Friday, December 2, 2011

Window Treatments

Although it is getting warmer and warmer in the Southern Hemisphere, we are thinking ahead to next winter in hopes of improving the performance of our passive solar retrofit. Because we have decided to embrace the eco-thrifty approach, we opted against buying all new double-glazed windows. Instead we are going with a combination of pelmets and thermal curtains, plastic window film in some cases, and one example of home-made double-glazing as seen below.


The New Zealand building code requires us to install safety glass in our bathroom. The two pieces of glass cost us $315. We had the glass professionally installed in the opening window on the left. But for the fixed window on the right I decided to keep the old glass on the exterior and add the safety glass inside to meet the code and to form a double-pane window.


To do this I gathered my materials together...


... and started by cutting two vertical battens to fit. I primed them and then added two coats of paint to make sure moisture does not travel through the wood and into the window cavity. I also put a small packet of silica "dessicant" between the panes to absorb any moisture that may be in there when I seal it all up.


I used a liquid nails product to fix the painted battens to the aluminium frame, and a silicone to fix the glass to the battens. Then I added another pair of battens - these horizontally - at the top and bottom to hold the glass firmly in place (as seen in the top picture). I'll put another coat of sealant over all the gaps to keep moisture out. And for less than the cost of replacing both pieces of glass, we have replaced one and gained a double-paned window for the other.

This type of low budget / high performance approach is similar to our extensive use of pelmets in combination with thermal curtains, shown here in the bathroom window discussed above.


This pelmet also serves as a crown molding, and is made from weather boards we removed from the exterior during the renovation. This gives an idea of what they looked like.


Our abandoned house had been a billboard for local taggers. But once sanded and painted...


... the old weatherboards make beautiful interior window elements.


In order to ensure enough clearance for the curtain to slide, I nailed 2 x 2 off-cuts into the studs on either side of the door.


I also sealed the gap between the wall and ceiling with duct tape to prevent any air leakage. And there you have it. I cannot emphasize enough my advocacy of pelmets for eco-thrifty window insulation. This post from July explains how the physics of pelmets works.





Peace, Estwing

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