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Buying Interior Storm Windows
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Interior Storm Windows

I first created these storm windows back in 1997, for an old victorian house I owned. When I moved to Maine, I introduced these interior storm windows at the 2nd Annual Midcoast Sustainable Living Expo, which was sponsored by the Midcoast Green Collaborative and they have been modified, improved, tailored, and run rampant since then. We estimate that over 2000 windows have been made by, and for, Mainers since then, and there are groups now in other parts of the Country, and in Hungary and England making them.


The Design

window without storm
Window without storm
picture credit: Guy Marsden

The idea of the windows is simple. A wooden frame is made about ½ an inch smaller than the window frame it is to go in, and that frame is covered on both side with pieces of heat-shrink (polyolefin) plastic. Tape is used to cover the edge, the film is shrunk with a hair dryer, and a ½ inch foam weather striping is added around the edge. The storm is then inserted in the window frame for the winter, and removed for storage over the summer

We generally make these storms with pre-primed pine, but most any wood will do, provided it is structurally sound. Scrap or #3 pine is fine for basement windows for example, or using clear wood, or painting the wood to match the existing trim, will make the storms even less conspicuous.

Simple instructions or a 2 page PDF version.

An exhaustive website with pictures, material suppliers, and a spreadsheet for material costs by Guy Marsden.

Here is a Google Sketchup plan for the storms, and here it is on the Google 3D Warehouse. Hiding various components will allow the construction details to be discerned.



The Benefits

window with storm
Window with storm
picture credit: Guy Marsden

Interior storm windows have an R-value of around 2.3 and will reduce the air leakage from a leaky window. They also reduce outside noise. However, they do reduce the amount of incoming solar heat (SHGC 0.86), which while not a benefit in the Maine (and many other places) climate, it is a reasonable compromise, and the storms on a whole are a benefit.

The actual benfits you get will vary depending on your climate, cost of heating fuel, and type and condition of your windows. But broadly, if you have single pane windows (and no storms), the simple payback time will be under 7 months. In other words it is cheaper than buying fuel this year. And the benefits will continue for years to come. For single pane windows with aluminum storms, the payback is around a year. For good double pane windows around 2 years. For Andersen energy-star rated lowe-4 windows, the payback is still around 4 to 5 years. Only if you have super high-efficiency triple pane, lo-e, gas filled windows (or better) do these storm not make good sense.



Workshops

MGC sponsored workshops
Round Top Farm window Workshop

Winter Times: Every Saturday, 9:00am - noon

These workshops are run by the Midcoast Green Collaborative's own Topher Belknap. You can make interior Storms at the workshop, get a kit and build them at home, or get raw materails. Workshops will continue the season until interest wanes, and will resume in the fall. But, it is always a good time to build windows.

For more information call Topher Belknap 882-7652 or email at Topher@GreenFret.com

Other workshops

If you are running a interior storm workshop, we would love to hear about it, and will gladly put the relevant information here.



Buying Interior Storm Windows

Green Fret Consulting makes these windows, Contact us for an estimate. We also make a triple pane version for increased insulation value and for larger windows. And we now ship window kits anywhere in the US.

Rendon Sabina, another MGC member, has a business, Downeast Interior Storms, of making windows in large numbers. He has done some large and historical buildings. The interior storm windows are manufactured in Newcastle, Maine. The business serves most areas in northern New England. The storm windows can be installed in virtually any window frame and each window frame is individually measured to ensure a perfect fit.

If you are making these interior storm windows for sale, we would love to hear about it, and will gladly put the relevant information here.



Other News

This is a local TV News report on some volunteers making these windows for low income and elderly homes.

This is a sing-out from Bill McKibben at 350.org