Windows can transform any space. They can turn a tiny kitchen into a front row seat to a glorious sunset; or make an upstairs bedroom a perfect perch for an ocean view. Windows bring both life and light to a home, meaning a great deal of time, effort, and creativity is invested in finding the right ones for our needs.
Windows have to do a lot more than just look pretty. In this part of the country, with its frigid temperatures and vulnerability to snow and rain storms, finding the right windows is about “finding the balance between safety, high winds and the effective incorporation of energy efficiency,” says Doug Anderson residential project manager for the ENERGY STAR Window, Door and Skylight Program, part of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Michael Nau, senior design engineer for PGT Industries, Inc., one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of residential impact-resistant windows and doors, agrees. “Thermal resistance is the primary goal in colder climates,” Nau says. “We spend significant effort focusing on reinforcing materials to increase our products’ strength and ability to withstand high wind pressures.”
The Evolution of Window Technology
Over the last half-century, windows have undergone dramatic changes, improving their functionality as well as form for consumers and the developers of residential buildings and communities.
According to PGT Industries, two of the biggest innovations are the use of extruded aluminum for window frames and the creation of impact-resistant glass. The development of extruded aluminum came about in the 1960s for use in residential properties, providing durability, corrosion-resistance and increased frame strength. In the ‘90s, the industry began using aluminum and laminated glass to develop storm-resistant window products. This protection ensured the safety of homeowners on a continuous basis without necessitating the installation of shutters to protect from high winds or a snow storm and provide a higher level of sound reduction, as well, according to PGT.