Windows vs. Lights

CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
This is going to sound whacky.
In researching the cost of replacing my older double-pane windows it seems that it would be cheaper to fill them in with solid wall and run CFL's in any given room in an on-demand basis. Apparently even the best window is no match for solid wall when it comes to blocking heat transfer. Thus you'd be money ahead with <I>no</I> windows and lighting the room artificially via CFL's whenever you used it!

I'll say it first: UGH! Who wants a house with no windows?:p

Maybe I'm just going crazy trying to sort out all the 'incentives' surrounding this window replacement business here. In the end, I know it's still going to cost a small fortune. But it should pay back in about ten years, no?

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,222 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    You sort of can do it all.

    First in, a new design, design around solar gain, both in the positive and the negative. In your northern clime, the goal would be to maximize solar gain, and minimize heat loss.

    In terms of minimizing heat loss, in addition to exotic glazing, (triple pane, exotic gasses etc) the best way to reduce heat loss is to install moveable night insulated panel/window quilts etc. Some of these can have very high R-values (Low U-values) The trick is having the discipline to open and close them. Depending on the amount of sun, we open our night shades as soon as the sun is up, and close them after we are getting no more solar gain. We designed the house so that the vast majority of the glass is on the south side, the rooms are all open etc, so that we never need to light a light bulb during the day, but we don't loose a ton of heat out the glass.

    We have old (really old) single pane, windows. I have built inside storms that remove in the summer, and then have warm window night shades, covered with wool fabric, giving an aggregate ~R-7,,, not too bad given what I spent on them.

    At some point we all have to live in the real world with the energy choices that come with it. I am not going to live in a house with no windows because it is energy efficient,, but on the other hand, I am not going to live in a McMansion with floor to ceiling glass venting heat all day an all night.

    Icarus
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    Solar-tube style skylights (window on roof, ultra-reflective light pipe to carry light thru attic and to ceiling fixture) should be pretty good, plastic glazing is better than glass, and they let in a boatload of light. We've had guests go nuts, trying to find a switch to turn them off. I've never tried to measure their thermal performance.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Solar Expert Posts: 705 ✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    Consider built in shutters my Spanish double glazed units have build in roller shutter drop down exterrior blinds keeps sun out in summer and effectively (well nearly) gives me tripple glazing with a 3 inch air gap. A house with no light or ventalation may save you money but you wont get any benefit as youll spending all you save on uppers and anti depressants :p
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    You mean <I>more</I> anti-depressants? :p

    If this place were any worse in design/construction it'd be built upside-down in the middle of a lake!

    It's oriented 90° off East-West, has the garage-now-family room on the South, and that's where the big trees are! There's no crawl space, no floor insulating layer, and far too many doors/windows which leave a lack of blank wall especially around the outside. No air-lock on any entrance either.

    Our extremely cheap power and normally low/short heating season (not this year!) makes for longer improvement payback time over a colder or more expensive environment.

    But Mrs. won't go for the "all artificial" environment, even though I promised to make the interior look like a space ship! So I guess I've got to shell out a few thousand and get these leaky windows replaced. By the time I've figured out the incentive programs (at least they've finally got some here) it'll be Spring and safe to have great gaping holes in the walls while the new units get installed.

    Oh: the stucco exterior is an extra joy in the reno costs. :cry:
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    While you are re-doing stucco, sandblast paint off it, and re-stucco with COLORED or TINTED stucco. Never need to paint. Maybe pressure wash dirt off every 10 years or so.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights
    mike90045 wrote: »
    While you are re-doing stucco, sandblast paint off it, and re-stucco with COLORED or TINTED stucco. Never need to paint. Maybe pressure wash dirt off every 10 years or so.

    If I have to redo all the stucco, I'll undo it: I hate the stuff!:p
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights
    I hate the stuff!:p

    I like it, it is the only thing that is hold my house together. I am also due for windows this year and got the how to repair the stucco thinking right now.
  • EcnerwalEcnerwal Solar Expert Posts: 101 ✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    Moveable insulation that you actually move is the ticket. Not moving it is the usual problem, and that comes from any cheeziness in the installation not making it easy to use. We have some Gen-u-Wine WindowQuilt(tm) (circa 1980?) that are now rolled up in the basement, and really just should be chucked. Their mounting system was just not suited to actual use - cords running in plastic channels, which became either cords stuck in plastic channels, or cords out of plastic channels and things flapping in the breeze. Keeping them working was a maintenance nightmare.

