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Natural Awakenings Tucson

May I Have the Envelope, Please?

Mar 27, 2013 03:42PM ● By Dale Bruder

Pat Doherty’s Windows of Greater Tucson supplies builders, remodelers and rehabbers with windows and doors that protect the environment and lower utility costs. “A typical house with insulated windows can save 40 percent in energy costs and reduce your home’s carbon footprint.” Doherty says.

The physics of thermal dynamics describes windows as holes in walls bleeding out carbon-generated energy and absorbing outside environmental elements that deteriorate and decay the structural elements of buildings. Wall openings like windows and doors typically act as sieves, leaking utility dollars that can never be recovered. The typical exterior envelope has 30 percent of its surface dedicated to wall openings, and each window and door contributes to the carbon footprint of a house.

Since the mid-20th century, science and technology have exponentially changed the composition of construction materials. Innovative trends continue increasing creature comforts and preserving the environment. Optic cable replacing copper, electrical batteries supplementing internal combustion engines and more buggy-whip comparisons abound. In the new normal, we are continually living an accelerated Magnificent Ambersons lifestyle.

Windows have not been left in the dust. Doherty’s Windows of Greater Tucson provides windows with advanced engineering that applies technology to glass and frames, changing the value of what were holes in walls to having the insulated qualities of walls; plugging the sieve, blocking the absorption and minimizing the carbon footprint. A vinyl compound on the frames provides an insulation factor higher than wood, keeps its original color and withstands the harsh effects of the southern Arizona climate.

Windows of Greater Tucson represents and distributes Window Mart products. Doherty says, “Window Mart windows are one of the greenest windows made today.” The primary focus of the manufacturer is promoting green building, including improved efficiency and reduced impact on the environment and human health.

The window frames are constructed of vinyl, a building material that is an effective and responsible alternative to other building materials. One environmental advantage is that energy-efficient vinyl windows require one-third less energy to produce than aluminum and steel windows.

The manufacturing process also reduces waste. More than 99 percent of all vinyl ends up in the finished products. The thermal performance of window frames and sashes constructed of vinyl maintain interior comfort and reduce energy consumption. Unlike wood or aluminum, the frames do not decay, lasting for decades; then can be recycled into new products, extending the material lifespan even further. Nearly 60 percent of its principal raw material is derived from common salt. Vinyl and composite building products will not rot or corrode, and do not require frequent cleaning and painting like other materials, reducing the use of harsh chemicals and helping conserve resources.

Window Mart windows are manufactured with titanium low-emissivity glass (AGC-TiAC 36) which uses advanced technology that adds metal composites to the glass surface during the manufacturing process. These composites act as an insulating agent, due to their ability to reflect heat. This enables the glass to repel sunlight-generated heat away from a home, reducing the interior temperature in summer and reflecting artificial heat produced during the winter back into the home. Low-E glass also reduces the potential for health risks or property damage related to the amount of ultraviolet (UV) light and infrared (IR) light that enter into a home through inefficient windows.

At Windows of Greater Tucson, Doherty emphasizes affordability. “Apples to apples, nobody beats me, because of our low overhead,” the frugal former Wisconsonite says. The company passes on to customers a variety of incentives and cost-saving benefits. The across-the-board benefits of vinyl building materials and composite glass— including manufacturing, energy efficiency and low customer maintenance—makes this green building technology a window to a balanced future.

For more information, call 520-488-9469 or visit

Dale Bruder is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.