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New Windows or New Insulation: What is Best for Energy Efficiency?

energy efficiency

New Windows or New Insulation: What is Best for Energy Efficiency? Blog Feature

By: Ryan Litwiller on August 17th, 2022

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You’re a homeowner who understands energy efficiency updates to your home will pay off in the long run.

But you’re not independently wealthy, which means you have to prioritize which energy efficiency projects to invest in first. You can’t afford them all at once, so you have to decide – new windows or new insulation.

Most Michigan utilities offer rebates for updating both windows and insulation. So what should you do first to maximize energy efficiency and return on investment?

RetroFoam of Michigan has more than 20 years of experience helping thousands of homeowners across the Lower Peninsula make their homes more energy efficient.

In our constant efforts to educate homeowners, we have used not only our expertise but also did research to help you decide whether energy-efficient windows or energy-efficient insulation will be a better fit for your home.

Let's jump right in.

New Windows or New Insulation


Drumroll, please.

The winner is… new insulation, according to the energy efficiency pyramid.

The 10-level pyramid, a spinoff of the popular food pyramid, offers graphical guidance to homeowners searching for energy efficiency improvements to lower their energy bills.

“Homeowners who are uncertain of the best way to lower their energy bills should start at the lowest level of the pyramid and work their way up,” according to the Green Building Advisor. “Actions near the bottom of the pyramid are much more cost-effective than actions near the top of the pyramid.”

Using this model, air seal and insulation are on the fourth level, while windows are on the ninth level. This suggests new insulation should be completed before new windows for energy savings and return on investment.

In other words, energy-efficient insulation is less complex and less expensive, offering a better return on investment.

New Insulation for Your Home

The best part about energy-efficient foam insulation is that it works as both an air seal and an insulator, which means it’s basically the ultimate energy efficiency project.

Therefore, when the decision is between new windows or new insulation, it is typically best to start with new insulation.

“Start at the bottom and work your way up the pyramid, as time and finances allow,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

To learn more about the benefits of foam insulation for your home, check out our Learning Center. If you’d like to schedule a free in-home estimate, give us a call at 866-900-3626 or fill out the form on our website.

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