American-made Passivhaus-certified windows
I am posting in regards to the availability of American made Passive House windows for the U.S market. We are a small window/door manufacture in the Midwest mainly focused on energy efficient European designs. We have been building wooden German style Tilt/Turn windows, Lift/Slide doors, Entrance doors, Fold & Slide doors as well as custom entrances. Currently we manufacture our products in three thicknesses 68, 78, 92 mm however we do not offer a window that has been certified by the German or U.S. Passive House organizations. We have been tossing the idea around for some time now that maybe we should obtain these certifications and offer a wood euro style door and window to the U.S. We are aware that most individuals looking for such products are importing these due to the fact there are no local sources for these products, however there could be, we have products that are very close performance wise and with a little tweaking we could easily be where we need to be to compete with our European competitors.
We realize there may be a potential market for these products, we are just a little uneasy regarding these types of products due to the cost of components, labor and whether or not builders would be willing to accept this reality and purchase locally. Isn’t one of the goals of building green finding local sources for products and materials?
Below are a series of questions we would like any and all feedback for those willing to share their thoughts and insight.
Let’s ask the questions:
1. What features would you like to see in your ideal window? (obvious we cannot satisfy everyone’s needs)
2. What features are an absolute must?
3. Would you be willing to work with a small local manufacture if he was flexible enough to provide the product & service YOU are looking for? This is very popular in Europe where there are thousands of small window/door manufactures.
4. Would it make sense to have Window units certified for multiple NA climate zones? Or focus on the climate zones where most of the Passive construction is concentrated?
5. Regarding exterior finishes/cladding. Solid wood with Exterior rated finishes/paints or Alum. Clad shells?
6. Ability to specify your glass options based on facing direction and solar heat gain goals, how important is this? Is this a difficult request with the European or Canadian companies?
7. Lead times…what are realistic lead times acceptable to most, realizing that all projects are different?
8. Gas filling of insulated glass units: The simple fact that any change in elevation less than or greater than 1,500 ft. from where the sealed unit is manufactured and its final destination leads to installed breather tubes and in many cases for proper glazing these unit must be glazed at the job site. Is this an acceptable practice? So many times we are unable to provide inert gas fills due to elevation challenges.
9. Insect Screens? YES or NO. Fixed or roller?
10. Integrated Exterior Shading systems, Roller shutters, blinds, etc.?
11. Is there a need for a wood or wood/clad entrance door system? What are we looking for?
Thank you all for your time and consideration.
Advantage Architectural Woodwork