Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

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Dbooth26
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Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2021 12:39 pm

Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#1 Post by Dbooth26 »

I have a quote to install 27 windows and a door wall. The Sunrise (not builder grade) and Great Lakes EcoSmart are coming in around the same price. I like Sunrise better for the narrow frame (more daylight), but it is 1.5k more and have u factor of .27. Great Lake is less expensive and has a better u factor. Both get energy star ratings. Am I missing something? Is one better than the other? The both have good warranties. Great Lake says I would be losing 30% efficiencies and risk sagging from the Sunrise window. Sunrise says Great Lakes is old tech and that is why the frame is larger. They also say that .03 in U factor is unrecognizable. What are your thought? Which is a better window?

Delaware Mike
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Location: South Jersey, Delaware, Philadelphia area

Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#2 Post by Delaware Mike »

How is the Great Lakes model .03 better in the overall u-factor? If they're both glazing with double and stainless spacers with similar low-e, their u-factor should be virtually identical? A good Sunrise installer will shim and screw their narrow frame in which it will not sag, but good luck finding and vetting them. The Great Lakes platforms in general excluding the Restorations series are newer tech than the Sunrise platform and I'm not saying better. Sunrise is really slammed with orders as are most manufacturers, thus you will need to be very patient with the lead times.

I was a Great Lakes dealer back in the day, however I replaced them with Sunrise for many years. I made the move before they launched the EcoSmart so I'm not very familiar, sorry. I kind of wound replacing Sunrise with OKNA after talking to the pros here on the boards and realized why they liked their product lines.

Dbooth26
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#3 Post by Dbooth26 »

Mike- thank you for your input. Great Lakes said the have a better coating, thicker vinyl, and perhaps a non metallic spacer(I can’t remember for sure on this one). Does.03 in U factor really make the window that much more efficient?

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HomeSealed
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#4 Post by HomeSealed »

Where are you located? Are these double hung or casements? If double hung, it sounds like both options are coming with glass that has surface 4 (interior surface) low e. If you are in a moderate climate that's fine, but if you are in a cold area that sees window condensation in the winter months, that feature is not the best choice IMO as it decimates condensation resistance ratings.

As far as the windows themselves, the Sunrise is generally regarded as the superior design. Great Lakes hasn't really been seen as a top offering for many years, ironically since the owner sold to Plygem and that family went on to start Sunrise windows.

Lastly, is .03 in u value a measurable difference? Yes. A loose rule of thumb is 3% difference in energy efficiency per hundredth in u value, so that would be 9%... The trick is to make sure that the gain in U value isn't being offset by other factors like a downgrade in SHGC or condensation resistance based on improper glass for your climate, and air infiltration ratings certainly affect performance as well.

Dbooth26
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#5 Post by Dbooth26 »

Thanks Homesealed,
I live in MI so we are in the “Northern” region. I was told they are both offering low E glass. We are looking at sliding windows. Thanks for the input about importance of .03. I will look up the other aspect of the windows and compare.

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HomeSealed
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#6 Post by HomeSealed »

Dbooth, those numbers will all be very important in that case based on your location. Look for the following:

U Value : .27 for Energy Star unless its a special high solar gain package

SHGC: something like .25 or higher unless you have triple pane glass, that can dip a little lower as a trade-off for the improved U value

CR: Condensation Resistance upper 50's to low 60's for double pane, add 10 pts for triple pane

AI: Air Infiltration, under .05. I prefer at or under .03. This is in reference to double hungs and casements, sliders typically run leakier.

Watch out for double pane glass with CR ratings in the 40's or low 50's, as well as double pane glass with SHGC in the low .20's or teens. Those are two signs that the glass being used is designed for warmer climates and not optimized for your area. Some manufacturers and dealers use them however because U value gets all of the attention, so the window looks like it will perform better than it will from that perspective.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#7 Post by Windows on Washington »

Need to make those recommendations a "sticky" at the top of the thread.

TheBaker8
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#8 Post by TheBaker8 »

Homesealed,
You mentioned that you like to see air infiltration under .03 and you also mentioned that sliders typically run leakier. Obviously, any amount of cold air a window leaks in is equivalent thermally to a poorer of U value window. That said, I was looking at some OKNA window specs and their sliders, depending on the window series, are around 0.08 - 0.09 cfm/ft2 for air infiltration. For comparison their DH and Casements are listed at 0.02 and 0.01 respectively.

In your opinion, is the larger air infiltration of the slider style window significant enough that you, generally speaking, would not recommend sliders in cold climate homes? I'm almost wonder if a slider with a good glass package is any better than a casement window with a poor glass package? Thoughts?

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HomeSealed
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#9 Post by HomeSealed »

TheBaker8 wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:58 am Homesealed,
You mentioned that you like to see air infiltration under .03 and you also mentioned that sliders typically run leakier. Obviously, any amount of cold air a window leaks in is equivalent thermally to a poorer of U value window. That said, I was looking at some OKNA window specs and their sliders, depending on the window series, are around 0.08 - 0.09 cfm/ft2 for air infiltration. For comparison their DH and Casements are listed at 0.02 and 0.01 respectively.

In your opinion, is the larger air infiltration of the slider style window significant enough that you, generally speaking, would not recommend sliders in cold climate homes? I'm almost wonder if a slider with a good glass package is any better than a casement window with a poor glass package? Thoughts?

Good questions, unfortunately the answers aren't completely black and white.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that sliders shouldn't be used in cold climates, but I do think its fair to say that a better air infiltration rating is more desirable, therefore that should be applied to the selection of window type/operator, not just brand. I should also mention that there are a few products that actually have better ratings in their sliders than some other configs, but most sliders are leakier in my experience.

