DSC00465 One of our hopes in building a Barden Home is that we will have a much more efficient home.  Unlike houses we’ve purchased in the past, our new home will have new insulation, new doors, new windows, etc, etc…  In selecting our Barden Home windows, we new that we wanted:

- Double Hung windows where ever possible – primarily because they are easier to clean
- Grills between the window panes
- Low maintenance
- At least dual pane windows
- Not vinyl – our last home had vinyl windows and we didn’t care for them
- Efficient
- Cost-effective

We essentially went through that wish list with our GC, and he selected windows that fit the bill from the ones offered by Barden. 

The result were Integrity Windows by Marvin made of Ultrex on the outside and Wood on the inside.  The combination gives us the low maintenance aspects we want on the outside and the quality look and feel we want on the inside.  We chose prepainted windows for our house since we are doing white trim.  The windows come strait from the manufacturer prepainted white on the inside.  The exterior color is very close to our exterior trim color, so we won’t have to paint or finish the outside either.

 

Ultrex Versus Vinyl

So we said we didn’t want vinyl again, but we went with ultrex on the outside.  First, let me explain what ultrex is.  Marvin Windows & Doors patented ultrex, which is made from pultruded fiberglass.  It’s a very durable material made from thin cables of strong glass, saturated in a set of resin compounds.  This material is so strong that it’s used in the construction of bridges.  In fact, they have to use diamond-edge blades to cut it. 

So, how does Ultrex stack up against Vinyl?

- 8 times stronger than vinyl and 2 times as strong as steel
- 12 times as rigid as vinyl so it stays square
- Expands and contracts 833% less than vinyl, yes 833%
- 500 times less conductive than aluminum which means it is 500 times less prone to letting too much outside heat or cold in
- Mechanically bonded acrylic finish that’s up to 3 times thicker than the competition
- The thick finish resists UV degradation, even in dark colors, 5 times longer than vinyl

Taking a look at ContractorTalk.com revealed that we made the right decision, as there was an overwhelming opinion that ultrex is far superior to vinyl, particularly Integrity by Marvin.

Efficiency

To find out if our windows are efficient enough, I did some researching on best practices and recommendations for my climate.  My search lead me to the First Energy website where I found the following images:

Windows, doors, and skylights climate zone map showing the 4 climates zones: Northern (mostly heating), Northern/Central (heating and cooling), Southern/Central (cooling and heating, Southern (mostly cooling), and zones where alternative criteria are allowed (Southern/Central and Southern climate zones)Criteria

I am definitely in the Northern region, so our U-Factor should be less than 0.35.  For our region, the lower the U-Factor the better.  The windows that we installed have a U-Factor of 0.30, so we are good.  The windows that we went with are a LoE II with Argin gas between the panes, which help even more in efficiency.

So, What the Heck is LoE?

Low emissivity windows have a thin, invisible layer of metal or metal oxide deposited on the glass that reflects warmth into a building during cold months and keeps heat from entering during warm months.  The metal layer reduces the U-Factor, which helps with efficiency in the winter.