    Doing without windows - yuck. Having spent years in a windowless office at work, it's horrid. Depending what you have, it may make sense in some rooms (the north side, say) to make the new windows smaller or fewer, and fill in with insulated wall - but if you are going without windows at all, you might as well go buy a cave and live it in, ya know?

    One many Things Not Done Yet at the shop is to take the plugs of stress-skin panel removed for the windows and turn them into thermal shutters - for the big windows in the 11-1/2 ft high shop area, that is planned to be hinged at top, going up into the dead space above the windows, and if I really get organized, automated. They might have small portholes incorporated (so as not be totally dark when they are down) and the south-side ones might also get a configuration that would serve as solar air heaters when the shades were down with the sun shining (as might be the case when the shop is not in use during the daytime).
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,222 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    A simple pop in panel, made out of commercial styrofoam board (1/1/2~r-11) covered with some nice material,, or art work,,, tension fit into the window opening at night, hanging on the wall as art during the day,, or stuffed under a bed. Makes a very cheap, very good night shade for windows.



    Tony

    PS, Trying to get home tonight,,, stuck for the second night due to blizzards,,, 40-cm of snow,, 60 km winds and -30 temps. The house is going to be cold when we finally get home and get the fire lit!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,482 admin
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    Oh Tony...

    Weather always sounds worse in metric. :p

    Seriously, have a safe trip home--don't push the weather.

    By the way, have you ever thought about getting the new PLB's they have out now? Sounds like it would be a nice safety addition for your home. A PLB (Personal Locater Beacon) is the next generation from the old Ship and Aircraft ELT's... There are now a couple satellites in orbit (US and Russian) that can locate to a range of a couple miles or so in several hours (or less) any PLB/EPRB device that has been activated in the world. Many PLB's now also include a GPS so the fix is down to a couple hundred feet and can be determined within minutes.

    PLB's are not cell phones for changing tires--they are "Push this Button" if you are in (or will be) deep trouble and there is no other way of contact. So far--from what I have read--people are very happy with them--both the rescued and the rescuers. People that have broken their ankles, stranded by a stuck/out of service 4WD, etc.. And nobody gets lectured (why did you push "the button"--why are you out here alone, etc.).

    Because PLBs are digital--the Serial Number is attached to a website with contact information (and trip info/special needs) so they rescue status can be determined within minutes for immediate dispatch. Makes false alarm issues much less.

    This is a newer PLB--very small and pretty cheap ($300) for what it does (no yearly fees).

    I have one of these models just to throw in the back of the car when we go on family trips and hikes.

    This is a comparison between the PLB's and the SPOT service.

    It was the Kim family's tragic loss of the father that finally got me off my behind to get a PLB.

    [SIZE=+1]Lessons Learned from the Kim Family [/SIZE]

    These links are from the Equipped to Survive website.

    Tony, reading about the weather and remoteness of your home/cabin--perhaps a PLB can add an additional level of safety for you and your wife out there 40 km from nowhere.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,222 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    Thanks Bill for the "warm thoughts!"

    We are holed up in a motel,,, back on the road this morning,, things are fine.

    As for a PLB.

    When we travel in the bush we try to be pretty smart. The big issue is planning for our own rescue. Since we are so far from anyone,, in the winter time, by the time someone would get here we would be icicles! We go nowhere with out the essentials, including snowshoes. The mistake people make is trusting their machines to get them home. We have rescued folks many miles from anywhere, who had no clue what to do when they broke down! We treat the environment with respect. If push comes to shove,, snowshoes will get us home,, axe and matches will keep us warm,,, and someone ALWAYS knows where we are supposed to be. Stuff happens though....

    Tony
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,222 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Windows vs. Lights

    Home sweet home,

    I'll post some info on the "Why we live off grid" thread.

    T
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