Tag Archives: Insulated glazing

Energy Saving Hurricane Shutters

28 Aug

Sunlight creates heat

I know….quite the Earth-shattering statement, right? But there’s nothing like pointing out the obvious. Almost any type of hurricane shutter will save some energy if in no other way but by blocking sunlight, creating shade and thereby blocking the sun’s rays from hitting objects within your home that create heat. The problem is, the energy is only saved when the shutter is deployed. Roll-downs, accordions, corrugated metal panels, colonials, fabric panels, screens and Bahamas all block out a certain amount of sunlight and shade the window when they are deployed. But when they’re deployed, they block, and sometimes totally eliminate, the view completely. The other catch is that they only make shade during the daytime when the sun is shining. Your windows still lose and gain heat all night long.

Temperature differential

There are other forces of energy that bring heat into your home. One way to demonstrate this is at nighttime when there are no sun rays. Here are 2 scenarios to entertain…..a hot August night or a cold January one. Simply place your hand on the window and what do you feel? If it’s August and the A/C is keeping your home at a comfortable 72 degrees and it’s still 80 degrees outside, you’re going to feel warm glass. If it’s in the dead of winter and it’s 20 degrees outside and your heating system is keeping it a toasty 76 degrees inside, the window is going to feel cold. Pretty simple stuff, right? It’s known as temperature differential. But there’s more to it than that……and I’m kind of getting off topic here, but bear with me. It all comes around full circle in the end.

The window war

The warmer air on the inside of the glass seeks out the cold of the outside of the glass while the cold on the outside is seeking the warm of the inside. Depending upon which force is stronger determines if the outside of the glass is warmed by the inside or if the inside of the glass is cooled by the outside. It’s a kind of “window war”. Whichever side has more “push” wins the battle. What determines the “push”? The push is greatly influenced by the circulating air on each side of the window. On the inside, there is calm circulation – a ceiling fan, movements of people or pets and the circulation created by your heating or cooling systems. On the outside?? – the force of Mother Nature – the WIND.

So, which side of the window do you think has the greatest “push”? Anyone who thinks that any answer other than “Mother Nature” is the right one, has to come and sit in the front row for the rest of the class! The ceaseless power of Nature always seems to have the upper hand. That’s why your windows feel the way that they do on the hot August night or the cold January night. Mother nature is always winning. If you were to go out side the glass will feel the same as the outside temperature – another sure way to see that Mother nature is winning. We’ll revisit Mother Nature later on in this post.

The analogy that I just described isn’t precisely the way that it works in science, (because science tells us that there’s no such thing as cold – only an absence of heat) but it helps to make my point about the energy battle of window glass. One important concept to grasp at this point in the discussion is that glass is a VERY poor insulator and conducts heat and cold all too well. It also breaks and we will revisit these facts later on, also.

Peace in the window war or merely a truce?

Glass manufacturers set out to make peace between the inside and outside energies so they came up with the ingenious idea of protecting the layer of window glass with another layer of window glass and separating them with an air space. They then sealed them around the edges so that nothing could get in or out. This helped to bring the advantage of the outside force to a more equal level of the inside force because there was no longer any “wind” on the opposing sides of either layer of glass. These became known as “insulated glass units” (IGUs, for short) and the window industry latched onto the idea and made windows by the tens of thousands.

There was, however, one slight problem. The air that was sealed tightly inside would change from getting warm during the day to getting cold at night plus all of the temperature fluctuations through the 24 hours of a single day. Every time the wind blew, every time a cloud came over, every time it rained….well, you get the idea – A LOT of temperature changes in a single day. If you multiply that by just 7 days of a week, that amounts to many times more changes. These changes in temperature cause the trapped air to expand and contract and it does this with every temperature change and, over time, would eventually weaken the seals and seep out of the air space. This allows the more humid air from outside of the air space, into it and causes the IGUs to get cloudy. In an effort to try and disguise the fact that moisture was getting in, they put a powder inside the window to soak up the moisture, but it only delays the inevitable. No matter what is tried, this temperature “cycling” up and down can’t be stopped. This is the other one of Mother Nature’s forces that I referred to earlier that can’t be controlled. To this day it is universally accepted that there will always be this problem until someone perfects a way to equalize the internal IGU’s air space pressures with those outside of the air space without them mixing together. There is simply no way to stop the expansion and contraction cycling that occurs inside. No matter what brand of window that you use, if it is an IGU that uses a sealant system around the perimeter (they all do), it will never be guaranteed not to leak – most don’t make it past 8 years. Independent studies have shown that every year, a sealed IGU loses a MINIMUM of 1-2% of the air (or gas) inside and then starts replacing is with regular humid air from the atmosphere. Keep this in mind when someone tries to convince you that fancy internal gases like Argon or Krypton are the cat’s meow of IGUs. Although they don’t expand and contract as much as the air that we breath, they still do it – it’s just physics and can’t be stopped.

