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In addition to picking the correct window for your house and region, there are some other important things to consider to make your house as energy efficient as possible. Window orientation and shading will help you determine the relevance of a window’s solar heat gain coefficient based on solar exposure during the summer and winter. Helpful diagrams exist at www. Click “guidance” and then “new homes.” Also, it goes without saying that proper installation and flashing techniques are imperative to a properly functioning window. Ensure you are using the manufacturer’s recommendations when installing. (See “Perfect Install,” below.)


High-performance windows provide reduced utility bills, and they reduce the peak heating and cooling loads. The peak load for a building is the maximum requirement for heating or cooling at one time. These loads determine the size of the furnace, heat pump, air conditioner, and fans that must be installed. Reducing peak load may allow homeowners to install a smaller HVAC system, which costs less.

Properly sized HVAC systems allow for a number of benefits. First, by running more constantly, smaller HVAC systems provide the best air quality and comfort. Second, HVAC systems that are more closely matched to peak cooling loads achieve better dehumidifi cation, which prevents mold. Several computation procedures exist for proper sizing of HVAC equipment. The most prominent, which are recommended by the Energy Star Homes program, are ACCA Manual J and the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals.

To keep pace with increasingly advanced glazings, window and door makers have fine tuned the science of installation. That’s a good thing because you can put the best-made, highest-rated window in a new home and still feel a cold draft next to the frame. But if that happens, chances are it’s your fault, not the window maker’s. You didn’t follow the precise instructions they provide, free of charge. It used to be that window installation tips were often simplistic—or considered the builder’s responsibility. But companies such as Pella, Kolbe & Kolbe, and Marvin have poured a lot of research, experience, and money into educating end users about their products. The Internet, of course, has made that process much easier. But the building science of installation has improved alongside new flashing systems, expanding foam sealants, and clad and composite window frames. Take a look at the websites below (and the sample instructions we’ve pulled directly from their pages), and you’re likely to learn some best practices that will save you labor, keep you from having to reinstall a window, and even improve energy efficiency. They also include tips that will help increase the product’s durability.

PELLA Sample Instruction: “Wood/Plastic Composite shims work very well, they are easier to use and will not absorb water, unlike some wood shims.”

MARVIN (INTEGRITY LINE) Sample Instruction: “If a flexible adhesive membrane is not used to pan the sill, be sure to properly seal the bottom corners of the rough opening.”

KOLBE & KOLBE Sample Instruction: “Primed wood and metal must remain dry and finishing should be completed immediately.”


Feel free to use “fixed glass” in your homes because you can still deliver good ventilation. This unit has a hidden screen system that allows windows to open evenly on all sides, creating passive airflow. The unit meets Energy Star ratings, provides ventilation when positioned strategically with other windows and is ergonomically designed.

The 100 Series product features an economical price and energy-saving performance. Made with Fibrex, a composite of sawdust and polymer, and new SmartSun low-e glass, which qualifies for tax credits.

GreenBuilder 11.2010

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