Volume 7 Issue 3 March 2006
Welcome to the Green Age
Manufacturers Offer Environmentally-Sound Doors and Windows
by Megan Headley
You might say that we’re entering a Green Age; builders and manufacturers are becoming more aware of consumers’ growing desire for environmentally-sound- and cost-efficient-products in their homes.
If you ask people what constitutes a green product, you’re likely to get a variety of answers. Building Green by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan1 explains that the definition of green building is imprecise, but offers the interpretation that green building refers to how a building interacts with the planet’s ecosystem. To meet the goal of sustainability and “greenness,” the authors suggest that a building meet five requirements that: it feature low construction impact and resource efficiency, is long lasting, nontoxic and beautiful.
The Canadian Wood Council’s publication Green By Design2 lists four guiding principles of green building. They are: reducing energy use during the building service life; minimizing external pollution and environmental damage; reducing embodied energy and resource depletion; and minimizing internal pollution and damage to health. The council promotes the use of wood in green building, as naturally occurring and the only major building material that is renewable.
Pete Walker, chairperson of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association’s environmental stewardship committee, agrees with the definitions offered, saying, “There are some common themes and phrases that are being used or referred to in discussions of being ‘green’ that ring true. The themes revolve around conservation of resources, energy efficiency, ‘environmentally-friendly’ materials and minimizing external and internal pollution and damage to the environment and health.”
Many manufacturers of doors and windows agree that products can be green either in their manufacture—if made of recycled materials, for instance, or in their use in a building—as by offering energy efficiency—or in both ways.
According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Model Green Home Building Guidelines, energy efficiency is considered a priority in most green building programs, since it has such far-reaching environmental impacts3. It is a consideration not just in the operation of a home, but in its (and its materials’) construction. According to the guidelines, energy-efficiency improvements that make a home even 20 percent more efficient can reduce a homeowner’s annual utility expenses significantly.
Bob Chew, a builder in Barrington, R.I., wrote in a 2003 article for Journal of Light Construction, “It isn’t always easy to tell whether a given material qualifies as green.”4
His requirements for green buildings largely mirror those of other organizations, but he has help in deciding which products may help promote his goal of a green.
“To keep up with them, I rely heavily on the GreenSpec Directory, which is a nearly 400-page guide to green materials from hundreds of manufacturers.”
The directory is compiled by BuildingGreen Inc. and is available from their website, www.buildinggreen.com.
“I also believe that in any discussion of materials, that we must address the life cycle analysis of the material involved, including whether it is recycled or recyclable, is from a sustainable source, has no dangerous materials, required low energy to produce (low carbon footprint), and can be recycled/reused at the end of its life,” Walker says. “I believe that the wise use/good stewardship of all of our natural resources is an integral part of being ‘green.’”
From components to finished doors and windows, features such as these are becoming more typical as manufacturers respond to demands for green products with new options.
TruSeal IG Spacer Family Offers “Green” Choices for Manufacturing Versatility
TruSeal Technologies Inc. of Beachwood, Ohio, offers a complete line of unique spacers that give window manufacturers a variety of “green” choices based on thermal performance and energy efficiency, according to the company. TruSeal’s spacer family includes: DuraSeal®, Insuledge® and DECOSeal™.
DuraSeal features a patented design that takes optimum advantage of laminates and adhesives, resulting in reduced thermal conductivity, improved condensation resistance, warmer edge-of-glass temperature, a continuous moisture vapor barrier, high argon gas retention and reduced total window U-value. DuraSeal combined with low-E glass and argon produces a high performing, energy-efficient window system, which provides heating and cooling cost savings for homeowners.
The Insuledge warm-edge spacer incorporates a flexible, hollow non-metallic tube design. This hollow core replaces conductive solid or foam materials with insulating air space for high thermal performance, resulting in little condensation and low U-values that can impact the energy efficiency of a window.
DecoSeal is a specially engineered warm-edge spacer insulating glass (IG) system for decorative glass used in doors and windows. This spacer system is wrapped around the perimeter of a decorative panel and then placed between two additional lites, producing an energy-efficient IG unit.
Tru-spec™ Millwork Products Awarded GREENGUARD Certification™
Tru-spec millwork products from Huber Engineered Woods of Charlotte, N.C., have earned the GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification for low emitting products from the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute.
The company says Tru-spec is the first engineered wood millwork product to be GREENGUARD tested and certified, meeting the stringent air quality requirements set by the institute. The product will be monitored quarterly and re-tested annually in order to maintain its certification. This extensive testing is to ensure that even if materials, vendors or production processes change, Tru-spec millwork components will continue to meet the GREENGUARD emission standards.