This entire process of making IGUs takes place in a factory where the air qualities like temperature and humidity are controlled and also to reduce the amount or dust and other foreign particles that might make their way into an IGU. These facilities do a very good job. however all of this comes at a high price and, of course, gets passed on to you and I, the consumers.

Someone please stop the madness!

Let me digress a little more, without totally digressing. You see, the same folks who thought up the idea of making IGUs (that they concede won’t last long) decided to take two pieces of glass and sandwich them around a super-tough plastic sheet that has very high tear strength. They took this “glass sandwich” and put it in a window frame, called it “impact glass” and made tens of thousands of more windows with it. Why they use the word “impact” to describe it, is beyond me, because the one thing that it ISN’T good for is impacts!! Here’s a video that shows that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp6Nl9ZBMHE . I picked this video at random – there are dozens of others that show the same thing. Do these windows look like they can stand up to impact to you? What these windows happen to do well is keeping a large missile (or projectile) traveling at 50 feet per second from penetrating completely through the window and creating a hole. If a hole were to be created, we know that wind can then enter a structure and increase the pressure inside that will allow the roof to be blown upward and possibly off of the building.

So here’s the new scenario…..They take these VERY expensive impact IGU windows (sometimes 3 to 4 times the cost of regular windows), sell them to the consumer, install them in their homes and after a storm passes, you, the homeowner, now have – you guessed it – VERY expensive BROKEN windows. I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but this approach makes absolutely NO SENSE to me. Why design something 3 to 4 times as expensive that will break so that you have to buy it again and again each time it breaks?? Am i wrong here??

An intervention of common sense

So….is there a way of reducing heat gain and loss though your windows without defying the laws of Mother Nature? Well, in fact there is…..and it has been around for a long time. It’s done by using storm windows and it’s even recognized as a proven method of reducing the amount of heat loss or gain through any window. Here’s the link to The United States Department of Energy website that discusses the topic: http://energy.gov/articles/5-steps-making-your-windows-more-energy-efficient  . There are many other sites, both government and private, that will echo this method of energy conservation as prudent.

The mission

What if there was a way to use this old tried and true method of saving energy and combine it with a hi-tech material that won’t break like glass and is a better insulator, too?? That way we wouldn’t have to put so much effort into defying the forces of physics and Mother Nature.

I’m here to tell you that there is a way to do it and it’s with a product that has been around a long time. Not as long as the idea of storm windows has been around, but as long ago as the 1950s. How about this idea ………..instead of making something that breaks, why not make something that DOESN’T BREAK??? Instead of using a cheaply produced PVC frame that will only last 20 years, why not use super strong aluminum pieces that will last 100 years? And instead of making a sealed (but leaky) IGU, why not combine these materials and use the U.S, Depart. of Energy’s proven method of making it like a storm window to save energy? What you would end up with is something without an expensive IGU (that has yet to be made 100% reliable) and without the fragile characteristic of impact glass.

Winning the battle

If this sounds like a win-win concept to you, it did to me, too, so here’s a video showing the end product in a live demonstration. There’s no glass to break because this ’50s era material is called polycarbonate – a plastic that is 200 times stronger than glass, a fraction of the weight and a much better insulator. There’s also no seals to fail and no huge, expensive, dustless or atmosphere controlled building required to assemble it.

Take a look at the video below and tell me what you think. But before you do, keep in mind that this energy saving hurricane shutter will protect ANY window – new or old, impact or non-impact in just about any shape. And because it doesn’t require a huge, expensive factory these can be sold to the public for 1/2 the cost of the expensive IGU impact windows (that break and lose their seal). It’s called by everyone who sees it “the hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like a hurricane shutter” and I think you’ll see why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGFx9jY7_NE 

So, now that you have watched the video. Are you:

  1. Surprised?
  2. Astonished?
  3. Impressed?
  4. Curious?
  5. All of the above?

If you want to know more visit:The hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like a hurricane shutter. and find out more. Maybe they’re just what you’re looking for?

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Window Bashing?? No!

19 Feb

Window Bashing??

The other day I was approached with concerns about me “bashing” impact windows (no pun intended). It seems that there is a chance that a reader might be inclined to be offended by, or take umbrage with, my blog comments regarding the drawbacks of impact glass. Let me take a moment to set the record straight.

