Best replacement options for large fixed picture windows?
I have a small patio home in Houston, built in 1985, with reasonable utility bills despite having cheap aluminum grade windows. The home has no windows on the west side and trees shading the home which partly helps to explain savings on the utility bills.
My issue is that I have a large window opening on either side of a fireplace in the living area. Those windows get direct sunlight for the first half of the day in the cooler months. If I close the shades to protect the interior from UV damage, the living/kitchen combo is almost completely dark. Also, I don't like it that the two openings are different. The right side has a standard size sliding patio door with an opening 70"w x 79" h. The left side is the same width but shorter, with 23" of wall below it and 4 sections to the window, with screens in the lower two sections. The patio door is sealed permanently shut for security. The front door/foyer area opens into this living area, and I have a patio door in the formal diningroom leading to the patio so another exterior door is really not needed. I should add that two smaller windows on opposing walls in the familyroom would take care of ventilation needs.
Solar shades would take care of my UV problem, but I really don't want to hassle with them, esp. on the patio door. I'm thinking what I may want is a commercial plate window 70"w x 79" h on either side of the fireplace with some type of uv protection added to the glass. Last winter, a salesman showed me a nano ceramic film which supposedly provided 99% uv protection but allowed 92% light penetration. The downside is this film is quite expensive and, like any additional film by an outside manufacturer, would void a new window warranty. My home style is contemporary. I definately don't want any type of LoE glass that will give that coke bottle type green glass look on the exterior, no matter how good the performance.
A window retailer who sells Marvin windows is coming the first part of next week. A RBA agent already has been out with his hard sell. I refuse to do business with anyone who resorts to this type of old time scare tactic of "it's now or never today at this price," so Anderson will not be my window installer. Any suggestions or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.