U-factor

Comparing North American Window Frames to European Frames

Posted on March 06,2015 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 March 06,2015 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 March 06,2015 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.

Green Basics Skylights

Serious Materials Exits the High-Performance Window Business

Posted on March 06,2015 by patrick_mccombe in Heat Mirror

Serious Materials has abandoned its expensive venture into high-performance window manufacturing. Based in Sunnyvale, California, Serious Materials (also known as Serious Energy) entered the building materials market in 2002 with a new sound-proofing drywall called QuietRock. Launched at a time when home construction was booming, the new drywall met with initial success. Serious soon went looking for other building products to sell, including high-performance windows. In 2007 the company acquired Alpen, a manufacturer of fiberglass windows based in Boulder, Colorado.

Do Europeans Make Better Windows Than We Do?

Posted on March 06,2015 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 March 06,2015 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 March 06,2015 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.

How to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 2

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in design temperature

To continue last week’s discussion of heat-loss calculation methods, let’s consider a simple rectangular building, 20 feet by 30 feet, with 8-foot ceilings. Let’s assume it has an 8-foot-high basement with uninsulated concrete walls; the below-grade portion of the basement is 7 feet high, with 1 foot above grade. To keep things simple, we’ll assume that the house has a flat roof, and that each side of the house has two windows (each 3 ft. by 4 ft.) and one door (3 ft. by 7 ft.). The house doesn’t have a chimney.

How to Perform a Heat-Loss Calculation — Part 1

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in heat load

I’m going to devote the next several blogs to a discussion of heat-loss and heat-gain calculations. These calculations are the first step in the design of a home’s heating and cooling system. In order to address this big topic in little bites, I’ll start by discussing heat-loss calculations. I’ll get around to heat-gain calculations and cooling equipment in a future blog.

Window Performance 2 — the Magic of Low-e Coatings

Posted on March 06,2015 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.

Is the Pretty Good House the Next Big Thing?

Posted on March 06,2015 by ab3 in blower door

I love the Pretty Good House concept! The folks up in Maine who've been developing this idea in their monthly green building discussion group (Steve's Garage) have struck a chord with a lot of us who design, build, or verify green homes. The growing complexity and expense of green building and energy programs has led to growing frustration.

Are High-Performance Windows Worth Their High Cost?

Posted on March 06,2015 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 March 06,2015 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 March 06,2015 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 March 06,2015 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.

Serious Energy Buys Republic Windows Factory

Posted on March 06,2015 by user-756436 in Serious Energy

CHICAGO, IL — Serious Energy, a California manufacturer of energy-efficient windows, recently purchased a 125,000-square-foot window factory in Chicago for $1.45 million. The factory became available when its former owner, Republic Windows & Doors, filed for bankruptcy.

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