See-Thru Energy Efficiency

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Scott Sevon, the president of green remodeling firm Sevvonco discusses why he chooses Pella's Designer Series windows

January 01, 2009
Sidebars:
The Specs That Count
I Don't Do Windows … or Blinds

Sometimes the best endorsement a product can have is when it's installed inside a professional remodeler's house. “We use 'em. We install 'em. And I use them in my own home. Why not put the best products in there?” says Scott Sevon, president of eco-friendly Sevvonco.

Sevon recommends Pella Designer Series windows, which feature both double- and triple-pane glazing options to reduce air infiltration and keep the home's shell intact. The windows allow room for both a treatment and a muntin between panes of glass for added protection and flexibility. The series, on the market since 2005, comes in several configurations; roughly ¾ of the windows Sevvonco installs are in casement form. Fabric shades open from the top down to allow natural light in from the top while covering the bottom. Shades and blinds extend to the inside edge of the window sash for extra privacy.

From a company standpoint, Sevon is perfectly happy with Pella's product line for its green characteristics. “We've been using Pella for 26 years. They educate us. They recycle or reuse all of the products that are involved in the manufacturing process,” says Sevon. “They've been extensively tested; that's the truth. I've seen it done. A group of guys test air infiltration right there on the factory floor. And they meet all the Energy Star requirements, too.”

Outside factors, such as how the company uses and reuses energy resources and materials, matters a lot to Sevon. Are recycled and reclaimed wood products reused? You bet. Broken glass turned into reflective highway pavement? Yep. Surplus insect screens recycled into archery targets? Check.

But it's the inside that counts to Sevon. According to Pella, double-paned glass can reduce energy costs up to 17 percent and triple-paned glass can decrease energy bills by as much as 28 percent compared to a single-pane wood window. But, says Sevon, he's not as concerned with studies as he is with performance. “People want to save money. Obviously windows are a big, big source of energy loss. And old homes are the most inefficient monsters on the planet. There are 134 million of them out there right now that are over 30 years old,” he says.

“Unfortunately for a lot of greener products like this, the cost is higher,” admits Sevon. But, he's quick to point out, you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to windows — needless to say he eschews lower-quality and lower-priced windows on principle. “You should be up-selling these products to your clients. And it's not just to make money. It's good for the environment, too.”

Editor's Note: We've retooled and reintroduced our monthly “The Green Room” article to put the microscope on a single green product chosen by a green remodeling professional. We're after what's truly green; there's no room for hyperbole or 'greenwashing' here. We start this series with Scott Sevon, president of eco-friendly remodelers Sevvonco.

 

The Specs That Count

• Pella's Designer Series carries the National Fenestration Rating Council U-Value (rate of non-solar heat loss or gain through a material or assembly) rating of .26-.49

• Pella's windows sport a Solar Heat Gain Coeffiecient (fraction of incident solar radiation admitted through a window) of .19–.55

• You can't forget the Design Pressure ratings. These include both positive and negative numbers. The positive number corresponds to pressure created by wind blowing at a window and door, and the negative number represents vacuum pressure on the opposite side (inside the home) of the product (it's measured in pounds per square foot). Although DP ratings are site-specific, the Designer Series is listed between 20-80 psf

• Keeping sound out is crucial and is just another added bonus when you have three panes of glass. The windows have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) Rating of 31-35


I Don't Do Windows … or Blinds

Pella recently conducted a survey asking homeowners how they'd least like to spend their free time and found that consumers would rather clean the bathroom sink (12 percent), a closet (17 percent) or even clean out the refrigerator (28 percent) than clean their blinds or shades (39 percent).

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