Sunday, March 16, 2008

Windows Are In

After a bit of delay, the Inline fiberglass windows were almost all installed on Friday. The front door has also been relocated. We went with white windows to match the existing windows. The existing windows were replaced relatively recently, so we decided to keep them. It will be interesting to see how the new windows measure against the existing, as far as heat loss.

Mazzy and Cormac are hanging out in Kerstin's bedroom. I love the great window wall and balcony! As much as we hate to think about window treatments, we just might have to have something, otherwise our house might be a very popular tourist attraction.

This is the corner window at the living room. Because the windows are installed from the exterior, this space is only accessible now to those who can squeeze through a crack about 10" wide. (Thus, this photo was taken by Mazzy) I imagine that Michlitsch Brothers will be removing the corner of the existing house on Monday to open up this space to the existing house spaces. They were waiting for more enclosure on the new spaces before exposing all the existing spaces to this great MN weather.

View towards kitchen windows from new dining room. The wall the left is the existing wall that will be removed. The back left corner is the 10" gap that Mazzy fit through.
Okay - I have to add a bit more information to this post to make it more than a newsflash.
If you read one of our earlier blogposts about window selection, you know that we spent quite a bit of time researching window options, manufacturers and installers. After we selected Inline Fiberglass, our work continued. We spent time working with the glazing gurus at Inline to select the right type of glass and low-e coatings for each of the windows - depending on orientation, function, amount of shading and desired performance characteristics. In general, Low-E coatings come in 2 types, hard coat and soft coat. They each do different things, or rather, the same thing differently, relative to improving energy performance of the windows. On the North facing glass we are not concerned about solar heat gain but rather are concerned about heat loss. So we have two soft coat low-e coatings one of which is positioned to reflect heat back into the interior of the house. On the East and South facing windows, we are trying to use the windows for some passive solar heat gain collection in the winter- and the windows are well protected/shaded in the summer, so we are using hard coat low-e coatings (2 coats on the east and 1 on the south). On the west facing windows, we are using 2 soft coat low-e coatings (but differently than on the North) in order to reflect heat away from to glass as it is unprotected and the sun angle is generally very low in the evenings. This all means that we will have excellent U Values - in the .17 to .21 range for the entire assembly, not just center of glass - depending on orientation and if they are fixed or operable. This will dramatically improve the windows' performance - especially in tough Minnesota winters. They would have done so already - just with standard coatings available, but working with Inline to spectrally select the glazing and low-e coatings helped to squeeze all the energy savings we can possibly get out of the windows. This is a no-brainer. We're paying for the windows anyway, we don't have to pay extra for a hard coat vs a soft coat, so we might as well design the glass to work as well as it can - helping us to be as energy efficient as possible. You should all try that too.

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