This house gets great light, but the old windows letting that light in also let in a lot of drafts. I was on the hunt for good-looking windows that were made from good stuff. New windows serve as much more than letting in light. They are now rated for UV protection, heat transference, and insulating qualities. You can make a real environmental impact with your window choice, and my first concern was with the material makeup of the window itself.
Windows are made from a variety of materials, and different climates might require one type of material over another. There is wood, metal (usually aluminum), aluminum clad wood, fiberglass, Fibrex, and vinyl.
The one material I knew I was going to avoid was the dreaded VINYL. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is one of the most environmentally hazardous materials, from production, product life, and product disposal.
So, I kept my search limited to wood, aluminum, or a combo of both. Now remember my earlier post regarding the brickwork for the front deck? Well, for the windows I decided I would leave the brick side replacement widows on the front to other professionals! That way if the were any issues, they would not be mine.
My search led me to Pella. They were the best eco-fit in three ways:
1: They offer an aluminum clad, wooden window. So I could avoid vinyl.
2: They have four types of Argon filled; Low- E rated glass for different applications.
3: They are Energy Star rated.
Argon acts as an insulating agent, and the Low-E coating reflects heat energy. This was important to me because the front windows get half days of sun/heat and half days of shade. These extremes are minimized inside the house by the combo of the argon and Low E coating.
The other benefits of going with Pella are that they were in my price range, and they were a large enough to have a crew come in and bang it out in two days. With the decision made and the details sorted, the crew set to work and they were finished before I knew it. They were polite, clean and efficient. And the new windows are larger with no muntins, or inner framework. No frames = more light.
I'll put an interior plantation shutter type treatment on the inside, but more on that later.