August 12, 2010

Energy efficient windows...

... versus vinyl siding.

(Warning: 1. Link goes to video that begins with a commercial, 2. Don't have vinyl siding.)


Bob_R said... least watch out if you get the cheapest quality vinyl. We got a very good quality vinyl two years ago after 20 years of cedar that was a pain to deal with (probably should have insisted on better quality there as well). So far, we're pleased.

edutcher said...

We do both and the house holds the heat - and that's just in summer.

(I'm here all week...)

traditionalguy said...

The best solution today is to use Hardiplank siding, which is 20% concrete.

HT said...

Oh, God. What a pain. I feel for that woman, but that state official should have added that people who are about to put siding on their house also need to be cognizant about the types of windows their neighbors have. And not just the other way around.

rhhardin said...

Energy efficient windows that reflect radiation aren't a great deal.

The sun angle is so high in the summer that not much heat comes in in any case; and in the winter you lose tons of free heat if your windows don't let it in.

Some January days in Ohio the furnace doesn't turn on at all, if the sun is out. It would be anti-efficient to reflect that heat away.

dbp said...

I think this is BS.

Siding should be able to stand direct sunlight and a reflection off of flat glass cannot be more intense than direct sunlight. Simple geometry would indicate that a building face cannot be exposed to direct light at the same time as it is also getting a reflection.

Now, if the windows are somehow focusing the light, then all bets are off.

dbp said...

My understanding of these low-e glasses is that IR light which is close to perpendicular will penetrate. Since the sun is low in the Winter, heat will get in. In the Summer the sun is so high that the IR rays hit at a glancing angle and are reflected away.

I think it is a kind of gimmick anyway, given that the sun, whatever it is doing seasonally inclination-wise, it is still constantly shifting from East to West. So no window will spend much time pointing very close to the direction of the sun.

c3 said...

Its a pissah!

Jeremy said...


Millions of homes with siding and or energy efficient windows...side by side.

Provide me with ALL of the other situations as described here.

The Midwestern, Eastern and Southeastern cities would have complaints coming out of their asses.

Jeremy said...

dbp - And yet another fucking dolt, who obviously knows absolutely NOTHING about energy efficient windows or, for that matter any form of energy saving construction offerings, all of which offer plenty of data to support the return on investment and efficiency.

Maybe if your cave had windows?

Pastafarian said...

dbp, I can believe this. Windows aren't perfectly flat; some will be slightly convex and some slightly concave. Those concave (from the outside) windows will focus the light on the siding. And the angle of incidence might be much closer to perpendicular than the siding was designed to withstand.

You'd need a lot of things to be perfect -- the distance between the two houses, focal length of the window, color of the siding, etc. But given tens of millions of houses, this is bound to happen every once in a while, if you make the windows into mirrors.

I agree with tradguy -- vinyl is crap, hardiplank is the way to go. And I agree with rhhardin, these windows are penny-wise and pound-foolish.

As are many of the "green" technologies being foisted upon us, each replete with their own unintended consequences, like melted siding and pissed-off neighbors. Or bits of dead birds under the windmill. Or engines that have to be replaced earlier, at a huge "carbon" cost, thanks to burning crap ethanol in them.

These are the things that happen when engineering is directed not by engineers, but by sociology and womyn's studies majors.

Jeremy said...

Dear Althouse Luddites:

NEW YORK (March 29) -- On the fifth floor of the Empire State Building last week, a muffled din was escaping from an unassuming office door at the end of a hallway. Inside, men in safety goggles were bent over large glass panes, scraping, washing a

nd filling them with gas. The office space had been transformed into a processing center for the building's 6,514 windows, and the men were in the midst of meticulously removing, cleaning and reconstructing them to be more energy efficient.

"No one in the world has done anything like what we're doing," Kevin Surace, CEO of Serious Materials, which is outfitting the windows, told AOL News.

"This is a groundbreaking energy retrofit." Workers place a spacer down on a pane of glass in the temporary processing facility set up in the Empire State Building, New York City, New York, March 26.
Dana Chivvis for AOL
Workers install a spacer on a pane of glass on Friday in the temporary processing facility set up in the Empire State Building.

The window project is one of eight upgrades under way that, when complete, will cut the building's energy use an estimated 38 percent and save $4.4 million a year.

The improvements will push the Empire State Building into the top 10 percent of energy-efficient buildings in the country, according to Anthony E. Malkin, president of Wien and Malkin, which manages the building.

Jeremy said...

Pasta Fool - "I agree with tradguy -- vinyl is crap, hardiplank is the way to go. And I agree with rhhardin, these windows are penny-wise and pound-foolish."


