You can’t go far today without seeing or hearing about environmentally friendly products. It’s ”green” this or ”green” that everywhere you look. I’ve seen bleach and even gasoline advertised as green products, and I question how companies can claim some of these products are green? The short answer is, many of these claims can’t be backed up. Companies have just jumped on the green bandwagon to sell more products.
I’ve researched the criteria the EPA uses to define a green product. There are five standards that a product needs to meet to really be considered ”green.” The criteria are:
- Energy efficiency
- Sustainability/lifespan of materials
- Manufacturing processes used in producing it
- Low negative impact on the environment
- Lower manufacturing costs
Vinyl replacement windows (VRW) qualify as green products because they meet all these criteria. With the many different types of high-performance glass available, vinyl windows are extremely energy efficient. VRWs also have a long lifespan, and they are produced using an efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing process. These products’ impact on the environment is quite positive as well because vinyl is 100% recyclable and reusable. You don’t have to cut down trees or use extra energy to produce vinyl windows.
To reinforce this, I point out a study done in Germany by the Federal Office of the Environment, which is akin to our EPA. Because Europeans have been living in a ”green” environment longer than we have, their research is not only respected, it is time tested. This particular study shows that plastic grocery bags are significantly better for the environment that paper grocery bags. Most people would assume the opposite is true, but the results of this survey are indisputable. The survey results were the basis for similar green criteria used in Europe.
Finally, compared to alternative window products, significantly lower manufacturing costs are incurred in the production of vinyl windows.
So, if you are thinking of “going green” with new windows, remember the surprising “paper or plastic” survey results. And when you consider wood or vinyl windows, go with the more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient option of vinyl.
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