Find the Best Fiberglass Windows and Help Save the Planet
September 01, 2010
Fiberglass window frames are perhaps the best frame material on the market. Eco-friendly and low-maintenance, they are a top choice for replacement windows.
What makes them so green? A window frame can conduct heat, contributing to a window's overall energy efficiency, or inefficiency, in the case of some windows, such as those with metal frames. According to TreeHugger, your new windows really matter in terms of energy use. Windows are responsible for up to 40 percent of the energy used by buildings, which are responsible for 40 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S.
There are advantages and disadvantages to all window frame materials, but in general, new windows with vinyl, wood, fiberglass, and certain composite frame materials provide the best thermal resistance. According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, fiberglass replacement windows are one of the best choices:
Fiberglass window frames are dimensionally stable and have air cavities (similar to vinyl). When these cavities are filled with insulation, they offer superior thermal performance compared to wood or vinyl (similar to insulated vinyl frames).
Fiberglass doesn't conduct heat or cold, which increases energy efficiency. But that's not all! Here are three more reasons why fiberglass frames are an eco-friendly choice for replacement windows:
- Fiberglass is three times stronger than aluminum and nine times stronger than vinyl, increasing the efficiency over the life of the window.
- Many fiberglass frames are composed of 60 percent glass, which contributes to the strength of the frame. The frame will contract and expand similarly to the window pane, meaning seals and other materials won't need to be replaced as often.
- Fiberglass frames are less energy-intensive to make than traditional materials (like vinyl).
Fiberglass frames are more expensive than wood or vinyl, costing about 10 to 30 percent more than vinyl. Nevertheless, make sure to take into account other factors, such as ease of installation, durability, and maintenance requirements. Sometimes it's worth paying a little extra to have maintenance-free weekends! Also, as with any product, as manufacturing grows more efficient and competition increases, fiberglass frames prices will become more competitive as well.