The glass industry recognizes its role in the future of sustainable building. While Europe still outpaces North America in terms of energy efficient glass, the availability of different varieties of glass and glazing options has advanced in Canada over the past several years. According to Karlyn Knafo, product developer at Fibertec Windows and Doors, the green building market is searching for more options to enhance energy efficiency in buildings in order to save money.
Here, Knafo describes the sustainable and cost-effective benefits of one of these options—fiberglass.
What are some benefits of fiberglass windows?
I like breaking down the main advantages of fiberglass windows and doors into three main categories: Energy efficiency, strength and durability, and uniformity.
Energy Efficiency: Typically, fiberglass Windows perform much better than some of the other options in terms of thermal performance. They hold in heat, keep cold air out of your building and allow you to cut down on your energy bills immediately upon installation. Fiberglass frames offer minimal expansion and contraction as they reduce the likelihood of unit failure and caulking cracks and maintain superior performance in regards to air and water infiltration. Fiberglass frames also provide savings of about 20 to 40 per cent in heating, cooling and energy costs compared to other window frame materials. In larger window areas, they provide more consistent room temperatures and comfort.
Strength: The strength and durability of fiberglass windows are a huge benefit, as you really do not have to worry about the windows breaking or requiring repair often. Fiberglass, as a material, is the strongest material used in windows today. For example, they increase security with greater resistance to forced entry and offer a prolonged life expectancy. The market and demand for triple glazed units has greatly increased and as a result a stronger frame is required in order to withstand the weight of a heavy sealed unit.
Durability: Fiberglass has high resistance to warping, twisting, rotting, cracking and shrinking. These frames can also be painted during the manufacturing process or on site by the building owner. Properties of fiberglass ensure a window and door product will perform as well in year 3, 10 and 30 as it performed on day one.
Uniformity: The expansion and contraction rate of fiberglass windows is very minimal and provides frame to glass stability, prolonging the life of a seal and argon gas retention. The reason for uniformity is that the expansion and contraction rate of fiberglass to glass, is the most uniform in comparison to other window frame materials.
What are the cost factors associated with fiberglass?
Fiberglass windows do not need to be replaced over the years. Replacing your windows will cost you twice the price, as you will be paying for new windows again. Fiberglass windows may be more costly upfront, but will save you money overtime.
Are there any installation issues in old builds as opposed to new developments?
Fiberglass windows are very adaptable to both markets. Fiberglass can be cut into almost any shape, which gives it excellent flexibility in terms of design, making it easy to use for both retrofit and new construction. Additionally, if there are areas of the design that require additional durability, the use of fiberglass can help to reinforce the design and make sure certain areas are not weakened as a result.
Fibertec Windows and Doors, located in Toronto Ontario, has been manufacturing high performance, energy efficient fiberglass windows and doors for more than 25 years. Fibertec has gained the technological experience in manufacturing fiberglass windows addressing all aspects of fenestration needs for both residential and commercial markets keeping performance, sealed unit integrity and energy efficiency in mind as well as a maintenance free product. Fibertec specifically offers a “made custom to size” program, allowing any demanded size to be manufactured specific to the consumer’s needs.
Image: Greenlife Business Centre Del Ridge Plaza located in Milton, Ontario.