There’s no question that installing great new windows in your home can dramatically enhance the appearance of your home. But your windows need to do more than just frame a pretty picture.

Your windows are also an important working element within your home. What they let in and keep out is crucial. You want them to let in the right amount of natural light (while keeping out harmful UV rays).  You also want them to allow adequate ventilation when you want it.

In addition to those things, you want windows that will keep warm air inside in the cold weather months, and keep cool air inside during those hot Michigan summers. That means you want windows that are energy efficient.

Certification programs such as those administered by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and ENERGY STAR provide ratings that indicate a window’s efficiency. You’ll want to be sure that the windows you install have a high rating from those agencies. Your new windows should work hard to save you money by lowering your utility bills.

And for a limited time, you windows can also save you money through tax credits. Congress has extended tax credits for energy conservation through December 31, 2016. To qualify, your windows must meet ENERGY STAR requirements and be installed at your primary residence. This tax credit equals 10% of product cost (excluding installation costs) up to $200 for windows. Click on for more details.

Of course not every benefit can be measured in dollars and cents. One of the biggest benefits your new windows can offer is increased comfort. Not only will you save money on utilities to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but you’ll also be more comfortable in your home when you install high-quality, energy-efficient windows.

With high quality windows, your home will look great from the outside, afford great views from the inside, and provide you with a comfortable place to relax. Make sure the windows you invest in do all of that. Great views are wonderful, but only if you’re comfortable enough to enjoy them.