Top 15 Green Home Improvements: Costs in 2021 – Home Energy Efficiency

All major home remodeling efforts demand careful consideration and planning. When tackling an energy efficient home upgrade, that task can truly expand exponentially. It is imperative that you utilize a whole-house system approach to the project to wring the most value from your efforts.

Did you know? Home Energy savings realized in one segment of your property can easily be gobbled up by neglecting to pay attention to other energy-sapping culprits — With that in mind, let’s look at some of the popular energy-saving home improvement projects and take a stab at evaluating their value…

1. Smart Home Energy Audit

energy-audit-thermal-image via Henges Insulation

Your first step is to engage a professional energy audit of your house ($300-$500 by a trained energy expert although you may be able to wrangle one for less – or even free – from your local utility eager to reduce its power burden). This will factor into your home remodel plans such vital actors as site conditions, your local climate, your home’s micro-climate, the state of your current heating and cooling environment versus your required needs and so on.

Hey, this is already 2021, so much of this work can be accomplished by a computer simulation! When complete, you will not only have specific goals for the reduced utility and home maintenance costs, but also ideas for a healthier and safer interior living environment that will increase the physical comfort, energy efficiency, and dampen noise levels. A professional home energy audit should also include any local state incentives and tax breaks you are in line to receive for embarking on energy-saving projects.

A typical home energy audit will uncover opportunities to improve energy efficiency and comfort of your home by sealing the air leaks and drafts and upgrading the level of insulation in critical areas such as crawl spaces, wall cavities, and attic where there might be thermal energy loss due to inadequate insulation.

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Pella vs. Andersen Windows Cost 2021: Pros & Cons, ROI

Andersen and Pella, Pella, and Andersen. The two window giants are compared more often than any other two brands, and for a good reason; each company offers an impressive selection of windows ranging from affordable to luxurious, available in multiple materials and all window styles and sizes.

Pella Windows — Modern Farm House Bedroom

via Luxury Home Tours on Pella.com

This buying guide is your comprehensive source for window prices for both brands, plus their complete window series and styles information. We start with what’s on every homeowner’s mind:

  • How much do Pella windows cost?
  • How much do Andersen windows cost?

This table lists the window series, materials, and pricing details for all Pella and Andersen windows, making it easy to compare new window costs between these top two brands:

Pella Windows

Series Material Types Cost
Architect Series 850 Wood S, D, C, A $850-$1,550
Architect Series Reserve Wood D, C, A $1,000-$1,850
Lifestyle (previously Designer 750) Series Wood D, C, A $750-$1,250
450 Series/ProLine (discontinued) Wood D, C, A $300-$550
Impervia Fiberglass S, D, C, A, G $350-$750
350 Series Vinyl S, D, C, A, G $250-$475
250 Series Vinyl S, D, C, A, G $195-$395
Encompass by Pella Vinyl S, D, C, A, G $145-$295

Andersen Windows

Series Material Types Cost
Architectural Collection E-Series Wood D, C, A $950-$1,525
Architectural Collection A-Series Wood/Fibrex D, C, A $1,000-$1,750
400 Series Wood D, C, A, G $475-$950
200 Series Wood D, G $395-$750
100 Series Fibrex S, C, A, G $195-$395
Renewal by Andersen aka RBA Fibrex D, C, A, G $985-$1,850

Notes:

  • Cost: The Cost column reflects windows of average size and most common features chosen by homeowners. Specific window costs will range slightly lower or higher based on the feature package chosen such as window size, glazing/glass package, extras like exterior cladding, custom grilles, built-in blinds or shades.
  • Types Code: S=single-hung; D=double-hung; C=casement; A=awning; G=gliding or sliding. Most window series also offer picture/fixed windows and bay/bow window assemblies.

Did you know? New construction windows are different from replacement windows.

All Pella series and all Andersen series except for Renewal series can be used for new construction or as replacement windows. — If they are new construction windows, the frames are manufactured with a nailing fin used to secure the windows to the home’s exterior sheathing.

