A Year of Better Windows and Bigger Collaborations

Since the dawn of the “green movement,” countless manufacturers and companies have looked to make their mark on the world through sustainability. In its 10th year, DWM’s Annual Green Awards prove that many of those efforts are collaborative, as the door and window industries are determined to continue pressing forward.

From the next, super-efficient windows, to environmentally-minded projects and efforts, we’ve carefully researched the field in order to bring you the best.

Innovation: Westeck Windows and Doors

For its innovative use of an all-natural material as a means for all-wood Passive House windows

Passive House, a voluntary system of standards for energy efficiency, has existed for decades, but under the impetus of Passivhous-Institut has made its way to more doors and windows in recent years than ever before. Most of those products are made of vinyl and other man-made materials and those that are wood-based have been confined to Europe, but we were pleasantly surprised to find an all-wood window listed in the institute’s database this year that’s Canadian produced. Westeck’s PH Wood Casement window is the only North American-produced, operable, all-wood window listed and company officials say they did it by using cork.

In addition to an EnerEdge spacer system, Westeck’s new Passive House Certified 6100 Series outswing and picture-style windows integrate 100 percent renewable cork as a thermal break around their insulating glass spacer system and the middle, outward-facing surface of their frames. Equipped with triple-pane glass, the design achieves UW 0.80 ratings.

Beyond thermal performance, there are other attributes we feel earn the 6100 Series additional points toward stewardship. For instance, the company’s Thermacork Insulator utilizes binding agents that are a natural part of the material, requiring no additional polymers or adhesives. The product is also naturally heat and flame retardant, and comes from ethically-sourced materials, which can be composted.

PERFORMANCE: Guardian Vacuum IG

For its ability to add cutting-edge performance to a wider range of windows

Initially introduced in June 2018 primarily for commercial applications, Guardian Vacuum IG (VIG) has since been offered up to residential, where it offers maximum insulating performance in hard to reach areas (like historical projects, where single-pane thickness often is required). And while we found at least one other VIG product available in the U.S., Guardian’s product is the only to be produced domestically, giving it an added bonus in carbon footprint measurements. Officials also report that the company is the only International Green Construction Code-certified manufacturer of VIG units with multi-spacer systems and its product is the only eight-millimeter-thick VIG certified by Safety Glazing Certification Council for safety glass applications, opening it up to even more uses.

While standard IG units typically are around 3/4-inch thick, producing U-factor measurements of around 0.20 to 0.25, on average, Guardian’s VIG offers approximately the same thickness as single-pane glass, while producing R-14 (0.07 U-factor) performance. The glass, which is as little as 8 mm thick, utilizes a vacuum voided and sealed space that’s approximately as narrow as a business card. And because the glass in Guardian’s VIG units is tempered, the company is allowed to use fewer VIG spacers (tiny “wafers” that hold apart the lites of glass amid the pressures of a vacuum), reducing the effects of thermal bridging.

In practical terms, “In current applications, there has been measured a 15- to 17-degree difference on interior surfaces compared to standard insulating glass units,” says Greg Kemenah, director of Guardian VIG LLC.

REDUCE AND REUSE: Solar Innovations

For its focus on energy efficiency and a culture of reuse and recycling

According to company officials, one of Solar Innovations’ core mantras includes “Live and Work Green,” and a close inspection of the door and window manufacturer’s corporate practices leads us to believe that it’s living up to that standard—both through the design of its facility and corporate practices.

The company’s corporate office is LEED Gold Certified and it achieves that status through features like natural daylighting, natural ventilation (via operable windows and ridge vents), LED lighting, higher performance insulation and (of course) high performance, low-E glass throughout. In addition to those measures, the building includes an array of 2,200 photovoltaic panels, producing 85 percent of its electricity.

In addition to energy conservation, Solar Innovations’ staff also participates in programs that reduce and reuse waste, making its operations “98 percent landfill free,” according to company officials. It achieves this by recycling most of its leftover manufacturing and office materials. Food is composted to fertilize the company’s lawn and onsite greenhouses, which are fed by cisterns that collect rainwater. In the field, the company recycles the majority of demolished materials from service and replacement projects.

As an added bonus, we discovered that Solar Innovations’ office space is furnished with used, recycled and reconditioned desks, chairs and cubicles. Lastly, because most standard trash bags aren’t recyclable, company officials say they’ve been eliminated in all areas but the cafeteria, while vinegar and water are the products of choice for cleaning.

COMMITMENT: Marvin Windows and Doors

For producing more “Most Efficient” windows than any other manufacturer

As a privately-held and family-owned business, officials for Marvin Windows and Doors say the company is committed to sustainable business practices, including environment-friendly manufacturing processes and wood products produced from responsibly managed forests. The company also hangs its marketing on “unprecedented performance” and in our product research we found it has the numbers to back that suggestion.

Marvin has more products listed among Energy Star’s Most Efficient rankings than any other—all of which are rated for their performance across four climate zones. In all, 48 of Marvin’s products make the list, which is five more than any other company, including windows with U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient ratings as low as 0.12. As an added bonus, 23 of those products carry performance ratings of 50 or higher.

ACHIEVEMENT:Andersen Corp.

For three decades’ worth of awards and employees who know how to get their hands dirty

When it comes to promoting awareness for sustainability initiatives, Andersen Corp. is hard to beat, so it comes as no surprise that the company has seen its share of awards in 2018, grabbing our attention.

