Do you have Andersen Narroline Double Hung Windows in your home? Then make sure you read this article!

A Sweat Equity Project: Andersen Narroline Window Conversion Kits

For many homeowners, budgets are often the biggest challenge: they have castle dreams and a cottage budget.

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Cutting corners is one option, or sometimes the homeowner is handy enough to take on some of the labor for tasks like demolition to build a little “sweat equity” into the project. For projects that include window replacement, using the Narroline Window Conversion Kit where applicable might be just the budget savior you were looking for.

 

The last full-frame Andersen® Narroline® double-hung window rolled off the production line in January 2013, concluding a 50 year run where 50 million Andersen Narroline window units were installed in homes across the United States and abroad. That means there’s a good chance your customer’s home may have them. Full-frame production may have come to a halt, but Andersen continues to manufacture Narroline® window conversion kits, which feature Andersen 400 Series tilt-wash sash.

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Andersen Windows makes a window conversion kit that can quickly replace older Andersen Narroline windows with far more energy-efficient windows.

These kits provide the ability for us to upgrade your existing Andersen Narroline windows to new technology without disturbing the frame or interior and exterior trim. It’s a relatively simple, cost-effective change-out that provides a good ROI and may lead to other remodeling work as well.

 

Kits include two window sash (upper and lower) with standard, energy efficient Low-E4® glass, left and right jamb assemblies and other components for the conversion. In addition, the new sash have the added tilting feature for easy cleaning.

 

Look carefully before taking out that aging Andersen window. It may be a candidate for a Narroline Conversion Kit.  Why spend all that extra money on full frame replacement windows when you can preserve original windows you already have.

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Original article found here

Glass windows may soon be a thing of the past

Windows and solar panels in the future could be made from one of the best — and cheapest — construction materials known: wood.

Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a transparent wood material that could change the way we construct buildings and solar panels. To create the transparent wood, researchers chemically removed lignin from samples of commercial balsa wood and added acrylic..

The new material is suitable for mass production, the researchers say, and is a low-cost renewable resource.

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Glass windows may soon be a thing of the past

 

 

If used in the construction of homes and buildings, a transparent wood material has potential to improve indoor lighting, allowing natural light in through the walls.  This could save on the costs of artificial lighting, and may even have use in solar cell windows.  While this is not the first example of optically transparent wood, previous developments have focused on the study of wood anatomy on a microscopic level.  Researchers say this new material has large scale applications.  Panels of transparent wood could be used for windows or semi-transparent facades, to let light in while still maintaining privacy.  And, its ‘haziness’ also gives it promise for solar cells, as it traps light, thus boosting efficiency of the cells.

 

Not sure if this is a good thing.  More trees will need to be used.  Yes, they are renewable but is it sustainable?

 

Read more here

To ensure an energy-efficient home this winter, grab a pen and notebook

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The Old Farmer’s Almanac Says Colder than Average Winter Looms so It’s Time to Winterize Your Home from Top to Bottom – via Next Step Living

Even if your home was originally constructed as an energy-efficient house, time and nature have a way of taking their toll on your home. For example, opening and closing doors and windows over months and years can cause weatherstripping to break down and lose its ability to insulate and protect your home from cold winter drafts.

To ensure an energy-efficient home this winter, grab a pen and notebook, and take a tour of your home and conduct your own home energy audit. Start with the furnace. Check to see when you most recently had your furnace cleaned. It should be cleaned every year, even if it is a gas furnace. A clean furnace is crucial for ensuring that it is operating safely and efficiently.

Next on your home energy audit is to check all the doors and windows and confirm that they open and close properly. Inspect the weatherstripping to confirm that it’s in good working order, as well. Ideally, examine the doors and windows on a cool, windy day so that you can check for drafts.

The attic is the chief culprit for winter home energy loss. Heat rises, and if the attic is improperly insulated, heat from the lower living areas of the home will find its way into the attic and eventually out of the home via the ridge and soffit roof vents.

Inspect the attic for proper insulation. Depending upon where you live, you should have at least R-30 or R-38 insulation in the attic. Make sure that when inspecting the insulation, you check for small breaks. Even the smallest of uninsulated areas in the attic can lead to a dramatic reduction in energy efficiency.

Next take a look at the shower heads in your bathrooms. Heating water is another major culprit in high energy costs. By replacing the old shower heads with low-flow shower heads, you can dramatically save energy at home.

After addressing the big-ticket items in your home energy audit, look at the electrical appliances and light fixtures. By replacing the standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, you can reduce your home’s lighting energy consumption by as much as 70 percent.

Also, if you have the budget, consider replacing some of the old appliances — for example, the refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave and washer and dryer — with Energy Star appliances.

So conduct your own home energy audit this fall, and implement some, if not all, of the suggestions I recommended. By doing so, you will be guaranteed to have an energy-efficient house this winter.

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Why Is R-Value Important?

Simply put, R-value is a measurement of how insulating a building material is, protecting one side from the heat or cold on the other side.  A higher R-value means that a material insulates better than one with a lower value.

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In order to get an idea of what these values are, here are a few examples of common building materials and their R-values:

  • 1/2″ drywall – 0.45
  • 1/2″ plywood – 0.62
  • 4″ wide brick – 0.80
  • 1″ of concrete – 0.52
  • Single pane of glass – 0.91
  • 2″ insulated metal door – 2.00
  • Dual Pane Low E glass – 2.5

R-Value of Building Insulation

Building insulation has different R-values depending on the type of material being used and the thickness.  Different materials are used in different areas of a building, and they are designed  to be used in different types of construction.