That said, as far as whether a good slider is better than a poor casement, overall I'd say yes. The compression seal of a casement means that even poor products can get pretty good AI ratings, but that doesn't mean that they won't still have a much higher rate of failure when all is said and done. If you are talking more specifically about the glass selection, I suppose it depends on exactly what you mean by a "poor glass package". Most windows that are well designed and built don't use low solar gain or surface 4 glass in cold climates because they achieve a good u value without having to resort to that. I should also clarify that I don't think either of those options are "poor glass", they are both great technology when properly applied. The issue is when they are used in colder climates for the perception of better performance when in reality that is not the case.

TheBaker8
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#10 Post by TheBaker8 »

Homesealed,
Thanks for the very informative reply. One follow up question.

You've discussed in several post responses window specs like U-Factor, SHGC, AI, and CR in particular. In those responses you have alluded to how the U-Factor is achieved (good window design vs glazing coatings). I have found that the U-Factor and SHGC are quite readily available for most windows. The AI and CR in particular can be a bit more difficult to find. And then when it comes to the window coating they all seem to get somewhat more general (maybe they are trying to spare the customer the details and prevent undue confusion).

Anyhow. I'm looking at a ProVia Endure series window as one of my choices. I've found the following specs:
U-Factor.......0.25
SHGC...........0.21
VT..............0.47
CR..............61.00
AI...............0.02
Description....Double Glaze - Low-E/Argon

As mentioned above, they don't give a lot of detail regarding the glazing coatings other than there is some Low-E coating. I believe, based on a picture in their brochure, the Low-E coating is on window surface 2. No info about how many layers of coating or anything. To me the CR number looks OK and the U-Factor looks good as well as AI. This data is for a 2-lite casement. Does the SHGC look too low to you for this window? Any other thoughts?

Delaware Mike
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#11 Post by Delaware Mike »

ProVia's default glazing option without a dealer changing to what it should be for most of the country is their "DLA-UV" which is a solar control low-e package. Thus, you have the lower SHGC. That number jumps right where it should be for typical heating/cooling climate when the dealer selects the regular DLA. I'll keep the UV on there for certain circumstances on certain walls on a ProVia project with their windows and sometimes doors.

TheBaker8
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#12 Post by TheBaker8 »

First off, thanks to everyone for all the information sharing on this window glazing topic. I'm slowly learning the window language and as they say "the devil is in the details" so this is great stuff.

Delaware Mike,
You mentioned that ProVia's default glazing option is the "DLA-UV". I dug into this further and found the below numbers for the regular DLA and the DLA-UV options on the ProVia webpage. This is on their 2-Lite Casement.

ComforTech DLA ComforTech DLA-UV
U-Factor 0.25 0.25
SHGC 0.27 0.21
VT 0.50 0.47
CR 61.00 61.00
AI 0.02 0.02
Description DG-Low-E w/Argon DG-Low-E w/Argon

It is evident that the DLA-UV adds a coating which reduces the SHGC from 0.27 down to 0.21. Interestingly, the U-Factor and the CR do not change. So, in a midwest state with cold winters, what is the advantage of the regular DLA over the DLA-UV? I'm guessing that the lower SHGC of the regular DLA would allow more solar heat to enter through the window during the many cold months and therefore is your preferred glazing option in general? I have one large window and two smaller windows which face west and several large windows that face east. In the summer, the large west facing window (currently a bay window) gets a lot of sunlight and the room it's in gets noticeably warm/hot. AC cranks away to counter this. I'm leaning towards the DLA-UV (or equivalent type window from others depending on who I go with) for this big west facing window to mimimize the summer heat entering it. With the CR number being the same I would think the chance of condensation in winter should be the same either way. I think the regular DLA for the other windows would be ok/best. Does this seem like a sound logic to you?

TheBaker8
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#13 Post by TheBaker8 »

Sorry, my formatting got butchered. Here it is in readable format.

Regular DLA
U-Factor............0.25
SHGC................0.27
VT...................0.50
CR...................61.00
AI....................0.02
Description.........Double Glaze - Low-E w/Argon

DLA-UV
U-Factor............0.25
SHGC................0.21
VT...................0.47
CR...................61.00
AI....................0.02
Description........Double Glaze - Low-E w/Argon

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HomeSealed
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#14 Post by HomeSealed »

You are on the right track there, yes, the lower SHGC blocks the solar heat that we want in colder areas of the country as a general rule given that we spend far more money heating our homes than cooling them. Certainly there are cases where that glass can be used strategically, but keep in mind that cutting the sunlight/heat in that large west facing window for summer considerations will cut that same source of heat in the winter. Depending on how far you want to go to maximize your configuration, a better idea would be to take a page from passive solar design and use landscaping or an architectural design feature to shade that opening in the summer sun.

Many products see an improvement of a point or two in U value when going with the low SHGC glass, but some do not. In that case as DM alluded to its simply more of a default situation than a manipulation, although it can still be detrimental to homeowners none the less.

TheBaker8
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Re: Sunrise vs Great Lakes- Help

#15 Post by TheBaker8 »

Homesealed,
Thanks for the reply and I hear you. For my specific situation my "big west facing window" actually faces about 15 deg north of due west (you could say 285 degrees). I checked some some sunrise/sunset data for my local and on April 15 the sunsets due west. On June 21 it sets at 305 degrees. So the heat just flows in, usually unwanted heat. In winter the sun sets so much further south that I don't feel we gain much free heat from it. I think in this instance the lower SHGC glass would be best for this window. The situation is the opposite on our 105 deg facing window on the opposite side (back) of our house so I think higher SHGC glass would be best for that window.

I agree with the shade tree suggestion and am working on that...but it sure does take long for a tree to grow into useful shade when you are in a hurry!

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