain of heat through the window’s glass. If you have old wood-framed single-pane windows, you should consider replacing them. The second source is air leakage around the frames. Older Pittsburgh homes with poorly-sealed windows can leak 10 times the air you paid to heat or cool every hour of ever day compared with properly installed new windows.

HOST: How do you know if replacing the windows make economic sense?

LEE: The cost of the new windows in a pre-WWII war home in Pittsburgh will be paid back in approximately 10 years. But don’t replace your windows until you have first insulated your roof and walls, which has a payback time of only 3 years.

To find out whether or not you need new windows due to air leakage, you will need an energy auditor to do a “blower door” test of your home.

HOST: Would you invest in new windows for your home? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at Energy Bite dot org.

ANNOUNCER: Energy Bite is a co-production between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Mellon’s’ Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.


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