Windows and Weatherization

Increasing Energy Efficiency


Why spend a lot on heating and cooling only to see that energy leak out your windows? Up to 30% of residential heat loss and heat gain occurs via windows alone. 

Improving home energy efficiency through weatherization may involve air sealing, insulation, door and window upgrades, and ventilation improvements.

Weatherization lowers energy costs, keeps out wildfire smoke, pollutants, and allergens, and may lower the cost of a heat pump because a well-insulated and ventilated home requires a less expensive heat pump. It also may avoid the need to expand ducts for a cold climate heat pump.photo of a hand holding a thermal camera pointing at an array of windows in an empty room

IMPORTANT Federal (IRA) Energy Efficiency TAX CREDIT Limits: Existing home & principal residence (U.S.) only. No new construction or rentals. House, houseboat, mobile home, cooperative apartment, condominium, and manufactured homes are okay. The overall total limit for an efficiency tax credit in one year is $3,200: $1,200 for any combination of home envelope improvements (windows/doors/skylights, insulation, electrical) plus $2,000 for heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. (Geothermal heat pumps are eligible for a separate tax credit).  ENERGY STAR example of how to maximize these tax credits (scroll to bottom of ENERGY STAR page).  See below for information on REBATES. See Internal Revenue Service Product and Efficiency Requirements for financial incentives before you make any purchases.

 

Energy Audits

How much energy and money might you be losing due to a leaking house? Take this quiz from the Building Performance Institute.

Next step? Find a certified Building Performance Institute contractor to help you identify and fix leaks. Some electricity providers and rural electric coops offer free in-person, virtual or guided energy “check ups”. These tend to be basic audits that are definitely useful but might not give you the kind of information you need to size a heat pump or where to add insulation. This more elaborate audit is called a whole home performance audit.  So it is good to ask about the scope of the audit and whether the auditor is BPI-certified just so you know what you are getting. The Residential Energy Services Network is another way to find auditors. Want to become an energy auditor? Santa Fe Community College offers BPI training, and hopefully an Energy Auditor program starting Jan. 2025. ICAST offers a free online introductory Residential Energy Professional Course. More information on energy audits from the Department of Energy.

  • The free PNM Home Energy Checkup program is available to all single-family homes regardless of income within the PNM service territory. Each home can qualify for a checkup once every 10 years. This is a basic audit that will qualify you for an efficiency kit and rebates.
  • Xcel provides its New Mexico customers with free energy audits and free or low-cost energy saving installations and repairs. A contractor may do a blower door and duct blaster test.  It offers a list of contractors who do audits.
  • New Mexico customers of El Paso Electric can obtain an energy assessment through its service provider and then receive rebates on energy saving repairs as described below.
  • Energy audits are covered under the 30% IRA 25C tax credit up to $150. All panel upgrades and weatheriziation projects are capped at $1,200 per year.

Doors, Windows, and Window Treatments

Photo of an adobe building with a blue wooden doorResources:

EcoWatch All About Windows

Dept. of Energy (DOE):  Update or Replace Windows

DOE: Storm Windows are a lower-cost option for replacing windows.

Into the weeds: Energy Performance Testing, Certification, and Labeling for windows, doors, and skylights

Shopping: ENERGY STAR Windows, Doors & Skylights.

Consumer Reports Buying Guide

 

Rebates:

ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder

El Paso Electric rebates for ENERGY STAR Windows. 

PNM customers check here.

Low-income New Mexicans will be eligible for Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) rebates for windows, doors and weatherization via the Home Energy Rebates (HER) program administered by the state. Check for updates here.

Tax Credits:

Inflation Reduction Act nonrefundable 25C tax credit is 30% of the cost of the materials (not installation). Must meet ENERGY STAR Most Efficient criteria  for your climate zone.

