We received our windows and doors from Europe last week. I was on the beach jumping the waves and swimming with the sharks (actually, just dolphins). So, it was Eric and Roland (one of the owners of Intus Windows) and the Leon Home Improvement crew who moved the 1400 lbs of windows and doors into my garage.
See http://arlingtonpassivehouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/globalization-of-windows-and-doors-mostly-europeanized/ for more travel information of our super energy efficient windows.
Well, now that they are here, let’s see if they are as good as the Intus folks claimed. Obviously, we cannot see how well they perform until the windows are actually installed, sealed and undergo a battery of tests. We can however, examine the physical structure and craftsmanship.
The profiles were built in Germany by Inoutic.
The material is uPVC or unplaticized Polyvinyl Chloride, aka rigid vinyl. Not all vinyl windows are created equal. The common type of PVC profiles are extruded by adding platicizers to make it pliable in production but as a result, the platicizers also make them brittle and prone to cracking and deterioration due to ultra violet light exposure. uPVC on the other hand are stronger, longer lasting and won’t crack or change colors.
Here is one of the casements. The window opens inward with the one handle that controls 5 different locking points. You have the options of using it as a hopper window, which tilts the window in from the top for partial ventilation or use it as a conventional casement window.
The windows are heavy but the hardware is well-built, so the operation is very smooth.
Each window has 5 locking points (the steel things above). Also, if you look carefully, there are three weather seals/gaskets (the gray strips), two on the frame and one on the window sash. Both of these features should enable these windows to be extremely air-tight when closed. I look forward to the blower door tests!
The doors features similar locking and sealing mechanisms of the windows. They are a little space age like and actually quite close what we were looking for: a house door that performs like a refrigerator door. Again, the door operated very smoothly.
For the more technical folks, here are the windows and doors specs
- Triple pane Guardian glass with 2 low-e coatings
- U= 0.11
- Window frame Uf=0.17Btu/h/ft2
- Warm edge Swisspacers
- Spacer thermal bridge=0.018
- Triple gasket seals
- Frame Uf=0.23 Btu/h/ft2
- Spacer thermal bridge=0.019
Overall, the craftsmanship of the frame is very good, the glazing excellent, the gaskets are made of sturdy materials and the hardware operate smoothly. Now, they just need to perform then Intus can stick it to Anderson, Marvin and Pella. Although they are probably not operating in the same market as those big guys.