Although energy efficiency has been a factor in new-product releases in the last year, manufacturers haven’t forgotten that when it comes to windows—both residential and commercial—looking at them is as important as looking through them.

Home life

MI Windows and Doors launched its new HomeMaker3 series in January. Available in the West, HomeMaker3 windows are designed to meet new energy requirements for the proposed Energy Star Version 6.0. They come standard with ¾-inch dual-pane low-E glass, dual weather stripping, and a locking system designed to resist forced entry.

The windows have a wide range of sizes and options. There are six basic styles: horizontal slider, single-hung, casement, awning, fixed, and architectural. All are available in continuous frame combinations to minimize the need for mulling. The windows can be ordered in 1/8-inch increments of width and height and five frame options.

All styles are available in four color combinations and numerous grid options. Glass options include laminated glass, which meets the ASTM safety glass requirements plus blocks 99% of UV light.

Weather Shield Windows & Doors launched in June what it’s calling its most option-rich, architecturally inspired product: Premium Series aluminum-clad wood windows and patio doors. Available in double-hung, casement, awning, and sliding, the windows feature the company’s largest range of standard sizes. Casements are available in sizes up to 3 feet 6 inches by 8 feet and awning windows come as large as 5 feet by 4 feet.

“The Premium Series is our most comprehensive collection of wood windows and patio doors and is designed to meet the discriminating tastes of those looking for the highest quality windows and doors with traditional old-world craftsmanship,” says Dave Koester, Weather Shield brand manager.

The series features a number of options with traditional architectural details, such as a wood-covered jamb liner. Interiors are available in wood and can be factory-finished in four stain finishes, painted with white latex, or primed for finishing at the jobsite. The aluminum-clad exteriors are offered in 12 colors. Weather Shield also has the technology to match any custom color and apply it to an order. There are a variety of choices in grilles and energy-efficient glazing choices.

Also dressing up the window, Marvin Windows and Doors introduced a range of factory-applied stain finishes as well as a factory-applied clear finish on its wood and clad-wood windows and doors in June. These new factory interior finishes join an existing option for a factory-applied painted interior finish.

“With our new interior stain and clear finishes, builders and homeowners will save themselves time, trouble and the mess of staining and finishing on-site,” says Christine Marvin, marketing director for Marvin Windows and Doors.

Introduced in July, Zola Windows’ PanoramicView Corner Lift-Slide series of aluminum-clad wood windows and doors boasts a slender frame, with a sash that is completely hidden in the frame, allowing for continuous glass lines between fixed and operable windows.

Standard on the PanoramicView series are German concealed hinges, which continue the sleek style on the inside, also available with marine grade, stainless steel hardware for coastal conditions. Visible frame width from the outside can be reduced to 0 inches at the head and jamb, achievable by wrapping the facade over the outer frame. At the same time, the series is suitable for energy-conscious homes.

PanoramicView units are available with up to R-11 glass and 74% visible light transmittance. Interior wood is available in a variety of furniture-grade varieties. Maximizing glass area, the fixed panel has an extremely slim frame, and the threshold is fully embeddable, yet thermally optimized. Zola offers the PanoramicView Corner Lift-Slide in sizes up to 11 feet high and 38 feet long (per side).

Also going for wider views, Kolbe also introduced its VistaLuxe Collection in June. It was collaboratively developed with architects specifically for contemporary designs that employ multiple units to create large expanses of glass. It highlights the modern aesthetic with crisp, clean lines conveyed with the warmth of wood.

Kolbe’s VistaLuxe Collection is making its debut with casements, awnings, and direct-set windows. It offers a choice of two profiles: the smoothly aligned Flush style or the setback Accent style. Minimal, narrow frames optimize daylight openings and maximize viewing areas, while maintaining energy efficiency. The glass remains on the same plane for a consistent appearance across the different products in the VistaLuxe Collection.

Out and about

For commercial buildings, Kolbe also introduced its Kolbe 4500 Series of fixed and tilt-turn windows in June. Ideally suited for hospitality, multifamily and mixed-use projects, the steel-reinforced uPVC products are designed to meet commercial buildings’ requirements for enhanced energy efficiency, occupant safety, low-maintenance and longevity.

“The new products meet many of the same structural performance values that aluminum systems provide, yet far exceed aluminum on thermal performance,” says Mark Harger, general manager of Kolbe’s Manawa, Wis., location.

Kolbe 4500 Series windows and doors come in two frame styles: North American 3¼-inch frame with nailing fins and European 23/8-inch frame. Dual overlapping neoprene gaskets provide a tight seal against air and water infiltration. One-inch insulated glass is standard, and 13/8-inch triple-pane insulated glass is available.

Also for demanding commercial applications is Crystal Window & Door Systems new product introduced in July, the Series 2600 double-hung aluminum window. It has a 3¼-inch frame depth and offers a strong weather-resistant test rating. It can be specified for either replacement or new-construction applications.

The new Series 2600 window serves as a crossover product bridging the traditional transition point from commercial to heavy-commercial windows. It has been rated as AAMA CW-PG50-H. This rating achieves equivalent design pressure, uniform structural load, deflection and water resistance performance thresholds as the former heavy-commercial performance rating using a relatively similar standard test size.

The Crystal Series 2600 is available as a double-hung model with tilt-in sashes. The top and bottom sashes feature equal sightlines. A “hospital-style” step sill and three layers of sill weather stripping provide superior “draft” prevention and water resistance.

Sarah Humphreys is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.