(ARA) - When newlyweds Rob and Holly Fanjoy purchased their 1955 Cape Cod home, they were not wearing rose-colored glasses. They knew the 1,100-square foot house needed extensive work. One of their first challenges was to replace the drafty original wood windows. More than 50 years old, the leaky single-glazed windows were no match for frosty Michigan winters.
After purchasing their "fixer-upper" home, the Fanjoys started a priority list of projects. Topping the list was searching for new energy-efficient windows.
"You could constantly hear the windows rattle and feel cold drafts coming through cracks in the frames," says Rob Fanjoy, a home improvement enthusiast and experienced DIYer. "Everything was wrong with our existing windows. The wooden sills were rotted, condensation build-up was always a problem and some windows couldn't even open.
"We replaced 14 windows and one patio door and were amazed by the instant savings in our energy bills. The best investment we made in our house was the ENERGY STAR qualified Simonton windows. Our energy bills have dropped while the comfort level in the home has soared," says Fanjoy.
During their renovation process, the Fanjoys discovered what many homeowners are finding out -- that there are tremendous long-term savings when investing in a window replacement project.
"Consumer awareness of energy efficient products has skyrocketed in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down," says Christopher Burk, product manager with Simonton Windows. "Almost 80 percent of the products our company sold in 2006 were ENERGY STAR qualified. This illustrates that homeowners are demanding energy efficient products that help save on their heating and cooling bills while supporting the trend of using more environmentally-friendly products in the home."
Going Green with Vinyl Windows
According to the Green Building Resource Center in Santa Monica, Calif., vinyl windows and doors meet two of the organization's five categories to be considered a green building product. The first qualification is that they help save energy by reducing heating and cooling loads in a home (especially if ENERGY STAR qualified windows are installed). The second qualification met is that vinyl windows and doors contribute to a safe, healthy indoor environment by not releasing significant pollutants into a structure.
"There are many considerations when evaluating if a product is environmentally-friendly," says Burk. "Vinyl windows and doors easily meet qualifications set forth by several organizations that determine the 'green aspect' of building products.
"Vinyl frames have a 'one-two' winning edge over alternative frames," says Burk. "First, it's more energy efficient to convert vinyl into frames than using other framing materials. Second, once installed in the home, vinyl windows and patio doors are virtually maintenance-free and offer superior energy efficiency capabilities -- especially when combined with a strong glass package."
Quality vinyl windows and doors can help lower heating and cooling bills in the home. "These products tend to have a longer life cycle than other frames (such as wood or aluminum)," says Burk. "The resistance of vinyl to rot, decay and insect infestations means the product will last longer in a home, requiring less frequent replacement. All these factors combined illustrate why vinyl windows are considered friendly products for the environment.
"The bottom line is that the creation of vinyl frames requires less energy than manufacturing many other alternative frames. A lifecycle study by Franklin Associates has shown that vinyl windows require three times less energy to manufacture than aluminum windows. That's a significant manufacturing statement."
According to Franklin Associates, an independent consulting services firm specializing in lifecycle assessment, the use of vinyl over aluminum in window frames saves the United States nearly two trillion BTUs of energy each year. The number equates to enough energy to meet the yearly electrical needs of 20,000 single-family homes. Courtesy of ARAcontent