When thinking of a home upgrade that will increase energy efficiency, homeowners typically consider two projects: insulation or windows.
There is a lot of confusion about which investment provides a better return on investment.
Your home’s envelope consists of the walls, floor and roof. When considering the total square footage of your home’s envelope, windows make up a very small portion of it. By investing in upgrading the energy efficiency of your home’s attic and walls (more square footage), you’ll be maximizing energy efficiency across a greater portion of your home’s envelope and you will see a greater energy benefit.
Air inside a home naturally flows from ground to sky. A home loses 70% of energy through the attic and roof – far more than is lost through windows or doors. Upgrading attic insulation keeps the air you’ve paid to heat in your home. Adding air sealing further prevents conditioned air from seeping out around areas like ducts and attics.
R-value is a measure of the amount of heat flow a certain product resists. The higher the R-value, the better it reduces heat flow. The R-value of windows can vary based on the number of panes, air space between panes, etc. Double pane windows have an R-value of 1.5 to 2. Upgrading insulation to current code would result in attic R-value of R-30 to R-38 in Kansas City. When you consider the difference in R-value and the natural heat flow in a home, it’s easy to see how a fresh blanket of insulation is a great investment.
When looking at bottom line, the choice is clear. According to Home Advisor the average cost to upgrade windows in the Kansas City area is $4,064. The same report shows the average cost to upgrade insulation in the Kansas City area is $1,295.