SHGC

Comparing North American Window Frames to European Frames

Posted on April 18,2015 by Stephen Thwaites in certified window

[Editor's note: The author of this article, Stephen Thwaites, is a window manufacturer. His company, Thermotech Fiberglass Fenestration, is located in Ottawa, Ontario.]

Presumptive European Superiority Syndrome

Posted on April 18,2015 by Stephen Thwaites in glazing

UPDATED on October 22, 2014 with an Addendum.

[Editor's note: The author of this article, Stephen Thwaites, is a window manufacturer. His company, Thermotech Fiberglass Fenestration, is located in Ottawa, Ontario.]

Most of the world, especially the green building community, assumes that “European” implies “more energy-efficient.” When it comes to windows, this automatic presumption of superior energy efficiency is both so common and so misplaced that it deserves a name: the Presumptive European Superiority Syndrome.

PHIUS Posts Window Data

Posted on April 18,2015 by ScottG in glazing

Passive House Institute U.S. has posted detailed performance data about windows online for ready access by builders and designers. The Certified Data for Windows program is organized by manufacturer, and includes key values such as the window's solar heat gain coefficient, its center-of-glass U-factor, and its whole-window installed U-factor.

Smart Glass Maker Opens New Plant

Posted on April 18,2015 by ScottG in automatic glazing

The manufacturer of a type of glass that can be electronically tinted has opened a new manufacturing plant in Minnesota that can produce 4 million sq. ft. of glass a year in sizes up to 5 ft. by 10 ft. SageGlass said the 324,000-sq. ft. plant in Faribault, Minn., is the largest of its kind in the world. It was built to LEED Silver standards.

New Low-e Coating Would Boost Glass Performance

Posted on April 18,2015 by ScottG in glass

Public and private researchers in Oregon have been awarded a $150,000 grant to continue work on a new coating process for architectural glass that would reflect infrared radiation without blocking as much visible light as current coatings.

Green Basics Skylights

Do Europeans Make Better Windows Than We Do?

Posted on April 18,2015 by ScottG in Passivhaus window

It should come as no surprise that Europe, home of the Passivhaus standard, produces some outstanding windows. Some builders of high-efficiency houses in North America turn to European window manufacturers for their glazing, even though some U.S. and Canadian producers also offer high-performance products of their own. Is there a way to compare the performance data on windows from these two sources? That’s what Steve Young, now planning a Passive House in Climate Zone 5, would like to know.

Looking Through Windows — Part 6

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-961160 in Bieber

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the tenth article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.] Enough suspense on windows. It’s a Bieber! And yes, that’s our final decision. We’ve made a sizable cash deposit and started precise shop drawings for the windows.

Looking Through Windows — Part 1

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-961160 in glazing

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a [no-glossary]Passivhaus[/no-glossary] in Maine. This is the fifth article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.] When we first began looking at windows for our Passivhaus project, we started with a list of 15 window manufacturers. We whittled the list down to two: Schüco, which on paper looked like the best European-style window, and Pella, the best North American style window.

Insulated Storm Windows?

Posted on April 18,2015 by AlexWilson in SHGC

I’ve done a lot of digging into window options in the past few months — not only for a special report on windows that BuildingGreen published, but also for the renovation of the early-19th-Century farmhouse that my wife and I recently purchased.

Calculating Cooling Loads

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in air conditioning

A few decades ago, residential air conditioning was very rare in colder areas of the U.S., and cooling load calculations were usually unnecessary. These days, however, new U.S. homes routinely include air conditioning equipment, even in Minnesota, so most U.S. builders are faced with the need to calculate cooling loads.

Window Performance 2 — the Magic of Low-e Coatings

Posted on April 18,2015 by AlexWilson in glass

Last week I wrote about the early strategies window manufacturers employed to improve energy performance: adding extra layers of glass and increasing the thickness of the airspace between the layers of glass. This week we'll look at a more revolutionary change to window design that appeared in the 1980s: low-emissivity coatings.

Are High-Performance Windows Worth Their High Cost?

Posted on April 18,2015 by ScottG in glazing

Randy George is in the final planning stages for a new house he will be building this summer in Vermont, and from the sound of it he won't have much trouble staying warm through those long winters. In addition to R-45 walls, an R-65 roof and R-20 slab, the house will have air infiltration rates lower than one air change per hour at 50 pascals of depressurization. Although not quite meeting the Passivhaus standard, that's extremely tight construction.

All About Glazing Options

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in glazing

Everybody has an opinion on windows, and there’s a lot to talk about. Which frame material do you prefer: wood or fiberglass? Do you like double-hungs, sliders, or casements? Who provides better warranty service, Marvin or Pella? Window selection is a complicated topic, so I'll approach the issue in small bites. In this article I’ll focus on glazing.

In Search of the Most Energy-Efficient Windows

Posted on April 18,2015 by ScottG in fiberglass window

It seems like a very long time ago, doesn't it, that windows were considered simple building components? As long as they opened and closed and let in sunlight most of us were content. We know now that windows are anything but simple. They're an essential part of an energy efficient building envelope; they must simultaneously admit sunlight (and a certain amount of solar energy — but not too much), minimize heat loss or gain, prevent drafts, and last a generation or two.

Choosing Triple-Glazed Windows

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in Canadian window

Since 1977, when Sweden introduced its stringent energy code, almost all new homes in Sweden have been equipped with triple-glazed windows. Here in the U.S., where energy codes are more lax, triple-glazed windows are still rare. For a minority of U.S. builders, however — especially cold-climate builders of superinsulated homes — triple-glazed windows are considered essential. Since few U.S. manufacturers offer high-solar-gain triple-glazed windows, most Americans get these windows from Canadian manufacturers.

Architects Discuss Passive Solar Design

Posted on April 18,2015 by ChrisBriley in orientation

It's time once again to share a drink with our two podcasting Maine architects, Chris Briley and Phil Kaplan. In the latest episode of their Green Architects’ Lounge series, Chris and Phil discuss passive solar design as they sip glasses of Philadelphia Brown Ale. After explaining why the glass used for beer bottles should have a low solar heat gain coefficient, Chris and Phil get down to business.

Windows That Perform Better Than Walls

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in glazing

UPDATED on March 18, 2015 The common perception that windows are “energy holes” is a bad rap. Since today’s high-solar-gain triple-glazed windows gather more heat than they lose, good windows perform better than an insulated wall. After all, a wall can only lose energy, while windows can gain energy during the day to balance energy lost at night.

Tying the Window-Purchase Tax Credit to Energy Star – One More Time

Posted on April 18,2015 by Fretboard in Energy Star

One of the good things about recently proposed legislation that would tie federal tax credits on the purchase price of windows to Energy Star criteria is that the legislation makes ecological and economic sense.

Hot-Climate Design

Posted on April 18,2015 by user-756436 in air conditioning

People who live in Florida or Texas often accuse energy-efficiency experts of having a cold-climate bias. They’re right: most energy-saving tips are written with cold-climate buildings in mind — perhaps understandably, since Americans spend about twice as much for residential heating as they do for cooling. Whatever the origins of this pervasive cold-climate bias, it’s time to rectify the situation with a few hot-climate design tips.

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