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Casagrande Woodworks Windows

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  • Third-party forest certification based on standards developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the best way to ensure that wood products come from well-managed forests. Wood products must go through a chain-of-custody certification process to carry an FSC stamp.

    Manufactured wood products can meet the FSC certification requirements with less than 100% certified wood content through percentage-based claims (30% certified content is required if only virgin wood fiber is used; certified-wood content as low as 17.5% is allowable if the rest of the fiber content is from recycled sources).

    With a few special-case exceptions, FSC-based certification is a requirement for GreenSpec inclusion of any nonsalvaged solid-wood product and most other wood products. A few manufactured wood products, including engineered lumber and particleboard/MDF, can be included if they have other environmental advantages--such as absence of formaldehyde binders. Engineered wood products in GreenSpec do not qualify by virtue of their resource efficiency benefits alone (for more on this, see EBN, Vol. 8, No. 11).

  • Before specifying efficient heating and cooling equipment, it’s important to do what we can to reduce heating and cooling loads. Insulation is one of the key products to consider here, but because there are so many insulation products on the market, we look for additional benefits. Examples include cellulose insulation with recycled content, mineral wool insulation with no flame retardants, and fiberglass insulation with no formaldehyde binders. Other products in this area are high-performance windows and glazings, products that contribute to building airtight envelopes, products that reduce thermal bridging, and window-retrofit products.

    With products in this area under constant development, we are always refining our approach. For example, as we have learned about insulation products with hazardous flame retardants and blowing agents that have high global warming potential, we have removed those products from GreenSpec, pending manufacturing changes. We encourage building professionals to pressure manufacturers for those changes through specification language and purchasing decisions.

Casagrande windows incorporate FSC-certified timber, Cardinal or Alpen Glass, Siegenia hardware, and Gutmann cladding.The Synergist model, made in the U.S., has achieved Passivhaus product certification through Germany's Passive House Institute and is certified with a whole-window U-value of 0.139 (R-value of 7.2).

As with other building products made from wood, the source of that wood should be an important consideration. Currently, only a very few manufacturers use FSC-certified wood as a standard frame material, though more use it in certain components or as a special-order option. (Certification to Forest Stewardship Council—FSC—standards involves third-party evaluation and monitoring of sustainable forestry practices.)

Energy performance is the primary green consideration of windows, and new developments in window technology enable today's products to far outperform those of a few decades ago. Among the improvements are multiple glazing layers, low-conductivity gas fills, better seals on insulated glazing units, heat-reflective (low-emissivity) coatings, advanced weather-stripping, and new frame systems.

Low-emissivity coatings which allow short-wavelength solar radiation (sunlight) to pass through but reflect long-wavelength radiation (heat) back into the conditioned space are now standard options from all major window manufacturers.

Further improvement in energy performance is achieved with triple-glazing and multiple low-e coatings; sometimes an additional glazing layer is provided as a suspended polyester film.

To qualify for GreenSpec, wood windows must achieve an NFRC-certified unit U-factor of 0.22 or lower and must not only be available, but actively marketed. Because of the environmental benefits of FSC-certified wood, GreenSpec allows a higher (less stringent) U-factor of 0.25 or lower for FSC-certified wood windows.

LEED Credits

EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance

EAp2: Minimum Energy Performance

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