More and more homeowners demand energy-efficient windows because they lower energy cost and consumption, increase property value, and keep older homes relevant for longer. Stopping there, however, you miss the important step between only improving your own home’s livability and helping the environment as well. Choose energy-efficient windows that are made responsibly too, with sustainable materials, and you bridge the gap.
What is “Green”-certified window?
A “Green”-certified window is a window certified and approved by Green Seal, Inc., meeting the most stringent and comprehensive standards in terms of environmental responsibility. Some of their requirements for windows are:
- Energy efficiency, allowing minimum air leakage in both fixed windows and operable windows;
- Frame and sash components made from sustainable materials that have not been formulated with lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, or hexavalent chromium; and
- Box packaging for windows must contain at least 25% post-consumer material.
Green Seal-certified products limits the use of hazardous chemicals and natural resources while still delivering in performance and function. As a homeowner, you have the right to know that the windows you will be installing are safe for your health and the environment.
If you see this seal on a window, it means it has been made and processed safely with reduced impact on the environment as well as sustainability upon installation.
Green Seal and Fibrex
Fibrex material windows were the first to earn the Green Seal of Approval for windows. Patented back in 1992 by window and door manufacturer Andersen Corporation, the composite material is a blend of 60% thermoplastic polymer and 40% reclaimed wood fiber. Fibrex is said to be the “smart alternative to vinyl,” with better durability and insulating capabilities, and a low-maintenance alternative to wood while still offering the material’s aesthetic appeal.
Having green windows extends well beyond just having a frame made from green material. After all, a window also has other components. Being the biggest part of a window, however, glazing contributes a lot to how green a window’s performance is. How? For the most part, window glass can help stabilize indoor temperature. Stable indoor temperature is a hallmark of an energy-efficient home because it means electricity is not needlessly used to ensure your comfort.
There are different ways by which glazing can stabilize indoor temperature and one of them is the use of low-emissivity coating. Low-E glass achieves this by keeping solar heat at bay. By preventing a home from warming up uncontrollably during the day, low-E windows keep cooling requirements down. Window glass itself can be made from reclaimed materials and that adds to a unit’s green quotient.
If all homes in the US were to choose energy-efficient windows made from sustainable materials and manufacturing, Green Seal, Inc. estimates a 200-gallon equivalent of oil in energy savings per household per year. Choosing responsibly manufactured, green, windows is good for everyone. Make sure to look for window manufacturers that are determined in making that choice with you.
Alex Esler works as a marketing manager for Renewal by Andersen of Denver and Colorado Springs. As a subsidiary of the Andersen Corporation, their local, family owned offices in Southern New England, Greater Philadelphia and Colorado make up the largest replacement window company in a network of 100 Renewal by Andersen Dealers. Always eager to help, Alex shares her experiences and knowledge through the company blog.