Tell that to people in warm weather climates visit Arizona or Nevada this summer)..DUH.

Pastafarian said...

Jeremy, the only reason that anyone installs these light-reflecting windows is the very substantial tax rebate that you receive for using them. If they paid for themselves, such a subsidy wouldn't be necessary.

As rhhardin pointed out, you lose as much free heat from them in winter as you avoid in summer -- and you might actually lose more, because of the higher sun angle in the summer.

Do you dispute that reasoning? Or would you prefer to call people names?

Jeremy said...

Pastafarian - "Jeremy, the only reason that anyone installs these light-reflecting windows is the very substantial tax rebate that you receive for using them."

You're either a complete moron or have never read anything relating to energy efficient windows.

The rebate is a bonus, but the savings are fantastic.

Let me guess: you think solar is fake, too?

Pastafarian said...

Jeremy, they're probably replacing single-pane windows with double-pane nitrogen-filled windows. Of course, that will improve insulation considerably, and will pay for itself in energy savings in a reasonable period.

People were replacing single-pane with double and triple pane windows for a very long time without any government subsidy.

If you wanted to control or direct engineering, you should have studied engineering, instead of political science or psychology or whatever soft "science" it is you peddle to freshmen and sophomores.

No one's ever hung one of these light-reflecting windows without being paid to do it by the federal government.

Revenant said...

It is oddly relaxing to watch Pasta mop the floor with Jeremy.

Pastafarian said...

But back to the topic of the post: What's your solution to the melted vinyl siding problem, Jeremy?

Pastafarian said...

We had some windows at our plant blown out by a big wind a couple of months ago, and the contractor suggested these windows, because of this subsidy.

Now, these windows are pretty large, about 6 feet by 8 feet each, but almost all of them are covered by an overhanging portion of the roof, so they never see direct sunlight, except near sunset, and in November/December/January. And we're in northwest Ohio, where it gets pretty cold in the winter, and where summer isn't really that long.

So it's obvious that this light-reflecting quality of these windows would have zero benefit here. And yet, the federal government wanted to pay us thousands of dollars to install them. Isn't that odd, Jeremy? The subsidy actually makes these often (if not always) useless windows cheaper than more conventional double-pane windows.

Foobarista said...

Siding is rare in my part of the world - most houses use stucco - but I remember a particularly obnoxious siding salesdroid who insisted that my life as a homeowner wouldn't be complete without Sears siding.

The kicker was I was living in a condo at the time. He called at least a dozen times after that...

Jeremy said...

Pastafarian said..."But back to the topic of the post: What's your solution to the melted vinyl siding problem, Jeremy?"

How often has it ever happened?

What do YOU suggest?

No more energy efficient window next to homes with siding?

This is purely anecdotal b.s.

Jeremy said...

Revenant said..."It is oddly relaxing to watch Pasta mop the floor with Jeremy."

Are all of idiots in a bed somewhere sucking on each other's dicks?

Pasta has posted no facts whatsoever.

Just anecdotal drivel.

Jeremy said...

Padsta Fool - "As rhhardin pointed out, you lose as much free heat from them in winter as you avoid in summer -- and you might actually lose more, because of the higher sun angle in the summer."

Are you including warm weather climates?

Are you that dense?

c3 said...

Do you dispute that reasoning? Or would you prefer to call people names?


Michael Haz said...

Former multi-hundred home per year builder here.

Something about this story isn't right, and I think it's the vinyl siding.

Energy efficient, Low-E, windows have been in use in residential applications for more than a decade. They are required in order in most states in order to meet the carefully engineered energy calculations prepared for all new homes as part of the building permit process.

To my knowledge as a builder and lecturer on energy efficient building practices, there have been no instances where the vinyl siding on adjacent buildings has deteriorated as a result of nearby energy efficient windows.

Vinyl, especially cheaper vinyl, can be manufactured with two materials that degrade its stability in conditions or higher seasonal heat. The first is called "re-grind", which is scrap vinyl added to a batch of virgin vinyl being used to make siding or the frame parts for vinyl windows.

The second is lead, which is added in small quantities as a vinyl extender, and which will cause the vinyl to become weak when hot, and also to quickly fade.

The siding on the building looks to be very cheap. I'd bet that it's inferior.

First thing I'd do is check the window frames for the energy efficient windows. if they are vinyl and haven't deformed, the problem would most likely be the cheap siding.

As others have said, the best siding to use is a Hardi-Plank cementicious siding. Second best is good quality aluminum. The video shows that the failed vinyl siding is next to some aluminum siding. I'd continue the aluminum siding to cover the areas where the vinyl siding now is.