If you read my blogs with an open mind you will discover that I clearly  support impact glass and it’s use in impact windows and doors. My “beef” in my blog posts isn’t with the impact glass or the window or door that it is used in. My problem is with the people who misrepresent the product either, accidentally or purposely, and in doing so put peoples’ money and safety at risk.

Here are a few facts that might “accidentally” be omitted by your hurricane protection representative or window salesperson.

Glass breaks. Be it window glass, automotive safety glass or hurricane impact glass – IT ALL BREAKS. If the panes used are not tempered or heat-strengthened, when it breaks from impact it can emit dangerous small shards. These make a mess that needs to be cleaned up and it takes time, money and inconvenience to replace the window.

There is no such thing as commercially available “hurricane proof windows” or “indestructible impact windows” When your salesperson says that your new windows are guaranteed against breakage, have him show you in the warranty where it includes breakage from a storm.

Glass is a poor insulator. Glass is a poor thermal insulator. Whether it’s scorching hot outside or freezing cold outside you can feel of your window glass and know it. And as the wind blows against windows it keeps replacing the hot or cold with more hot or cold and tries to drive the heat in through your windows in the summer or pulls the heat out through them in the winter. Glass is also a poor sound insulator. If you live near a busy highway or in a noisy neighborhood, you already know this. Walls do a much better job of insulating sound than windows.

Insulated glass seals fail. The window replacement rave over the past few years has been the promotion of windows constructed with insulated glass units. The airspace inside insulated glass units (IGUs) needs to stay sealed to contain a gas (like argon or Krypton) and to prevent fogging or condensation. To delay the formation of fog and condensation, manufacturers also put a drying agent inside. Without it, you would notice the IGU seal failure and condensation sooner. I do not understand why you wouldn’t want to know that your seal has failed immediately, but apparently the window makers feel that you shouldn’t.

The best way to fix the condensation or fogging that forms inside is to replace the sash unit. There are also companies out there that claim to “fix” IGUs, which tells me 2 things. There must be quite a few IGU failures to create a demand large enough to make it into a business AND the repair must work to a certain degree or the business would fold.

Salespeople should give you common examples of what is – and isn’t – covered by their warranty

So you see, it’s not that I have any desire to bash hurricane rated or impact rated windows. All that needs to be done is to have the facts presented. Impact rated windows do an EXCELLENT job of protecting the envelope of the building structure. These windows just need to be protected so that they don’t get broken during a storm, smash and grab theft attempt or your kids’ baseball. Stopping breakage is even more important if your windows were installed BEFORE your home had the final layer of stucco or siding applied. If you ever need these windows replaced, all of the material that is covering the edges of the window frames will need to be removed and then replaced after the new windows are installed. More costly? You better believe it. Is it covered under your window warranty? You had better check the fine print on your sales contract – Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware). Most window manufacturers have a warranty that applies to materials and workmanship. I do not know of any that cover damage from impact or storms.

Window Replacement VS Storm Windows

If you think that you need your windows replaced, consider all of your options before signing a contract. Installing exterior storm windows over your old windows might be a good way to buy you some time to save up for window replacement in the future. The estimated payoff time for most storm windows is about 5-7 years. Most insulated glass windows have a payoff of 15-20 years or more. Reinstalling your storm windows over your new windows is a great way to keep your new windows newer, longer.

If you have the right type of windows, you might be able to use interior storm windows. They aren’t as strong as exterior windows but they are less expensive. They don’t help as much if your windows are old and rotten, but they will cut down on your electric bill and help you save money for a while. Don’t hesitate to replace or protect your windows if they are leaking water. Leaking promotes rot and other water related damage in adjacent areas to the leaks. Waiting too long to replace or protect leaking windows may end up costing you even more money in the long run.

Don’t be “sold” on figures based on laboratory tests only. Lab figures work for comparing equal products in equal conditions but most of us don’t live in labs.

Hurricane Impact Protection

This area is the most controversial but when you weigh your needs against the facts, the answer is quite simple. If you like the looks of your windows, aren’t really interested in improving the energy efficiency of your home or office and are willing to put up with the extra cost and inconvenience of replacing them when they break, then impact windows are for you.

However, if you’re like me and want to use your money wisely, purchasing less expensive non-impact rated windows might be your solution. Covering them with crystal clear, flat, polycarbonate hurricane shutters from Evolution Hurricane Shutters may be just what you need. You will lower your electric bill, provide 24/7 hurricane impact protection, add vandalism and smash & grab protection and reduce outside noise.

