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Open AccessArticle

Carbon Footprint versus Performance of Aluminum, Plastic, and Wood Window Frames from Cradle to Gate

Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University, Richardson Hall 234, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Andrej Marušič Institute, University of Primorska, Muzejski trg 2, 6000 Koper, Slovenia and ILTRA d.o.o., Celovška cesta 238, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Buildings 2012, 2(4), 542-553;
Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 22 November 2012 / Accepted: 5 December 2012 / Published: 12 December 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Design and Construction)
Window frame material has significant impact on the thermal performance of the window. Moreover, with sustainable design becoming a necessity, window frame materials need to have higher levels of environmental performance to be considered sustainable. As a result, a holistic performance metric is needed to assess window frame material. Three similar frames were considered, manufactured from aluminum, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and wood. First their thermal performance was evaluated and compared using a heat transfer model. Then, carbon footprints of the three materials were considered for 1m2 of window area with a similar thermal performance. It was found that the thermal, as well as the environmental, performance of the wooden window frame was superior to those of aluminum and PVC. On the other hand aluminum frames had high environmental impacts and comparatively lower thermal performance. This study provides a holistic viewpoint on window frames by considering both environmental and thermal performance. View Full-Text
Keywords: life-cycle analysis; window frames; thermal performance life-cycle analysis; window frames; thermal performance
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Sinha, A.; Kutnar, A. Carbon Footprint versus Performance of Aluminum, Plastic, and Wood Window Frames from Cradle to Gate. Buildings 2012, 2, 542-553.

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