At the corporate level, Andersen holds an enterprise-wide goal of reducing its energy use by 20 percent by the year 2020, using 2013 as a baseline. And on its way to that goal, the company received the EPA’s Energy Star award in 2018 for its corporate office—an award that’s granted to buildings using 35 percent less energy and generating 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than similar structures.

Also in 2018, the company’s employees have proven that they aren’t afraid to get involved in its initiatives, even by getting their hands dirty. For instance, in June 2018, Andersen celebrated its fifth annual Nature Preservation Day, with ten days of volunteer activities across North America—including a total of 22 events focused on environmental education, drawing the participation of more than 400 employees. Hands-on efforts included clearing of invasive species, planting of trees and flowers, and cleanup. To boot, the event also included a $20,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy toward forest restoration.

“Nature Preservation Day provides employee volunteers with an opportunity to step outside of their daily routine and connect with nature in meaningful ways that also positively impact their local communities,” says Eliza Clark, director of sustainability and environmental with Andersen. “We hope our passion for corporate citizenship inspires others to take action to preserve our natural environment for future generations.”

In April 2018, Andersen was recognized for the fourth time by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy with the Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award. The award is considered Energy Star’s highest honor for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency achievements.

PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT:Judy Landwehr, product manager, Masonite Architectural

For her efforts to educate and support the wood doors industry

As product manager for Masonite’s architectural division, Landwehr says she views her role as one that expands beyond just her company, to include the full sustainability movement of the wood door industry. For this reason, she’s worked tirelessly for education.

“I believe that education is key to everything,” Landwehr says.

In 2008, as U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Standard set in, Landwehr recognized the need to educate all aspects of the supply chain. She began by leading the charge for wood door distributors, helping them to achieve FSC Chain of Custody certification and ensuring their abilities to contribute to various credit and certification programs—a service that was provided free of charge. She then converted those efforts into an established, FSC certification assistance program, including turn-key packets for wood door distributors and dealers to use, ensuring they could meet audit requirements and third-party certification. More than 200 distributors have taken advantage of her efforts over the years, the majority of which she says remain certified.

As an advocate for sustainability, Landwehr also has authored numerous articles over the years, including a glossary of green standards and terminology, updates to LEED reference guides and numerous other works outlining the roles of wood doors toward sustainability credits. She was the project lead for Masonite’s Architectural Environmental Product Declaration and, for eight years, administrator for other third-party certifications, including recycled content, Forest Stewardship Council and Scientific Certification Systems Indoor Advantage Gold certification.

Today, Landwehr continues to educate and provide training on sustainability-related topics for her company, its distributors and other members of the wood door industry.


For setting the high mark among entry doors

When it comes to efficiency among entry doors, perhaps no manufacturer has pushed the envelope harder or farther than Sugarcreek, Ohio-based ProVia. Though it isn’t a product that’s new to 2018, because the company’s Embarq series of fiberglass entry doors continues to set the high mark (or low mark we should say, via its U-factor rating), we feel the product is still worth mentioning.

Introduced in January 2017, Embarq features a U-factor rating of 0.10. To reach those measurements, ProVia officials say they thickened the door from a typical 1-3/4-inch thickness to 2-1/2 inches, while also adding a unique, U-shaped cavity to the door’s side rails and header in order to accommodate additional insulation. Lastly, it’s topped off with quad-pane glazing, including low-E glass and argon gas fill.

INDUSTRY PARTNER: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

For its multi-decade, collaborative efforts to develop more efficient products

With an estimated $50 billion worth of annual energy costs associated with windows, there’s no debating that fenestration remains a weak link in building envelopes. For four decades now, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) have worked alongside industry to upend that dilemma—starting with the development of low-E glass in the 1970s. Even with double-pane, low-E windows, however, scientists estimate that around $20 billion worth of energy continues to leak out each year. And so, LBNL is returning for a hat trick—this time with a new prototype that’s been in the works for decades, but now is made economically viable by glass borrowed from none other than flat-panel televisions (see article on page 14). The end result is estimated to be twice as insulating as 99 percent of currently available windows and at a cost that’s mainstream. In the process, the laboratory is working alongside two door and window manufacturers, as well as partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star program, code officials and Passive House and zero-net-energy home developers to bring its vision to fruition.

“The goal is to significantly enhance the performance of mainstream window products, at affordable prices,” says LBNL researcher Steve Selkowitz.

LBNL’s new “super window,” which it’s calling “thin triple,” includes triple-pane glass, with an inner layer that’s ultra thin, along with krypton gas fills and low-E coatings on two surfaces. The end result, LBNL representatives say, includes windows that are equal in performance to some insulated walls. Meanwhile, the laboratory is working with door and window manufacturers Andersen and Alpen High Performance Products to develop finished prototypes suited for production that will double the thermal performance of current Energy Star-rated, double-pane windows.

“In principle, any company can take the next step and make a conventional triple insulating glass unit (IGU) with about an R-8 [performance], but that generally requires redesigning the sash and frame to accommodate a wider, heavier IGU,” Selkowitz says. “We’ve developed a design that will double the center of glass insulating value from R-4 to R-8 for a conventional ‘thin’ IGU that’s only ¾-inch wide, with effectively no increase in weight and a modest increase in cost.”

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

DWM Magazine

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