Free windows? Can I get a window grant?
Between 20%-30% of a buildings’ heat is lost through the windows. No wonder then that environmental organizations and the federal government, keen to meet targets for lower carbon emissions, support homeowners with window grants to install environmentally friendly windows. Are you eligble for a window grant? Find out below.
Are you eligible for a window grant? The best thing to do is speak to local window fitters in your state and find out. Fill out the form below and we'll send them your requirements. Time to complete: 30 seconds.
Changing your windows is one of the biggest ways to control energy loss, making a significant impact on the environment and on your household utility bills as well as improving comfort within the home. Consequently, almost all window grants are geared towards energy-efficient products. Here are some of the key window grants available:
High Energy Cost Grant Program
The High Energy Cost Grant Program is operated by the US Department of Agriculture and is aimed at the use of renewables in rural communities. Commercial organizations, residential units, non-profit agents and state and local government are all eligible to receive funding. Applicants must live in areas where energy costs are a minimum of 275% above the national average.
Energy Star Tax Credit
This is a tax credit authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009. Homeowners who buy Energy Star certified skylights and windows can qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,500 when they purchase products with the energy star sticker.
Energy Star qualified windows, doors and skylights are manufactured by an authorized Energy Star partner and are independently tested and verified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and comply with ratings and energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA – Environmental Protection Agency.
Energy Star rating can cover a number of different technologies to achieve certification. The most appropriate Energy Star products will depend upon the climate where you live and what is most suitable for your home.
Weatherization Assistance is provided by the US Department of Energy to assist low-income families in finding permanent solutions to reducing their energy costs using energy efficient windows. This program is managed and distributed via state and local government.
LIHEAP stands for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program which offers support to low income and medically disadvantaged individuals to help with the cost of utility bills and home improvements to improve energy efficiency. Replacement windows and doors are included within this scheme’s remit. In order to be eligible, applicants must be able to demonstrate a household income that does not exceed 150% of the federal poverty based on household size or 60% of the median income for their state.
Local Loans and Rebates
Local loans and rebates can be available from state and local government and will differ depending upon where you live. These are incentivization programs to encourage homeowners to install energy efficient windows and funding opportunities from utility companies and non-profit agencies
Some states will offer grants to low-income homeowners who want to improve their homes through repair and upgrading. These grants are usually means tested. According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, there are grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy available in 25 states, however window replacement will not qualify for all of these.
Some groups are targeted by local government for improved home energy efficiency, typically, this may include senior citizens, the disabled and families with children.
Checkout this short video below which shows where you can find out further information on eligibility for home improvement grants:
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Finding out about window grants
The internet is your friend when it comes to researching national and local window grants. Finding out about window grants from local groups on social media is a good way of accessing householders who have recently replaced their windows and can give an insight on the grant scheme they used.
Most smart window contractors will be well aware of the window grants and schemes on offer and will use grants as a sweetener to encourage people so you will often see prices quoted with the benefit of a window grant.
What are the factors which influence the cost of new windows?
Replacing several or all of the windows in your home means costs can soon mount up. Here are some of the key factors which will contribute to the final bill.
- The number of windows
- The size of the windows
- The type of frame if you are choosing to replace or upgrade, this is called full frame installation
- If there is any other work required to the wall around the window
- The design of the window – complex, multi-pane styles cost more in terms of labor and materials as do casement windows
- Your choice of glass
- The thickness of the glass
- Your location – costs vary from state to state and generally construction work is more expensive in inner city locations than rural areas
How to manage the cost of new windows
Even if you are eligible for a window grant, this will only go some way towards the cost of installing new windows in your home. So, how can you manage the financial hit?
- Spread the cost by installing new windows one wall at a time over a period of several months
- Choose a more economically priced frame and/or glazing
- Arrange a finance plan with your window installer, many offer finance through partner companies
- Raise equity from your home for improvements if your lender agrees or re-mortgage your home to release capital funds
What are the advantages of installing new energy efficient windows?
Energy efficient windows offer several advantages to the homeowner as well as helping the planet.
You can reduce heat loss which will make a big saving on utility bills. The right technology can also help manage rooms which become too hot in the summer thereby reducing cooling costs.
