Window replacement typically has a poor economic payback, which I am very aware of as a green building consultant. I tell clients that windows are replaced primarily to improve comfort and aesthetics, and that’s been mostly true for my house too! The existing wood windows were single pane and in pretty rough shape. Since we were already gutting the house, the incremental costs of window installation were relatively modest. The new windows certainly help improve the home’s energy efficiency, but they also look much better and help the house feel more comfortable.
The Green on Gift home presented several challenges when it came to replacing the windows. For one, the sizes are not standard, so we had to special order the new windows. Because the house has a complicated history with water, we wanted to select windows that were as durable and rot-resistant as possible to further prevent any potential issues, especially for the windows in the showers. Finally, the existing windows were also supporting the bricks above them, since the original builder neglected to install traditional supports like steel angles or lintels. As you might suspect, windows by themselves are terrible structural supports. We came up with a creative way to solve this problem, but that’s another (future) blog post!
Ultimately, we settled on Andersen’s 100 Series windows. The 100 Series is made with Fibrex®, a fusion of reclaimed wood fiber and PVC polymer. This composite material is twice as strong as vinyl and won’t fade, flake, blister or peel. Green Builder Magazine recently announced the results of their Readers’ Choice 2016 awards, and Andersen was the named the company with the greenest window and door products. So far the windows are performing great, so we feel pretty good about that decision.
In addition to replacing the windows, we also upgraded the window trim and blinds. The photos above show just how much the new windows and finishes have changed the look of the interior!