Fiberglass:The True Green Solution
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Fiberglass: The True Green Solution
Advantages of Fiberglass Windows
Fiberglass framed windows and doors are high performance products that are more energy efficient, longer lasting, stronger, more aesthetically appealing and environmentally friendlier than typical wood, aluminum or vinyl windows.
What is Fiberglass?
Fiberglass is a composite structural material that consists of fiber reinforcements (typically glass) that are bound together in a resin matrix.
Fiberglass has a high strength-to-weight ratio, resists warping and is resistant to environmental and chemical corrosion. It insulates from heat, cold and electricity, withstands temperatures from -40 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and can cost-efficiently be made into complex shapes.
The unique properties of fiberglass include:
- Coefficient of thermal expansion similar to glass
- Low thermal conductivity
- Dimensional stability
- High strength
- Rot resistant
- Chemically inert
- Easily paintable and re-paintable with minimum preparation
- Low environmental impact – made of readily available silica sand
- Future recyclable capability
Over the past 10 years, fiberglass has been used more and more in residential and light commercial construction. It is becoming the preferred material for window frames and door panels. According to Ducker Worldwide, fiberglass
framed windows has been the fastest growing segment of the residential window industry for the past several years
Fiberglass has earned a reputation as a smart choice for green building products because of its energy-efficiency characteristics.
This is significant because buildings consume 30% of all of our nation’s energy and 50% of all electrical energy. Using fiberglass products, including window and door frames, can help reduce the world’s energy consumption.
Fiberglass is a natural insulator because it does not conduct heat and cold, and it doesn’t expand or contract. Most window and door frame components have an interface of different materials: glass on wood, glass on aluminum or glass on vinyl.
With fiberglass, the components are identical which means there is minimal expansion and contraction and if there is any, the components expand and contract as a unit.
Because Fiberglass windows and doors insulate extremely well , their high R-values and low U-factors will save energy for decades.
Filling the fiberglass frames with sustainable foam insulation and glazing the windows with high efficiency insulating glass creates an incredibly high-performing window.
To be a “truly green” the fiberglass product must be sustainable as well.
The embodied energy in fiberglass is less than other common building materials such as PVC (vinyl) and aluminum.
Fiberglass is made from silica sand, an abundant natural resource that is readily available almost everywhere.
Fiberglass also contributes to long product life and low life cycle costs. These attributes are critical when creating a sustainable product.
Fiberglass products can contribute to National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credit programs.
These programs assess building projects based on building practices, and overall environmental impact and give special consideration those that follow Green Building Practices.
Benefits of Fiberglass Windows:
Using fiberglass for window frame material is preferable to other window frame materials like wood, aluminum and vinyl, because fiberglass:
- Performs well in humidity extremes and hot and cold environments
- Has high condensation resistance which helps keep humidity within a proper range and limits the growth of mold and mildew
- Very low coefficient of thermal expansion and contraction (CTE)
– Since fiberglass is mostly glass, it expands and contracts at about the same rate as plate glass
– Aluminum expands and contracts 3 times as much as fiberglass and vinyl moves over 7 times as much
- Stress on seals, caulks and joints is minimized, contributing to higher efficiency windows
- Tight seals maintain the resistance to air leakage and water penetration
– Seal failure can increase the risk of water damage or mold and shorten the life of the product
- About 3 times stronger than aluminum and 9 times stronger than vinyl windows
– Strength decreases the limitation on glass size making large picture windows possible and energy efficient
- Unlike wood framed windows, fiberglass does not rot or warp
- Does not require a “thermal break” found in most aluminum windows
- Does not require the stiffeners that many vinyl frames need
- Easier to install
– Frames stay square and do not twist or warp, a common problem during the installation of other types of windows
- Practically maintenance free
- Takes paint easily with excellent adhesion
- Available in a large selection of colors