Home comfort will improve significantly with modern thermal glazing which regulates temperature in different rooms to optimize comfort and can also cut down on external noise which might be a real feature if you live in an urban area.
Self-cleaning glass can help minimize household chores particularly for hard to access windows on the first floor.
Improving the energy rating of your home will make it more attractive to buyers when you go to market. Plus, the style and appearance of new windows is unbeatable when it comes to kerb appeal.
Read the Terms and Conditions carefully
Most window grants are just that, a grant not a loan so there is no requirement to repay the money. However, there can be restrictions in the small print.
You may find with some grants that you must install the windows and pay for them first before the scheme will release funds to you and that evidence of payment will be required.
Almost all grants will require that the contractor is correctly licensed and insured. Some schemes may require you to obtain several quotations. There could also be a clause about selling the property for a specified time frame after the grant has been paid. Always read all the terms and conditions very carefully.
How to find the right window contractor
Finding the right installer who will deliver what you want in terms of appearance and budget plus help you out with any grants, can be a challenge. Firstly, start with using our window fitter search to find local window fitters in your state. Start first with a personal recommendation from family, friends or work colleagues.
The internet is often your friend in these situations, but it is easy to find lots of contractors with glowing reviews and these may not be authentic. Use community forums and neighborhood social media groups to source professional and reputable contractors. This can also be a good way of finding out about local grants from other householders who have already replaced their windows.
There are trader platforms where you can key in some brief details of the project and the site will match you with local contractors ready and available to quote. You can usually read reviews about the contractors too. Some sites are little more than advertising platforms and don’t really offer any form of quality filter, but others are more assiduous and will only allow reputable businesses to feature.
Always obtain three quotations so you can compare products, prices and installers.
Window Grants - Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find out about the window grants available in my area?
A good window installer will be up to date with the grants available both locally and at federal level. Window grants differ in terms of eligibility and so it is important to have current information as schemes can change or have an expiry date.
Community or neighborhood forums can provide a wealth of information for very local schemes which can sometimes go under the radar.
Will the contractor apply for the window grant for me?
You will have to apply for the grant in your own name, but most window contractors will assist with the application as they know they are more likely to win the business if they can help you secure some money towards the overall cost. Most contractors are well aware of which products in their range will qualify for funding, what schemes are out there and who is likely to be eligible.
Do I have to install the windows first before I can receive grant monies?
It depends on the scheme; some window grants will require evidence that the work has been completed before they release any money which means you will have to front up the total cost yourself.
What if I qualify for a grant but there is not enough funding currently available?
Some schemes receive funding from a central source in batches or waves, it may be a question of waiting until there are more funds available by joining a queue.
What if I don’t qualify for a window grant?
You may find that you are not eligible for any current window grant schemes or that time limited schemes have closed because the funds have been used up. Many contractors offer what is called ‘partner funding’ with finance companies to help cover the costs of replacement windows. Do your research as the rates offered may not be that great and you could do better by going to your own bank or talking to your mortgage company about releasing any equity in the property.
Will I have to pay back any of the grant money?
Some grant schemes will have restrictions on the sale of the property for a period of time after the new windows have been installed. The purpose of this is to ensure the homeowner genuinely wants to benefit from the new energy efficient windows rather than just using this as a way to improve the property before sale.
Always read the fine print very carefully, your window contractor may not know all of the detail and may not be that interested providing you accept their quotation.
Do window grant schemes run out of money?
Some grant schemes are funded in waves and so the pot can temporarily be empty for a while. Usually, you have to wait for the next release of money or join a queue. Some schemes run until they are exhausted and then close, others are short term and have a finish date.
Will the grant scheme dictate which window installer I use?
Usually, they are not that specific, but they normally require that a business is established and professional and has the correct licenses and insurance in place. They may also only accept projects which involve window contractors who are registered with certain designated professional bodies.
There can sometimes be scheme restrictions on the different products which you can select.
Are there any other restrictions on the types of windows I can choose?
If you have an old property or you live in certain areas, then there can be local rules which apply to your home. If you intend to change the property radically or install windows that protrude above the roofline, then speak to your local planning department to make sure you don’t break any rules.
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