  •  Windows and skylights up to $600/year.
  • Doors up to $250 per door, $500 total.  
  • Claim the credits using the IRS Form 5695.
  • The maximum federal efficiency tax credit you can take in one year is $3,200.  This breaks down to:
    • $1,200 for home envelope improvements (windows/doors/skylights, insulation, electrical) plus furnaces, boilers and central air conditioners. 
    • $2,000 for  heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and biomass stoves/boilers.

New Mexico Sustainable Building Tax Credit

The State of New Mexico refundable tax credit for ENERGY STAR Windows and Doors (no skylights) is more generous and less restrictive than the IRA. Read this first.

  • Low-Income (200% under Federal Poverty guidelines) and affordable housing:  100% of product + installation up to $1000/window or door.
  • Others: 50% of product + installation up to $500/window or door.
  • Technical requirements (Current Version 7 requirements)
  • When you submit your paperwork EMNRD for the tax certificate, you must submit a separate application for each window and each door

 

 

 

 

Photo of honeycomb window blindSome WINDOW COVERINGS qualify for the IRA tax credit – 30% of the purchase price including sales tax (but not measuring or installation costs), up to $1,200. Hunter Douglas. Alta (made by Hunter Douglas). Comfortex. (let us know if you find any other companies!)

Some WINDOW FILMS also qualify for the IRA residential energy tax credit (form 5695) as well as commercial buildings (179D tax credit).  They reduce solar heat gain through windows in summer, but also block incoming solar heat in winter, so are best used in areas with short winters, according to the Department of Energy.  Note that the type of window the film is applied to affects whether the film qualifies for a tax credit.  Madico Certificate. XPEL info. PNM offers at-the-register discounts for heat control film.

Outside or inside solar screens can be used seasonally to reduce solar gain. This can be a DIY project using velcro-like reclosable fasteners and solar screen fabric. We have not been able to confirm that these qualify for the IRA tax credit.

Learn more about energy-efficient window coverings.

Thermal Management: Shading, Sealing, Insulating

Adding insulation saves the average home 15% in energy costs.

CleanTechnica: New Eco-Friendly Home Insulation Cuts Heating & Cooling Costs

Rebates:

El Paso Electric offers its New Mexico customers rebates on duct sealing, insulation, air sealing, solar attic fans, solar screens, cool roofs and smart thermostats. They also list service providers to do the installations.  Low income households may qualify for free energy saving products or services. They also have a page for agencies that may help you pay your electric bill.

As part of its energy audit, Xcel may provide free duct sealing and reduced priced attic insulation. It also provides rebates on  LED bulbs, thermostats and a thermostat heating/cooling energy lowering rewards program.

PNM offers instant discounts at the register on weatherization products.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers weatherization projects under its electrification rebates for low- and middle-income households up to $1,600. Total electrification rebates are capped at $14,000. The rebates and tax credits cover different weatherization projects.

Photo of a woman caulking a window frameTax Credits:

State of New Mexico refundable tax credit ($1,000-2,000) for sealing and insulation products (Jan 1, 2021-Dec. 31, 2027). Insulation technical requirements. 

The IRA 25C tax credit is available for 30% of the cost of materials (not installation) of insulation and air sealing up to $1,200 each year. All panel upgrades and weatheriziation projects are capped at $1,200 per year.  Qualified products and more on rules.

Weatherization for Low Income Residents

Photo of yellow manufactured home with American flag

Also see Resources for Low-Income Residents

Low income residents may get financial weatherization assistance from the New Mexico Energy Smart Weatherization Program Home.  It  provides energy-saving retrofits and home modifications at no charge to eligible homeowners and renters.  If you rent, your landlord must consent to having the home weatherized

The HOME Rehabilitation Program provides home repairs or accessibility modifications to homeowners who lack the resources to do so. Services include: energy-saving measures that help improve the efficiency of the heating and cooling of the home and reduce utility bills, repair or replacement of  furnaces, ducting or water heaters, roof replacement and mobile home replacement, measures to bring the home up to code  and utility connections.  There is a similar program for  Veterans.

For programs to assist with paying your utility bills, visit Resources for Low-Income Residents