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'super windows'...do they REALLY save you anything?

Posted by lzerarc (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 19, 10 at 9:36

I have been shifting my research from the actual construction of the house to now what windows to help to reduce the weak link as much as possible. I have been reading a lot about the Equinox house, and I found this article very interesting. My house will not have solar power, but I think the concept can be used with any sort of heating system for the house. Reading this really made me think about dollars spend on "super windows" (serious, fibertec, etc) compared to more typical windows such as Anderson, Marvin, Pella, etc. This article uses Pella, which I would personally not, however the idea is the extra money spent on high end fiberglass windows cost you a lot more then you actually save on energy, design depending obviously.

So my question is, have been done more research into this as well and have been finding the same thing? For example, I have quotes from Anderson, Marvin Integrity, and Fibertec. I like the Fibertec and the glazing options, but again, is the price worth it?

Here are some numbers to compare apples to apples as much as possible:

All windows and a sliding glass patio door- price was around $9500 from both Anderson 400 and Marvin Integrity, including between the glass grills, unfinished pine interior, all casement windows.

Fibertec was about $9200, but did not include a french patio door (add another 1500), was full fiberglass interior (for maple or oak add around 800), and the glass was the same as the above windows.
Now with the Fibertec I can make my south facing have high SHGC of around .5, and triple glaze the north ones. high solar gain does not change the price, triple adds around 12% (which would be around $500 to the north, or 1000ish if all were triple glazed. So now we are at $11,500 (including wood interior, no triple glazing).

basically around a $2000 difference, however Fibertec also has a 20 year on glass, lifetime on frame. I need to add up the sqft of the window and walls, check out my gains and losses, and then see if I can recover any of that $2000 by heat savings. I am not sure that I can.

Here is the article if anyone is interested. I encourage you all to read it. BTW I love this blog, I have read almost all of them.

http://www.newellinstruments.com/files/Equinox_House_Topic4_Windows.pdf


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 'super windows'...do they REALLY save you anything?

Have you looked at Milgard? I looked at Anderson, Pella, Marvin, and Milgard, and my Milgards are finally getting installed TOMORROW! I was surprised how cheap triple glaze was to add, so I added it to all the windows, except one that was too big. I got the fiberglass. Triple glaze cost <10% extra. Generally it cost about $70/window. Grills added about the same amount. SHGC with SunCoatMax was < 0.30 so it qualified for the tax credit. The SHGC you mention of 0.50 is quite high - not real energy efficient. But if you are after solar heating and don't care about high heat in the summer (maybe you close the blinds) then you could not get the SunCoatMax. That's what I did with mine because I wanted a high SHGC on some of them to better heat the house.


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