Replacement windows are secured to the window opening through the side jamb, so the exterior siding doesn’t need to be disrupted.

If you’re doing a complete exterior makeover including siding replacement, then either type can be used.

Installation Costs

Window installation costs below apply to both professional (warrantied) labor and any supplies required for all window types, double-hung, casement, fixed, etc.

  • New window installation cost: $150-$300 per window
  • Basic Vinyl or Fiberglass Replacement window installation cost: $195-$350 per window
  • Wood-frame Replacement window installation cost: $350-$700 per window (more labor to replace wood windows)
  • Bay/Bow window installation cost: $300-$650 per window assembly

Window installations do cost less for new construction projects for two reasons:

  1. There are no old windows to remove first and windows quickly nail to the exterior sheathing on the home.
  2. Installing replacement windows in older homes can take significantly longer if the window openings have shifted or warped or if they need repair. — These delays will increase installation cost.

Cost-to-Value Return at Resale

National home remodeling and sales data show that window replacement return on investment (value recouped at resale) ranges from about 73% for upscale windows such as Pella Lifestyle (previously Designer 750) series and higher, Andersen 400 Series and higher, plus Renewal by Andersen, and up to 80% cost-to-value return for more affordable Pella and Andersen window lines.

For example, if you spend $10,000 on new windows, the potential sale price of your home in the first 10 years will be $7,300 to $8,000 higher.

The cost-to-value return speaks to the value recouped at the time of selling your home. It does not take into account the commutative value of energy savings and/or other benefits such as the enjoyment homeowners derived from the windows upgrade.

New windows can help a home sell faster, especially when the listing price is near the upper end of a potential buyer’s target price range. The buyer will have the assurance that replacing windows won’t be an expense they will need to worry about for the next 15-25 years.

Pro Tip: If you plan to sell your home in the next few years, replacing the windows isn’t a cost-effective choice unless they are in such poor condition, they’ll turn off buyers.

A better approach is to give potential buyers an allowance sufficient to cover the mid-grade new windows like Pella 350 high-end vinyl/Impervia Fiberglass or Andersen 200/400 Series. — This would cover their costs. The buyers could also use the money toward a premium window series, allowing the buyers to choose the kind of windows they like the best for the price.

Andersen Vs. Pella Window Comparison

Pella makes a broader overall range of window series in different materials compared to Andersen. You can view and buy Andersen windows at Home Depot, while Pella windows can be viewed and purchased at Lowe’s.

Andersen makes four solid wood series and one affordable Fibrex composite series. Pella makes three solid wood series, and one fiberglass Impervia Series windows that compare with the Andersen’s most affordable 100 Series windows made of Fibrex, though at a much higher cost for Pella Impervia. This comparison would be based on the window frame materials only (fiberglass vs. Fibrex) and not a fair series-to-series (Impervia is a mid-tier fiberglass window series line from Pella) comparison.

Andersen 100-Series Windows

Did you know? The primary difference between Pella and Andersen is that Pella also makes three vinyl window lines, and one fiberglass-frame window. Pella Impervia, the fiberglass window series sits right in between the wood and vinyl product lines based on Pella’s pricing tiers.

Andersen, on the other hand, offers windows made from their proprietary composite material called Fibrex, which is made from 40% reclaimed wood fibers by weight (from the production of Andersen wood windows) combined with 60% thermoplastic polymer (PVC vinyl) by weight.

Note: Andersen also has a completely separate line of high-end Fibrex windows called Renewals by Andersen, which is a whole separate business unit/division within Andersen. RBA windows are made for replacement only and are sold through the in-home sales presentations by independent RBA dealers. We cover the Renewals by Andersen offering, right below the main lineup of Andersen windows.