“Being awarded GREENGUARD certification is a great achievement for Huber Engineered Woods,” said Sherry Walker, senior director of marketing and business development. “Huber has always strived to be respectful and protective of our environment, so it is only natural that we bring that same concern indoors.”
ICT Produces Variety of OEM Components
As an OEM manufacturer, Integrated Composite Technologies Inc. of Montezuma, Ga., produces a wide range of wood plastic composite (WPC) components for the door and window industry.
Utilizing color through and embossing processes, WPCs can be produced to match existing components. Additionally, they may be painted or stained for even more finishing options. Nearly nil water absorption, and resistance to decay, rot and insect damage by WPCs means their close tolerances will continue to hold for years, according to the company. Further, WPCs manufactured by ICT require no special tools to work them. According to the company, they work just like normal wood products do.
In addition, ICT’s composites are sustainable and renewable because they are made from 100-percent recycled wood flour and plastic resin.
Contact Lumber Co. Strives to Extend Resources
Contact Lumber Co. of Clackamas, Ore., offers a green solution in the form of veneer-wrapped components for door and window manufacturers.
Using high-performance machinery and resource-efficient substrates, Contact Lumber reports it extends resources by up to 50 times, compared to solid wood millwork, according to information from the company. A single block of 5/4 solid hardwood might make a single moulding profile, but the company says it can get as many as 50 identical products from that same block. They achieve this by slicing thin veneers and wrapping those veneers over a profile formed from finger-jointed pine or other readily available material. This mean that 95 percent of the wood that enters the company’s manufacturing facility leaves as a useable product.
The company is able to wrap any species of real wood veneer over profiles in almost any substrate, including metal, vinyl, fiberglass and a variety of wood composite materials. In addition to wood veneers, the company is capable of wrapping synthetics such as printed and embossed vinyls and impregnated cellulose over both wood and non-wood substrates.
Gorell 5300 Windows Now Authorized to Carry Greenspec Label
Gorell Windows and Doors of Indiana, Pa., has announced that its 5300 Series Windows with Thermal Master III® triple glass—which provide homeowners with energy efficiency and home comfort as well as energy cost savings—are now authorized to carry the GreenSpec label from BuildingGreen Inc. after meeting stringent “green building” criteria. These windows achieve whole-window U-values as low as 0.17—well within the 0.20 requirement for the GreenSpec directory. Each GreenSpec labeled product is evaluated individually for a wide range of environmental qualities.
The windows incorporate Insulfil™ foam-filled extrusions to increase insulating performance, polypropylene poly-fin weatherstripping applied to the sash for better sealing and PPG’s Intercept® spacer system for reducing conducted heat loss through the glass. The system also consists of triple-insulating glass, SolarControl Plus® low-emissivity coatings on two glass surfaces and krypton gas between the panes. Thermal Master III reduces the amount of time that heating and cooling systems must run, saving homeowners money on energy costs.
Impervia® Designed for Energy Efficiency
Pella, Iowa-based Pella Corp.’s energy-efficient Impervia patio doors and windows, made of patented fiberglass composite materials, are designed to support the green movement, according to the company.
The company’s patented five-layer, engineered fiberglass composite, Duracast®, offers low expansion and contraction rates that help ensure a consistent bond between sash and glass and a weathertight fit between sash and frame. Duracast offers resistance to condensation and provides thermal comfort. In addition, low-E insulating glass provides energy efficiency that will save money by lowering heating and cooling bills.
These high endurance products are NFRC-certified and meet or exceed Energy Star® requirements in all 50 states. All Impervia products are tested for compliance with WDMA Hallmark Certification testing standards. The windows feature total unit U-values as low as 0.28 and air infiltration rates as low as 0.1 cfm per square foot. Virtually every unit is factory-tested for air infiltration rates when manufactured, according to the copmany.
In addition, the company says Impervia doors and windows don’t need painting. They arrive with a durable powder-coat paint finish, an environmentally-sound coating that does not emit any significant air pollutants found in liquid paint finishes.
1 Snell, Clarke and Tim Callahan. Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods (New York: Lark Books, 2005), 17.
2 Canadian Wood Council and Forest Products Association of Canada. Green By Design: Renewable, Durable, Sustainable Wood. www.cwc.ca/publications/brochures/green_by_design.
3 National Association of Home Builders. Model Green Home Building Guidelines. (2005), 3-4. <www.nahbrc.org/greenguidelines>.
4 Chew, Bob. “The Business of Building Green.” Journal of Light Construction. March 2003.
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