Vinyl windows are impervious to rust, rot, blistering, corrosion, flaking and infestation by termites or other insects.
Today, plastic rivals traditional materials for windows and frames, providing competitive energy efficiency, aesthetics, design flexibility and cost criteria. For example, polycarbonate plastic—the same material used in eyeglasses and known for durability and clarity—is used in windows. Shatter-resistant and lightweight, the plastic product has low thermal conductivity, thus reducing heating and cooling costs though still providing protection against dangerous weather.
The presence of mold can have drastic affects on indoor air quality and the health of those with asthma or hypersensitivity. When plastic is used as window dressing, such as solid vinyl or vinyl-clad frames, it serves to help minimize condensation, thus aiding in the prevention of mold.
A study by an internationally respected lifecycle analysis firm shows vinyl window frames require three times less energy to manufacture than aluminum window frames. Beyond that, the use of vinyl window frames has been shown to save the United States nearly 2 trillion BTUs of energy per year—enough to meet the yearly electrical needs of 18,000 single-family homes. The design of vinyl window frames further enhances energy efficiency by creating chambers in the frame that provide additional resistance to heat transfer and insulating air pockets.
The energy efficiency of vinyl windows and glass doors can mean less electricity is used to heat and cool a home or building which can help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with coal-fired power plants. In addition, the low maintenance requirements of vinyl windows and glass doors eliminate the need for paints, stains, strippers and thinners, which can negatively impact air quality.
Watch Video on Plastics, Insulation, and Home Energy Efficiency
Jack Armstrong, of BASF’s Global Building Materials, shows how energy efficiency can be enhanced by smart uses of the many varieties of plastic insulations, sealants, stabilization foams, window glazing, frame cladding and much more. Originally given at a press Conference on the Mall in Washington, DC for the Solar Decathlon, the subject matter goes to the heart of Near Zero Energy Homes.