Passive House Windows, Not Only For Passive House
The core of Passive House is about energy performance, but the reasons we love aiming for the standard are all the other accompanying benefits. We want the comfort, the indoor air quality, and the silence. And we want the design to work for us. We saw a great example of this at a recent historic restoration project in Brooklyn that used BEWISO windows. BEWISO makes high quality, airtight, triple-glazed windows that transform the traditional thought and canon of energy-focused components. Located on a city block slated for landmark protection, the clients Jo Irwin and Sydelle Kramer were looking to upgrade their windows while keeping the historic feel of the building.
One major concern with the project was sound attenuation. The building is located right next to an elementary school. The sounds of incoming school busses and shrieking children had driven the clients to the point of hysteria. As we’ve said before, quiet interiors are one of the main reasons Why New Yorkers Love Passive House (see & hear yourself in this video). Jo & Sydelle’s search for the highest quality sound reduction lead them to the 475 team. We were able to utilize our high performance building knowledge to provide an optimal solution. Our ANNE model all wood window from BEWISO is capable of providing sound attenuation at 47 dB. This was a pleasant surprise for the clients who had originally been looking at windows that maxed out at 42 dB. In addition to this they were thrilled at the unmatched reduction in the profile width of the frame. This gave them the ability and flexibility to match precisely the historic look of their home (the Victoria line has recently been Landmark Approved (LPC) in NYC – a first for a Passive House Certified window).
About The Windows
These windows and doors needed special glazing, triple-pane varied-width glass and spacers. BEWISO was founded by a woodworker, who at age 19 became the youngest person in Austria to achieve Master Carpenter status. This is why they’ve chosen from the start to specialize in all-wood windows that meet the highest standards (ie Passive House). For this project oak was determined as the best solution. The properties of oak have multiple benefits: the material itself is dense and is great at reducing sound transmittance; the stability and durability of the material guarantees longevity within the window itself; not to mention the sheer beauty of the wood itself, perfect for keeping the integrity of the fine woodworking details within the home. The design of the ANNE window uses a sleek elegant design which frees the confines of bulky frames and protruding transoms. The craftsmanship of the window allows for accurate and beautiful restoration at any scale.
It’s All About Blending In
The windows were built as a simulated double-hung window. It’s a simple and brilliant strategy – the top is a fixed sash with an offset operable bottom sash. The operation of the bottom portion of the window functions as a tilt and turn window. This feature is crucial to retaining the high level of airtightness that the BEWISO windows provide. Our window specialist, Ben Leer demonstrates here on the VICTORIA model of BEWISO simulated double-hung.
You may know that here at 475 we are kind of obsessed with airtightness. We say ‘the blower door is king’ and ‘airtightness is the driving force of performance.’ Here is yet another example of how airtightness affects performance. Sound moves by vibrating through the air. If you’re airtight, you greatly reduce the ability for sound to travel. Vibrations don’t care if the gaps are in a walls, a window, or a door. The only way to block this sound is by using certified airtight components and installing them with the proper high performance window installs.
Since the performance of the windows are only as good as the install, we teamed up with J’s Custom contracting who have had experience in building several Passive House’s. With J’s high level of experience and 475’s expertise were were able to provide the highest quality window with the highest quality install. The result was fantastic,
And now from the lucky owners, let’s hear from Sydelle & Jo…
Sydelle Our bedroom is located on the exterior wall facing the street. We used to hear all sorts of conversations from people passing by. It was almost as if we were walking along side them. With the new windows from BEWISO we can’t even hear the garbage trucks that used to wake us up every morning.
Jo We had lived in our home for over 40 years, during which we had made very little changes to the look of our interior. I was really nervous about the window upgrade because I had heard that energy and sound efficient windows had really bulky frames. This would have ruined the entire look of our home. Luckily 475 and BEWISO had a solution that could provide both the performance and the beauty. The final install seamlessly match the existing interior, the only thing I notice about them is how little sound they let in.
Get in touch for more on this project, BEWISO windows, or daylighting in general.