If you don’t have a local hurricane prevention contractor, contact your favorite building or remodeling contractor to find out if hurricane protection is a good option for you. The benefits from Evolution Hurricane Shutters might be just what you need for your church home or business. You may also want to check with your homeowners insurance company to find out what additional savings are possible.

Buying impact windows – before and after the sale

14 Sep

If you are one of the conscientious homeowners who stepped up to the plate and bought impact windows in recent years, good for you. They were the best thing available on the market – at the time. It’s a fact that impact glass windows do a superb job of protecting the envelope of a structure after impact, but you will see from any online video that in the process, the impact windows are absolutely demolished and will require the expense and mess of replacement. Go to Youtube, search for “impact glass test” or “impact window test” and see for yourself. In my opinion, these should be “required viewing” by any prospective window buyer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCHtON-BQsE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu7XTW2SHW4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EEUsxe-pbA

Ok, let’s pretend that the storm has passed. Now you not only have a huge mess of broken glass to clean up, you also have the added expense of getting the broken window part replaced. If you’re lucky and you have single or double hung windows and the impact was directed to the glass only and not the frame, you might be able to replace just the glass unit. This is another important question to ask the salesperson; “Can the glass be replaced without destroying the window?” Some brands may even replace just the broken lite. You will have to check with the manufacturer to see how this effects the warranty. The next best option is replacing the window sash unit (the glass and surrounding framework). Replacing just a sash is a little more expensive but quite a bit cheaper that getting the entire window replaced.

The bottom line is, your impact windows weren’t cheap the first time around and they won’t be cheap to replace. If you received any kind of a warranty with them, read it closely. Do a check to make sure that the model of window that you purchased still has replacement parts available. You may find out that the entire company that made your windows is no longer in business. The installer who originally put them in is not who issued the warranty, so don’t him him/her too hard of a time (unless the window failure is due to improper installation). Now might be a good time to protect your investment with the addition of Evolution Hurricane Shutters.  Weigh the cost of getting just one of your main impact windows replaced vs. the cost of an Evolution Hurricane Shutter. If you want, add in the inconvenience, safety risk and mess of a broken window…..the amount of time you are going to have to wait to get your new window (they aren’t sitting on the shelf at the big box store), scheduling the replacement by the window guy (window companies get VERY busy following a major storm) and the insurance hassles that go along with your claim. Why not just avoid ALL of that in the 1st place?

The other drawback to standard impact windows is their lack of energy efficiency. When compared to a new non-impact rated window, they do little to reduce your monthly energy consumption. There are some models available that are more energy efficient called “insulated glass units” or IGUs. These are made up of a layer of impact glass and a layer of non-impact glass that are separated by a sealed air space. Sometimes the air space is filled with an inert gas (like argon or krypton) that is supposed to prevent deterioration of any metal components or glass coatings inside and to aid in energy efficiency. If you do a little industry research on them you will find that the gas slowly leaks out and and eventually does nothing for you. After the gas has leaked out, then outside air is allowed to be drawn in. This will also make your windows start to get cloudy and allow condensation inside the air space. Another point to pay close attention to is that these windows need to be installed perfectly plumb within the opening. Any wracking or twisting of these windows at the time of installation will result in breaking the seal and your windows will cloud up, usually starting in the corners. This clouding is an indication that your windows are no longer doing the job that you paid extra bucks for them to do. Also inside this “IGU” is a moisture absorbing substance referred to as “desiccant”. This will hide the seal failure for a while, but not forever and that’s when the condensation will appear inside your IGU.

Evolution Hurricane Shutters have been designed not only to protect your expensive hurricane impact windows, but to make them more energy efficient. We guarantee that the heat loss or gain through your window areas will be reduced! This is just one more reason why we say that Evolution Hurricane Shutters are “The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection”.

Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not down on impact glass – I recommend it to almost every one of my commercial property owners. Every strip mall or shopping plaza needs to have impact glass in the entrance doors. I don’t sell them and make no recommendation on which brands to buy (maybe I should start). My goal is to get impact resistant and energy efficient Evolution Hurricane Shutters on all of the storefronts and windows while recommending energy efficient impact glass doors on the entrance(s). When the project is complete, not only will the shopkeeper be able to simply lock the front door and leave when there is a hurricane bearing down on the area but, every night at closing time he or she will be certain that the energy saving and added security of Evolution Hurricane Shutters will be working overtime.

2 story plaza in Marco island

Typical strip plaza application.