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Window Wellness & An Energy-Efficient Home

Those of us who have carved out a life in the Northeast have grown accustomed to unpredictable weather patterns. Northerners know the sting of frigid temperatures in winter and how in the short stretch of summer the pendulum can swing in the complete opposite direction, sending us into record-breaking highs. The conditions cause us to spend most of our time indoors, in a place where we can control our environment. Given the amount of our lives we spend inside—have you ever thought about the health of your home or office? The extreme highs and lows make us an adaptable population, but how versatile is your home?

On February 13, 7 Tide hosted “Window Wellness: Energy, Earth and the Human Factor.” The program was part of the Inspiration Center’s ongoing Learn and Lounge series, which offers continuing education opportunities for design professionals with AIA-accredited CEU courses. (Check our website for future events.) Steve Hoyt of A.W. Hastings presented to a roomful of architects and designers and explained how your window decisions can make a tremendous impact on an indoor environment as well as the world outside.

“There’s a lot more thought that goes into windows and doors than most people know,” says Hoyt.

At Marvin, they have mastered energy-efficient windows and there are now more possibilities than ever before. Architects and builders can customized windows to perform efficiently in a specific environment. For example, take a window’s U factor, which measures how well it keeps heat inside your home, the lower the number the more a window resists heat loss. Low U factors are especially important in colder climates. Then there’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, which measures how well a window keeps the heat out. The lower the number the less heat a window lets in, which can be useful in warmer weather, but also in sunrooms that seem to get too much exposure at certain times of the year.

According to Hoyt, the key to a more efficient home is to consider each room’s environment. “Be selective to which coatings you are using in which part of your house,” says Hoyt. By mixing and matching coats and tints throughout a home, you can get better performance overall thus creating healthier indoor spaces while minimizing the home’s environmental impact.

In addition to spending the majority of our time inside, Hoyt informed the attentive room that on average humans inhale about 400 pounds of air each day. Seems like it’s time to start making the places where we spend most of our time as healthy as they can be. Winters will continue to be winters, but your home—the air, light and overall health both inside and out—can be controlled by you.