Best windows for Alaska?

melaskaAugust 17, 2010

Hi all,

My first time in this forum...I've been in the kitchens forum mainly but have a window question now.

We're building next Spring in Valdez which gets a lot of snow. It also gets cold so we'd need really good windows but don't want to get too expensive. This will be our retirement home. We will have lots of windows on the South side where our view is...

Winter - there are mountains all the way to the east & west, too. We also have mountains & waterfalls to the North of us. These piles of snow are from dirtwork during ground prep.


Hubby was thinking of some sort of shutter system that he can close either from the inside or outside to keep in the heat at night. Any ideas on this?

Are the typical box stores OK to use? Home Depot, Lowes. We also have a local building supply store in Anchorage. We'll get all our things from Anchorage.

We're having a daylight basement, main floor & loft with study, guest BR & bath so there will be lots of space for lots of windows. We just want the most bang for our buck & efficient.

Thank you for any input you can give! :)

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Windows on Washington Ltd

While the normal response would be to say you need triple pane/high R-Value window, that will come at a cost of passive solar.

In this case, your husband is on the right track.

You are going to need an extremely air-tight window with a good SHGC number. There are window out there that have specialty coating that provide for high R-Values while minimizing impact on SHGC.

A combination of a thermal shade is going to be a must as well. You will simply not have enough R-Value in any of the commercially available windows to mitigate heat loss.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 11:12AM
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Thank you for your input.

I've been doing some surfing on the subject & have found some interesting stuff.

From what I understand, I'd save more energy by doing exterior shading.

Do window shades save energy?

How to choose energy-efficient windows

I'll link another site below.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Efficient Windows Collaborative Builder Toolkit

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 1:10PM
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Wishing you well. Our children live in Fairbanks and they're facing similar issues. I sympathize.

All citizens need to do everything we can to prevent leakage of heat into the atmosphere. I'm in Minnesota and I know that using window coverings after dark in winter is definitely an energy savings. Additionally, up there it is helpful to have something to shut out the midnight sun so you can sleep better. If you can sew roman shades, look into Warm Window supplies at Joann Fabrics. They sell this stuff in their Alaska stores. In my house I also have walls of Window Quilt custom-made padded shades which are definitely helpful--we couldn't get our building permit without speccing out these for our large windows.

My Alaskan daughters use a nonprofit consultation service called something like "Northern Homes Consultation Service" which knows the local resources for all kinds of things. Something like the University Extension Service of my childhood. They have made recommendations for the cabin buildings my girls live in which stand on pilings over permafrost. I doubt you can stump them.

Ignore the name I invented. Just tried to find them online. This might be the organization: Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks. This is not in Valdez, but there might be a similar outfit there. Or otherwise, just assume that the towns are nearby (as the residents do) and go talk to them, :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Cold Climate Housing Research Center

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 12:23AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd


Good recommendations.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:34AM
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Thank you, florantha...lots of great information on that link!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:55AM
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