Serious Materials Windows
Wendy Koch of USA Today has detailed the lessons she learned in her journey to green her home in Washington D.C. suburb of McLean, Virginia. Wonderful lessons for everyone – no matter where you live. Wendy’s #7 lesson is one to highlight: Not all green makes sense. Economic sense, that is. What pays back the most? What will save the most money? Wendy weighed energy efficiency options with alternative energy creation options. She ruled out windmills altogether, and compared geothermal heat pumps, high efficiency gas furnaces, and then turned to look at…..the window. Her findings:
Perhaps surprisingly, we’ll save almost as much energy as we would have with geothermal by switching from double-pane Jeld-Wen windows to super-efficient SeriousWindows, which have an insulating film.
So our green home, modeled to earn top ratings, won’t have any chic green features such as solar panels, windmills or geothermal heat pumps.
The lesson learned is super-insulating windows pay back. In many cases, certainly Wendy’s, more than anything else you can do. The insulating film of SeriousWindows is one of several features of our high R-value framing systems that deliver higher insulation across the whole, full frame, so your heating and cooling doesn’t literally fly out the window. Unlike triple pane windows that can deliver higher R-value than your standard single pane (R-1) or dual pane (R-2) windows – but with a ton of drawbacks – we make dual chamber, triple chamber, and quad chamber windows that outperform old technology like dual and triple pane. So you save money, and we all save energy.
Another interesting lesson Wendy learned is lesson #8: Think passive.
She explains the concept of “Passiv Haus” – or Passive House (in the U.S.).
New to the USA, but common in Germany, are “passive” homes that need almost no energy, because they are so well insulated. They use mechanical ventilation to circulate air and avoid sick-building syndrome. If we were just starting, I’d want a completely passive home. We’re making ours as passive as possible.
We are huge supporters and enablers of the Passive House movement. Critical to a “passive” home is super-insulated windows (remember, anywhere between 15% – 40% of your heating and cooling costs are flying out of your windows!). What to look for in a window? Three key elements:
- High R-value (R-5 or more)
- Glass packages that maximize and minimize solar gain (depending on the orientation of your home relative to the sun and the climate zone you live in)
- Best-in-class structural ratings (air and water infiltration). The lower the better. Ours are as tight as zero (yes, really…ZERO).
Speaking of Passive House, Oprah highlighted an Oregon home that had ‘gone passive’ during her Earth Day special. That would be the home of Tad Everhart, a Passive House consultant himself. Replacing his windows with fiberglass-framed high R-value SeriousWindows were one of the measures. His home now consumes 90% less energy and is far more comfortable.
Great lessons and wonderful examples to commemorate Earth Day 2010 – in the greenest of green ways. Save energy = saving money. (NOTE: This article is from the blog http://blog.seriousmaterials.com and can be accessed directly at http://blog.seriousmaterials.com/?p=1126).
Entry filed under: Builders, Building Green, EnergyStar, Financial Incentives, Insulation, Materials, Sustainable Design, Tax Credits. Tags: Best pay back, Energy Efficiency, low-cost sustainability, low-tech sustainability, Serious Materials, Serious Windows, super-insulating windows, windows.