Triple-Paned Windows: Are They Worth The Cost?

Dec 5, 2013

The windows are expensive and could take 20 to 50 years to start paying you back.
Credit Courtney Flatt

If you’re looking to keep out the winter cold, triple-paned windows will do the trick. But Northwest researchers have found have found it can take decades before savings from these highly insulated windows pay you back.

Researchers are using two identical homes to test some of the latest advances in energy efficient appliances, heating and cooling systems, and most recently, testing windows as well. In one home, they put in triple-paned, extra-insulated windows. The other home has windows found in most Northwestern homes: aluminum-framed windows. Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found the energy-efficient windows cut your home’s energy use by about 12 percent. But is retrofitting worth it? The lab’s Graham Parker says the windows are expensive. They could take 20 to 50 years to start paying you back.

Parker: “Windows are not one of the more cost-effective retrofits that you can do to a building, unless, of course, your windows are broken, or they’re letting a lot of air leakage through around the window frame.”

Parker says the best time to install the triple-paned windows is when you’re building a new home. Researchers are working to reduce the cost of these triple-paned windows.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio