Here are some new window-related products that have recently become available:
New to the market from Andersen Windows are power-operated awning and venting transom windows, which are controlled by a wall panel or a wireless remote. Rob Garofalo, business manager for Andersen's architectural collection, points out that these are ideal for those two-story foyers or other hard-to-reach areas.
As good as that is, these windows also offer a wow factor: They have moisture sensors that can detect rain and automatically close the windows. Once the windows are closed, the homeowner would have to reopen them, so there's no danger of them opening on their own once the rain stops. They come with a battery backup too, so the system would work in the event of a power outage.
The windows, which are in the $400 range, are available through the Andersen dealer network. Go to andersenwindows.com for more information.
It's something that has been kicked around for 50 years – windows that get darker or lighter as needed. Using technology developed in the last 10 years, California-based View may have perfected the idea. The company takes glass and gives it a microscopically thin coating of inorganic metal oxides. The glass is then used in windows – mostly in commercial, corporate and government buildings, but also some residential locations – that adjust themselves to the desired level.
CEO Rao Mulpuri points out that we put windows in buildings so we can see out, but when the sun shines in we fight it by lowering the blinds. "That we call them blinds says something," he says. So with blinds drawn, we lose the reason for having windows – the view. In addition, heat is now trapped in the building, necessitating the use of air conditioning. The glass typically reduces HVAC and lighting costs by 20 percent, not to mention the cost of blinds and window treatments; it costs about a third more than standard glass.
"(The glass) automatically and intelligently adjusts itself to give the user the conditions you want," Mulpuri said. "You are able to get views 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You're able to get natural light, you have visual and thermal comfort … you have control over your environment. People like that. Finally you have a design element (glass) that works the way it's supposed to."
More information is at viewglass.com.
Honeywell is offering a security system called VeriLock, which tells a homeowner when windows or doors are open or unlocked. Windows and doors, such as Andersen's E-series, come from the factory with the sensors already embedded in the locking mechanism.
"It's a really slick way to add security to the windows," says Andersen's Garofalo, who has a security panel in his bedroom. "I used to go around and check the locks at night. Now I don't have to check every window. There's a convenience factor as well as peace of mind."
There's also the improved energy efficiency that comes with a locked window.
Cost is less than $100 a window, Garofalo says.