Healthy Efficient Windows

Terra Verde’s original single pane metal-framed windows may have been state of the art during their time but forty years later they are now just an energy-draining airway to the outdoors.

Even when I cranked the windows tight-you could still slide pieces of paper through the windows. Just think about all the cooling and heating dollars going out and all the pollen, mold spores and other outdoor pollutants coming into the home.

Just like other major parts of your home, windows have a lifecycle — usually about 20 years. That’s why it’s a good idea to check them at least once a year to see if they’re operating as efficiently as possible, do you feel any cool drafts coming in through your windows or can you see light coming through the window frame?

Windows are on the top of our “to do list” to seal up this home! But it was also our first major step in creating an expanded floor plan and an updated look to the back of Terra Verde. The living space is going to be enlarged by removing the walls between the kitchen area and the exterior porch area. The same concept will take place between the master bedroom and exterior porch.   Mike Burden, structural engineer from Florida Design Solutions inspected Terra Verde to make sure what looked good on the paper could indeed safely take place with our greenovation project. Mike also put our minds at ease that Terra Verde did indeed have “good bones” and was worth saving.

Once we got the thumbs up-the deconstruction began! Over five hundred concrete block were removed and recycled. All those original windows-the glass and aluminum were both recycled. Next step-the team created the new exterior concrete wall to replace the original screened in porches and prepare for our new energy efficient vinyl windows.

Why vinyl windows? Well, think about it-Terra Verde is located in hot, humid and sometimes buggy central Florida. Christopher Burk from Simonton Windows points out that “vinyl is a perfect choice, especially for Florida, because it will not rot, it will not decay and it will not attract insects. Plus-, inyl windows help save energy because it has such superior insulating factors.“

Another eco-friendly point-vinyl windows have a longer life cycle than other frames such as wood and aluminum. And get a load of this-when vinyl is disposed of-it can safely be reground and reused.

Since, Terra Verde is the place I hope to be for many years-I wanted to avoid traditional double or single hung windows require pushing up on a sash and lifting-which can strain your back. Casement style windows have an easy crank-out operation that just requires a turn of a lever. Plus, on those nice breezy days-casement windows allow for better airflow into the home than any other style window.

In just 48 hours-the FAS Window team installed more than two dozen energy-efficient Simonton windows and patio doors.  The amazing thing is even though our Greenovation Project was still a “construction zone” – the energy efficient features of the double pane vinyl framed windows started working the minute they put into place! The crew and I experienced a noticeable drop in the interior temperature during the heat of the day. Plus, the inside of the house was so quiet! What a great start to our Greenovation Project.

To view a detailed breakdown of the window installation at Terra Verde, download the case study here.

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