Using secondhand windows in our renovation seemed like a clever idea at the time. They came with the property as part of a house full of rubbish and some building materials. In one sense, we saved about $4,000 and the embodied energy/carbon footprint of new ones by reusing them. In another sense, we are coming up with eco-thrifty alternatives to double-glazing as described in the previous two retrospective posts. But...
... in one case the hinges were stuffed and we did not know it until after the window was installed. The window above does not close fully, thus letting in cold air and sometimes rain blown from precisely the right (wrong) angle. And so it came time to say goodbye to cold and drafty...
... and hello to warm and toasty!
We splashed out for double-glazed and thermally broken because this is a northeastern window that gets the first morning sunlight in winter. Those first rays reach over our breakfast table,
over the coal range,
over Billy T. and the bath tub,
and onto the far wall 11 meters away! At 8 am while all of the other windows are curtained, the sunlight streaming through this window lights and heats our morning. This one strategically-placed high-performance window has made a big difference to the start of our day. It's worth having one $700 window to serve this special purpose while all the others were free.
Eco-thrfity renovation is not black and white. It is about picking and choosing when, where and how to spend money and carbon. This choice has made a big difference in our quality of life, and it even helps us save a little electricity by shutting off the kitchen lights as soon as the sun rises instead of waiting until it gets warm enough outside. And we made the swap just in time for winter!