These window products have savings in mind. For some, it is about saving time, money, labor, and maintenance, as with a reassembled unitized-curtain-wall system. Others are concerned with saving energy, the environment, or even lives. — Rita Catinella Orrell

New super-insulating windows said to offer highest full-frame R-values in the world, Illustration

An installation of the window

An illustration (top) demonstrates the difference between Center-of-the-Glass (COG) and Full Frame (FF) R-values. A cross section (middle) of the window breaks down its components. An installation of the window (above).

New super-insulating windows said to offer highest full-frame R-values in the world

Serious Materials, the Sunnyvale, California–based developer and manufacturer of sustainable green building materials, has introduced ThermaProof, a new line of windows the firm claims will offer the highest full-frame R-values in the world.

According to Serious Materials’ C.E.O. Kevin Surace, for years window companies have not spoken about the R-values of their products because, simply, they were nothing to brag about. Some high-rise windows, he explains, are as low as a R-1 or R-1.4, offering not much more insulation than no window at all. In May, the company announced its acquisition of Alpen Windows, a recognized leader in high-performance, energy-efficient windows and glass that was awarded a 2007 Top 10 Building Product award by BuildingGreen. While the acquisition brought Alpen’s high R-value center-of-glass technology on board, Serious Materials was already working separately on ThermaProof’s design, says Surace.

ThermaProof is a complete family of windows for residential and commercial construction that offer R-values at R-8, R-11, or R-14 across the entire glass and insulated frame rather than just at the center of the glass. This helps reduce a typical building’s heating and cooling energy use by 20 to 40 percent, resulting in an 8 to 16 percent energy savings. Most building owners will see a return on investment in anywhere from one to five years; while some might see a return in as little as nine months. “This is a true breakthrough in window technology,” says Surace. “There is nothing else at this level that can save this much energy.”

To drive up the R-value of the window, the manufacturer includes one, two, or three layers of mylar to reduce the amount of convection and air flow in the window cavity. In addition, a brand-new spacer technology holds the glass panes apart from each other to create a large insulating gap. A wet seal is used to place the glass in the frame, rather than a dry seal, so there is no heat or cooling loss. Unlike aluminum frames, a new framing system — foamed PVC for residential and insulated fiberglass for commercial — insulates the frames as well as the glass. Finally, “Triple fin” weatherstripping seals everything tightly.

Styles available include double-hung, single-hung, slider, casement, sliding doors, French doors, and storefront. Curtain-wall framing is not currently available, but it will be in the future. Also in development from the company is EcoRock, a completely new type of drywall that will use virtually zero embodied energy in the manufacturing of its core. Serious Materials, Sunnyvale, Calif.

[Reader Service: October 2008 #220]

The new Ultimate Replacement Casement from Marvin Windows and Doors

A chore no more
The new Ultimate Replacement Casement from Marvin Windows and Doors features a wash mode that lets homeowners clean the interior and exterior of a casement window in three simple steps without going outside or using complicated tools. In addition, the window offers a commercial-grade hardware system, large sizing capability, easy installation, and many design options to replace any type of window. Marvin Windows and Doors, Warroad, Minn.

[Reader Service: October 2008 #221]

Unitized-curtain-wall system

Unitized-curtain-wall system
As part of Kawneer's range of unitized solutions, the 2500 PG Unitwall is customizable to fit the individual conditions of each project and is available in stock lengths, preassembled, and glazed. Rapid installation makes the unitized-curtain-wall system ideal for new or remodel projects and shop fabrication facilitates the sorting and recycling of scrap without littering the construction site. The system incorporates a continuous thermal separator and four glazing options. Kawneer, Norcross, Ga.

[Reader Service: October 2008 #222]