The short answer is, a quick search on the Internet will give you several places to call. I would include the link here, but these links change occasionally, so a search is definitely a better way to find that rebate you are looking for.
Why are rebates available for people who replace their windows?
It seems odd that an agency relying on tax payer dollars would send money to a homeowner to help them defray the costs of adding value to their property, but in actuality, tired old windows are not good for the community because they need more energy to compensate for all the heat they lose through all the holes and gaps in their window frames. It only takes a slight gap in a window frame to greatly defeat the average home heating system. Most power providers (e.g. Puget Sound Energy) are not there to make money. They exist to provide the community with a reliable and affordable source of power to the residents within their area of coverage. This is where the paradox lies. Power providers do better when people use less power. When there is, for example, a cold spell and the heating needs spike, the less people have to use, the better. The better people’s homes are insulated, the lower that spike is. Lighting doesn’t get affected so much in a cold spell, but heating costs absolutely do. And power providers want to, therefore, avoid cost spikes because they have to provide an infrastructure that must meet those spikes, even if it’s only needed for two days of the year. Well insulated homes reduces this ‘spike’, and therefore saves the utility money across the entire year.
Offering incentives to homeowners to demand less energy in cold spells, therefore, is very much in the interests of the utility, and therefore in the interests of the community.
Hot spells have the same issue. We don’t get so many days in Seattle requiring air conditioning, but the same ‘spike’ issue applies here too. When it’s hot and muggy, people like to switch on air conditioning if they have it. You probably know that air conditioning is heavy on electricity, so people don’t use it so often. But when that roasting day arrives, they might switch it on for a day or two. Here, again, when many residents do the same thing, another spike in energy consumption happens. In many cities across the country, cities have been know to cut all power to regions in rotation simply because they cannot provide for that ‘spike’ in power needs. So, instead of everyone cutting back a little, a portion of the city is completely without power, one region at a time. If the energy providers could find a way to reduce the consumption by say 20% in this example, it would not need to cut anyone’s power in a heat wave. It can actually be cheaper to give people money to help them buy those new windows, and to cut their energy consumption significantly year round. Sales tax is also collected, so it’s not a complete immediate loss for the city or state. When homeowners spend money improving their home, that money goes straight back into the economy. Employees are supported, vendors paid, and everyone wins, you could say. And it also is beneficial to the environment, the smaller a homeowner’s carbon footprint is.
New windows improve quality of life
Aside from the aesthetics of replacing your old windows with new ones, you will notice a number of advantages to your new windows. We covered the issue of heat and cold insulation, but to my mind, one of the big benefits of new windows is actually sound insulation. Many years ago, in another life, I replaced all of the front side windows of my house. They had suffered greatly from years of direct sunlight and simple age. Being in a wood frame house as most houses are in Puget Sound, the shape of the frame changed over time. Some of it was because the house creaked and groaned with the passage of storms, temperature changes, heat and rain, but some of it was the window itself. While a house frame does change, window frames come under unusual pressure because they must perform several functions. They must keep the heat in, the cold out (or vice versa). They must offer the ability to be opened and closed many times in their productive lifetime, while still maintaining their insulative properties. On top of that, they must provide enough strength to be, essentially, a part of the home’s infrastructure.
But most of all, sound insulation was one of my favorite benefits of new windows. I was so surprised to learn just how much ambient noise was, over years, entering the house from the street. Suddenly, the interior of my home was much, much quieter. I could hear more in movies I watched on the TV, but without having to raise the volume to drown out the exterior noise. This was different. So, the new windows added a measure of quality to my life I had not expected.
Privacy gained with certain types of windows
In Puget Sound, we don’t generally worry about sunburn, but in actuality, it has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country. It is believed that because we don’t see the sun so often, we are less inclined to apply even a little sunblock. Well, there is ultraviolet light (the invisible frequency that gives you sunburn) hitting your skin in broad daylight, even if it is overcast. You can’t see it, but it does damage nonetheless.
Have you ever noticed that green hue that comes with many panes of glass? Well, with triple glazing, that is a lot more obvious. And you can buy window panes now that will block 97% of ultraviolet light, even when the light is entering the glass at right angles. As the angle of the light drops, those rays must pass through an ever greater amount of glass. Couple that with the fact that, when the sun is at its highest in the sky, it is at the steepest angle entering the window. The ultraviolet light blocking properties of new windows is almost 100%.
In hot spells, that UV light insulation reduces your electricity bill by blocking the sun’s ability to heat the inside of your home from the outside. This heat insulation – by reducing radiation – is another reason why cities and organizations offer rebates. It’s all good for everyone.
See you next week!