Sustainable Living: How Impact Windows Align with Green Building Practices

Creating more sustainable working and living spaces has never been more important. The cost of fuel is forever on the rise and often sees sharp increases due to factors such as climate/severe weather, geopolitical issues, wars, and trade embargos. Then there’s the fact that it’s a finite resource, so at some point that resource runs out.

Sourcing more sustainable residential and commercial products is all about providing stability and lessening our carbon footprint. There are plenty of steps that builders are now taking that don’t just promote but fully align with sustainable living practices.

One aspect that many people don’t always link to sustainable living is their windows. 

Understanding Green Building Practices

Green building practices aren’t a new concept, but unless you’re a builder, you may not be as familiar with standard practices.

The goal of green building practices is to reduce the energy consumption of a building or home. Green building practices also prioritize the comfort and health of occupants, minimize waste, encourage the use of energy efficient systems, and embrace sustainable materials.

Green building practices take vision and innovation to develop, and the good news is that there seems to be a lot of that lately. Many manufacturers are always actively researching new technology, materials, and even construction practices, all in an effort to make homes and commercial spaces more sustainable.

To encourage this kind of innovation even further, there are building certifications. A great example is the LEED rating system here in the U.S. This stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s proven so useful that it’s now recognized and used around the world. This system was created to recognize buildings that are innovating and improving environmental and energy performance.

The ranking system has gained respect thanks to the massive number of industries and organizations using the system. There are currently 197,000 LEED projects worldwide.

The Environmental Impact of Traditional Windows

Property owners like to think they’re doing all the right things when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint, but all too often, they aren’t aware of the latest materials and best practices. Traditional windows may serve a purpose but they have almost become outdated at this point. When you look at the energy savings impact windows offer over traditional windows – there’s simply no competition.

Because impact windows use multiple layers, they do a much better job of limiting heat loss. The same can be said for the hot summer months when you don’t want the cool air escaping from your home. Impact windows offer superior insulation and pretty much get rid of any drafts. It is estimated that impact windows will save 25%-300% on your home cooling and heating use, which is impressive.

And, when it comes to sustainability, you need to look at how long materials last. We always like to walk people through the typical lifespan of a traditional window with wooden frames, versus high-quality impact windows with frames made from aluminum or vinyl. Generally speaking, traditional windows will last about 15 years, but wooden frames will most likely need regular maintenance, repairs, and even replacement before that point.

Upgrading wooden frames to aluminum or vinyl greatly increases the lifespan, strength, and durability of your windows. These materials combined with impact window panes means you can expect a lifespan of 20-25 years. By investing in materials that last longer, it means you won’t be creating as much waste, or as large of a carbon footprint.

Energy Efficiency Benefits of Impact Windows

Heat transfer is one of the biggest problems that traditional windows pose. By only offering one or two layers of glass, hot and cool air is bound to escape. It is harder to keep a consistent and comfortable temperature in your home, and you’ll be using a lot more energy to do so.

The materials used in impact windows do a better job of eliminating heat transfer because they are two to three layers thick. Your furnace or central air conditioning unit doesn’t need to work nearly as hard to reach a comfortable temperature. Some impact windows can even be tinted to cut down the amount of heat that enters your home.

In the end, cutting down on energy usage also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, creating a domino effect. Every bit helps the environment, and installing more energy-efficient windows is a step in the right direction.

As for the recyclability factor of impact windows, the composite reinforcements, aluminum frames, and laminated glass are all recyclable. Some companies even highlight the fact they are using recycled materials in their products. 

Green Building Certifications and Incentives

As a commercial property owner, developer, or homeowner you may be looking at ways you can qualify for the highest rank in both ENERGY STAR and LEED. The good news is that impact windows will improve a building’s status for both of these ranking and certification systems.

Before you go ahead and install impact windows though, it’s best to look into any of the current incentives or rebates available on energy-efficient upgrades or retrofits. These exist for commercial and residential buildings and are offered by the state or federal level of government. 

We also suggest you look into federal tax credits for energy efficiency, as the savings can be significant. Many people are surprised to learn there are also financing programs available that you may qualify for. This can make the cost of installation much more appealing.

An Investment You Can Feel Good About

Sustainable living is no longer a buzz term, it is an integral part of the future of commercial and residential buildings. Making investments that reduce your carbon footprint and increase energy savings makes good financial sense, and will benefit the environment too.



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