Last, if the heat was hot enough to deform good quality vinyl siding, there would be secondary damage visible to window frames, curtains, furnishings, etc. The video mentioned none of these.

knox said...

It is oddly relaxing to watch Pasta mop the floor with Jeremy.


Yes, it is brutal, yet soothing. Every time Jeremy replies, I hear this.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

LOL. "Jeremy" can even turn a post about freaking vinyl siding into an opportunity to flop around and belch out insults. He must be a real treat at dinner parties!

MILLICENT: Oh, Danforth and I just returned from Capri. It was a bit crowded but the weather was divine!

JEREMY: Millicent, you fucking moron! You know absolutely ZERO about Capri. You're just another fucking wingnut who thinks that the nice weather isn't because of global warming.


ANDREW: We heard an absolutely first-rate performance of Buxtehude at the Chamber Music Society last week! He's a terribly underrated composer.

JEREMY: Buxtehude was a fucking hack. Of course YOU were so busy sucking someone's dick in the coat room that you didn't even hear how fucking derivative that shit is. You probably wouldn't even notice because you're a fucking wingnut moron who listens to redneck music in your trailer.


SERVANT: Would you care for more Osetra caviar, sir.

JEREMY: I only eat Beluga caviar, asshole. Suck my dick!

chuckR said...

I couldn't get the video to play. But a google of energy efficient windows melt vinyl siding produced almost 31k hits.

I dislike vinyl siding - I put it on summers going to college along with aluminum and cement siding and a lot of roofing. I also repaired it when it shattered under impact in cold weather. Vinyl is loosely hung on the wall and needs a wide slip joint to handle expansion. I'll bet a lot of the problems are from overheated siding reaching the limits of the expansion joints and the slotted holes the nails are driven in.

Aluminum dents, vinyl warps and shatters. Make mine either wood or cement board as the most durable.

Does anyone else find it rude that my neighbor's energy efficiency comes at the expense of overheating my wall - true even if it's not vinyl covered?

The house I built handles the insolation problem with wide overhangs. Downside is a whopping big roof, upsides are keeping the heat off the windows and walls in summer and a lot less wear and tear on the exterior stain or paint finish.

Fred4Pres said...

Vinyl siding sucks. Nice melt job!

Biff said...

A wicked pissah!

Michael McNeil said...

Or bits of dead birds under the windmill.

Emma Marris and Daemon Fairless, “Wind farms' deadly reputation hard to shift,” Nature, Vol. 447, No. 7141 (10 May 2007), p. 126:

“What's 3% of a bird? The last seven centimetres of a swan's wingspan? The right foot of an ostrich? Or the annual death toll attributable to an average wind turbine? In the context of last week's report by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the environmental impacts of wind-energy projects, it's the third definition that counts. It takes 30-odd turbines to reach a kill-rate of one bird a year.” [Emphasis added]

“The scientists who wrote the report naturally attached lots of caveats to this figure, which they gleaned from 14 studies they felt were of good quality. They acknowledged that rates can differ widely from site to site, and that although, as Hamlet said, there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow, such a fall might not be quite as special, or worth avoiding, as the death of a bald eagle.

“In the final analysis, though, whichever way you slice it, or them, America's birds seem to die in turbine blades at a rate no higher than 40,000 a year. Deaths due to domestic cats, on the other hand, are put at ‘hundreds of millions.’” […]

“‘I heard that over 1,000 birds a year run into the Washington Monument. Should we tear that down?’”

c3 said...

That Palladian is such a witty satirist. His insight into the foibles of internet repartee is spot on.

Eric said...

I agree with Haz. That looks like very cheap and/or badly installed siding.

Rich Beckman said...

A few years ago, I had a customer who was experiencing a problem with siding melting in a clearly defined area on a particular location on her house. I had no idea what caused it and made lots of inquires around town. No one had anything to offer.

One morning I was driving by her house and I saw the reflected light on the melted siding. The light was in a shape that would completely fill the borders of the melted siding as it moved across the wall.

The damaged siding was on the other side of an inside corner from the window. The window faces south, the damaged wall faces east. This is in Marion, Indiana. I was able to cast a shadow in the reflection by passing my arm across the window.

I do now know what kind of window it was. The siding is Mastic, which I understand to be a premium vinyl siding product.

To my knowledge, no one has yet figured out how to stop this from happening.

Roger Pace said...

I really appreciate you sharing this info! I've been wanting to know more about energy efficient windows, and this gave me some great insights. So far this site and have been the most helpful that I've found.

John Methew said...

Energy efficient windows saves both energy as well as cost.These windows have Low-E Glass and Argon gas which is helpful in saving energy bills.In addition to this they lower HVAC costs and helps in increasing light inside your home.