Pella Architect Series / 850 Series

Pella Architect Series

Pella Architect series windows are made in two sub-lines. The Architect Series Traditional windows are beefier with very classic styling. The Architect Series Contemporary windows are sleeker, lither with very clean sight lines. Here’s what they offer:

  • Materials: Pine, Douglas fir, mahogany, white oak, red oak, cherry, and maple (Traditional); Pine, Douglas fir and mahogany (Contemporary)
  • Interior colors: 4 paint and 9 stain options.
  • Exterior colors: 27 colors of aluminum cladding.
  • Hardware: 5 Traditional and 9 Contemporary finishes in several styles.
  • Sizes: Standard and Custom
  • Window types: Single-hung, double-hung, casement and awning (Traditional); Casement and awning (Contemporary).
  • Glass: 4 glass package options.
  • Accessories: 4 grille styles and 2 screen types. Insynctive window sensors integrate with smart home security systems.
  • Warranty: Lifetime Limited.

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How to Winterize Your Home: Top 10 Home Weatherization Updates to Do Before Winter

Before frigid winter temperatures arrive in your neighborhood, take the time to prepare your home for the unexpected. Even if you live in a moderate climate zone, where low temperatures are rare, winterizing your home can improve its durability, energy efficiency, and help prevent common and costly winter emergencies such as burst pipes and flooding inside your home or basement.

Home Weatherization in a Nutshell:

Winterizing your house is all about sealing and eliminating unwanted air drafts, ensuring adequate insulation and ventilation to prevent energy losses and ice dams related issues, checking roof and gutters, insulating exposed pipes, sealing air-ducts, checking water heaters and furnaces, and boosting your home’s energy efficiency.

Below are the main items to address to make sure your home is properly protected, cozy, and warm, even when the weather outside is frigid and frightful:

1. Roof Inspection and Maintenance

Common Roof and Home Exterior Inspection Areas. 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

An inspection of your roof (and gutters) should be an annual job. While this is a doable DIY job, knowing what to look for is vital:

  • Moss and Algae Growth
  • Loose, Missing or Damaged Shingles or Tiles
  • Major Cracks in Roof Shingles or Tiles
  • A Large Portion of Curled-up Shingles
  • Flat Roof Seams Coming Apart or Becoming Unglued
  • Damaged or Improper Chimney Flashing, Skylight, Roof Vent and Pipe Flashing
  • Dips and Swales in Roof Surface
  • Roof Ventilation Issues
  • Evidence of Roof Leaks – Water Stains Around Walls and Ceilings – Wet Insulation in the Attic

Roof Inspection Cost: A professional roofing contractor may charge between $150 to $250 for an inspection, depending on several factors. Most of the time, the cost of a roof inspection can be counted towards the price of a roof repair or getting a new roof.

Note: you should be getting a written report outlining roof performance issues for a stand-alone inspection.

Caveat on Roof Inspections: If you end-up having to ask a professional roofer to climb on your roof after the cold, icy weather has set in, expect the cost of the inspection to go up.

Post-Inspection Maintenance and Repairs:

A roof inspection will determine the need for a roof cleaning, especially if moss build up is normal in your region. If the inspection report shows that some maintenance or repairs are necessary, the costs will vary depending on the extent of repairs:

Minor Repairs: $250 to $450 for minor repairs, which is where a roof cleaning job fits in.

Moderate repairs can cost in the range of $1,000 and typically include fixing or replacing any loose or missing shingles and tiles and sealing and re-flashing chimneys and skylights on the roof.

Major repairs are generally large sections of the roof needing extra attention and may cost as much as $3,000 or higher. Beyond this, and it’s time to consider re-roofing or replacement.

More info on roof repairs: https://www.roofingcalc.com/roof-repair-cost/

Complete re-roof or replacement may be required if a large portion of the roof has old or damaged shingles. A new roof provides opportunity to increase the lasting value of your home. A new roof can also be an insurance against unwanted roof leaks, house water damage, and a very costly roof failure, especially in the middle of winter.

Cost Recouped: A typical roof replacement has an average cost-to-value return (cost recouped at the time of sale) of about 70%. A metal roof has an average cost-to-value return of about 85.9% in the mid-range pricing range.


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