Here are a few common types of building insulation:

R-value of fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass – Made of blown glass threads that are either matted together into batts or distributed loosely, this is the most common material used in residential construction today.  The fiberglass “batts” are either stuffed into the spaces between the studs in the exterior walls of a building, or they may be laid down on the bottom of an attic space.  Other forms of insulation, such as loose fill or boards, are used in other locations, such as a basement or crawl space.  Fiberglass batts come in a wide range of R-values, most commonly from R-11 to R-38.

Foam – Spray foam insulation is made by mixing two chemicals (isocyanate and polyol resin, if you are interested) that react and cause the foam to expand to fill the space it is placed in.  It can be shot into spaces through small access holes, making installation in retrofit projects easier than standard batts.  There are two types of spray foam – open and closed cell – with closed cell being the most dense and therefore having a higher R-value.  Foam averages R-5 to R-6 per inch, compared to R-2 to R-4 per inch of fiberglass.

R-value of recycled denimRecycled denim – Blue jeans and other denim products are shredded and the cotton fibers are woven together to form batts, similar to standard fiberglass insulation.  The denim used to produce this insulation is post-consumer, so it removes products from the waste stream and repurposes them.  Denim batts provide slightly better R-values than similar thicknesses of fiberglass.

What Does This Have To Do Windows?

So, why is all this important?  A typical double-pane window achieves an R-2.0. Better windows have higher R-values and low U-factors.  Higher numbers mean more insulation.

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Companies Like AT&T and Vivint Will Be Tomorrow’s Connected-Home Innovators

The connected home market is garnering more hype and attention than ever before. Post-Consumer Electronics Show 2015, the market is awash with new and rejuvenated players promoting innovative solutions, each striving for a bigger piece of the pie.

Driven by lower technology costs and heightened consumer interest, the continued digitization of the home is now seeing blue-chip service providers from telecom, security, solar and big-box retail move to incorporate a greater variety of non-traditional services.

Just as utilities were initially targeting energy-conscious consumers with the first phase of home energy management point solutions, other service providers were similarly engaged in their respective markets. Telecom companies offered internet and cable services, solar developers deployed rooftop panels, and home security companies were mostly limited to setting up cameras and sensors.

Today, pivoting from their respective points of entrance into the connected home, service providers are branching out into new territory by embracing more comprehensive multi-service solutions.


Source: Energy in the Connected Home 2015
Almost every major telecom and home security player now offers a subscription-based smart home solution, primarily focused on security, automation and home energy management — in that order.

Discounted bundle offerings, combining additional cellphone, TV, cable, and smart-home services, have gained significant traction with customers. Aside from small differences typically left to the fine print (for example, Midcontinent Communications requires connected-home customers to be subscribed to its internet services), solutions generally promote similar pricing schemes and competitive home service capabilities. Only by examining the underlying components of these solutions can we understand the full extent of their competitive advantages.
Popping the hood on broadband and security provider solutions

Most broadband and security solution providers are relatively new connected-home market entrants and therefore are eager to attract customers. In order to rapidly deploy a solution capable of hosting in-demand home services, most have turned to licensing third-party platforms from companies like Icontrol and AlertMe (now owned by U.K. utility British Gas). With the exceptions of Alarm.com, Vivint Inc. and AT&T, few companies have invested in developing their own end-to-end home platforms. In fact, Vivint only released its proprietary Sky platform in April 2014. Though it still supports and services customers on its previously licensed platform from Alarm.com, moving beyond the confines of a third-party platform has allowed Vivint to develop some very interesting capabilities.

“The launch of the Sky cloud system pushed our customer adoption rate of additional services to nearly 70 percent, driving our average [recurring monthly revenue] per new subscriber for the year to an all-time high of $61.89,” stated Vivint Inc.’s CEO Todd Pedersen during the Q4 2014 earnings call. He went on to say, “We also rolled out our high-speed wireless internet service and built out the infrastructure needed to accelerate growth in 2015. Our wireless internet offering, along with the data cloud storage technology we acquired last year, provides a winning bundle in the smart-home space.”

While it may require a significant capital investment, it is these players with the necessary in-house expertise that will continue to innovate and develop the next generation of home services.

Source: Energy in the Connected Home 2015

 

A glance at AT&T’s Digital Life

Since its 2010 acquisition of home automation software developer Xanboo, AT&T has built out its proprietary smart home platform Digital Life across its proprietary monitoring and data centers, as well as its 3G network. Though AT&T has undoubtedly made substantial investments into its platform, it has also created new revenue opportunities. AT&T’s 3G services have been used by many third-party HEMS platform providers, including Vivint, Digi’s X-Grid solution, and E3 Greentech. The telecom giant has also developed and implemented cellular-based smart grid communication and utility payment solutions.

Today, Digital Life serves approximately 140,000 subscribers across 82 U.S. markets. And the company’s not stopping there.

FIGURE: AT&T Digital Life Markets


Source: AT&T

 
AT&T continues to make substantial investments into its platform, leveraging its distribution channels and under-contract delivery partners. To better enable hosting of third-party applications, the company has been working to bring together an integration API program that will introduce an additional service layer between its cloud servers and smart-home ecosystem. In collaboration with eight automakers including Ford and General Motors, the service operator recently unveiled its Global Drive Platform, allowing seamless integration between the driver’s dashboard and the connected home system.

Yet most impressive of all, AT&T also offers its platform to other service providers operating outside of its own jurisdiction. Since its release, Digital Life-as-a-service has garnered significant market attention. In late 2014, AT&T signed a licensing deal with one of the largest global telecommunication companies, Telefonica.

As the connected home market matures and customer awareness increases, players such as AT&T will be need to continuously adapt their solutions and improve the user experience to meet tomorrow’s demand.

The recently released GTM Research report Energy in the Connected Home 2015 investigates different service provider offerings, underlying software platforms and hardware OEM partnerships.

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