Frank Lovece in Building Operations
The big question. You want to save energy. You’ve got some money to spend. Where should you spend it?
What caught our eye? Windows. Everyone loves a new window, particularly one that doesn’t let in drafts. Windows can account for 10–30 percent of heat loss in multifamily residential buildings, and replacing them can significantly reduce these losses (although the payback can be lengthy). There are many things your building can do to conserve energy, and experts say that windows are not the optimal place to start, but ...
Be smart. All windows do need to be replaced eventually, and there are many things to consider, including frame material, style, operation type (tilt & turn, double-hung, etc), thermal and acoustic performance, and, of course, price. But before you start the process, you need to learn what is going on in Europe.
Say what? Way more energy conservation, that’s what. Europe has embraced the passive-house construction standard, which leaves LEED in the dust. It’s now making headway in the U.S., and can reduce a building’s energy consumption by 50 percent or more. Windows are only one part of it, but an important part. The one detail about passive-house windows is that you probably can’t find an American manufacturer making them. And that’s why Fentrend was formed.
Behind the scenes. In April 2015, four people with architectural, real estate development, tech, and passive-house consulting backgrounds got together to create a company that connects European passive-house window manufacturers with the American market. Today, they are working with about 90 European and American manufacturers. Recommended as a resource by the NYC Retrofit Accelerator, and one of two winners of NYU’s “smart cities” Urban Future Competition in 2016, Fentrend works as an intermediary between the window manufacturer and client, and earns its revenue from the manufacturer when a purchase is made.
Here’s how it works:
Yes, but. What about installation if you buy a European window? Andy Huh, co-founder of Fentrend, says it can happen one of three ways: the window company may have an American installer it works with; the installation is subcontracted to a third party by the manufacturer; or Fentrend can recommend an installer.
Bottom line. "Europe is at least 10 years ahead of the U.S. in terms of building innovation," says Fentrend’s Huh. "Because they have a more stringent building energy code, their products perform a lot better than most of those in the U.S. Some emerging European companies are hungry to enter the U.S. market, so they provide extremely competitive prices."
Visit Fentrend.com, or call 646.655.0315 for more information.
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