As windows and doors can account for up to 25 per cent of total heat loss in a home, it is no surprise most families in this challenge focused heavily on this area. Before the Live Net Zero challenge even began, the MacInnis-Boudreau household was already well into home envelope upgrades, including replacing the weather stripping on most windows. However, as they live in a 1930s-built home with drafty windows, they knew there was still room for improvement. Thus, they decided to replace the windows where condensation had built up — a sign that the panes could no longer prevent heat transfer.
The Proulx-Coll household also sought to replace their foggy windows. But as they soon discovered, replacing windows can be expensive: they received quotes above $20,000 to replace all the ones on their main floor. Their solution? Hiring a contractor to simply change out the glass — ones that are properly sealed and have argon gas in them- effectively increases thermal insulation efficiency and prevents condensation. They also explored other affordable options to insulate other windows in their home, such as using heat-shrink film. There, they attached double-sided tape to the frame, stuck the plastic film to the tape, and then heated it with a hair dryer to shrink it tightly across the window – effectively adding extra insulation.
Still, some families decided that replacing their old windows entirely was an investment they felt they could make. The Marshes, for example, purchased new triple-glazed windows, which offer superior insulation, noise reduction and moisture control.