In February of 2012, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on a deceptive practice that has been a part of the vinyl replacement window industry for too long. You see, many replacement window retailers claim a certain level of energy savings when/if you replace your windows.
Seems harmless, right? Wrong.
When people see energy savings, they think of their utility bills. If someone is told that new replacement windows will save them 35%, they infer that their utility bills will be cut by… wait for it …35%!
There are two main problems; let’s take a look:
1. 35% : What does this mean? Exactly 35%, up to 35%, as high as 35%? A recent study commissioned by the FTC showed that when claims like these were worded in different ways, as I just posed, that a majority of consumers still understood the claim to be implying the exact percentage of savings. More on that study here:
2. Where does the 35% come from? In ALL of my years in this industry, I have NEVER seen data to support the energy savings claims made by countless retailers.
In the last 17 years, I have NEVER seen data or evidence to support the energy savings claims made by countless window companies.
The problem is that the energy-saving effect of a replacement window is dependent on many, many variables that can and do change from home to home. These variables include geography, construction type, HVAC system, wall insulation and more.
The only truthful answer to the question: How much energy will I save when replacing my windows? is, it depends.
Heck, we haven’t even talked about how much this number can change depending on the style of window you choose.
Bottom line: There are too many variables to make generic claims. Most times, these claims are either wishful thinking or downright deceitful. The FTC has taken notice of this, and thankfully, is starting to expose it.
It’s a shame really, as replacement windows WILL save you energy. They will save you energy, and our company can prove it. There’s a right way and a wrong way to present energy savings information to the customer. Our approach is to utilize a computer simulation program developed for the U.S. Department of Energy called RESFEN. But that’s a topic for another day.