Low-E Glass Explained

What is Low-E glass?
From Wikipedia:
The emissivity of a material (usually written ϵ or e) is the relative ability of its surface to emit energy by radiation. It is the ratio of energy radiated by a particular material to energy radiated by a black body at the same temperature. A true black body would have an ϵ = 1 while any real object would have ϵ < 1. Emissivity is a dimensionless quantity. In general, the duller and blacker a material is, the closer its emissivity is to 1. The more reflective a material is, the lower its emissivity. Highly polished silver has an emissivity of about 0.02
Theory  (Sorry about this)
Low-E glass is an acronym for “low emissivity” glass.  Emissivity is a heat transfer concept that is taught and studied in thermodynamics classes in Physics and Engineering.  The skinny is that it is a coefficient within this equation:
Radiant heat loss= ϵ . σ . A  . ΔT4
  • ϵ = Emissivity
  • A =  Surface area of the part radiating heat
  • ΔT = The difference of the temperature from inside and outside (“delta T”)
  • σ = Stefan-Boltzmann constant (Don’t worry about it)

The only thing you need to know about the above equation is the emissivity (ϵ) variable.  What this means in a nutshell is that the lower the ϵ the lower the heat loss due to radiation. Continue reading

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Issues and regulations regarding Egress Windows

Egress windows are a requirement for all new construction projects.  I think the code dates back farther than 1983, but has only recently (say the last 10 years) been enforced.  The purpose of the code is to allow a fireman access to a burning home through the opening of a window.  In theory the clear opening has to be large enough to allow the fireman entry with an oxygen tank strapped on his or her back, which actually makes sense. The code has the following requirements:

  1. No clear opening height dimension may be less than 24″.
  2. No clear opening width dimension may be less than 20″.
  3. For the first floor the square footage of clear opening must be 5 square feet (SF) or higher.
  4. For second floor the SF of clear opening must be 5.7 SF or higher. Continue reading
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Design Considerations for Wood Windows

Figure 2. shows three design concepts for those people to consider if they insist on wood windows. On the far left is the traditional design. This design is used to build thousands of wood windows. In order to understand the issues with this design you should read the above section and also read the psychiatric approach to quality section of what it takes to produce a quality product. This design requires that the company that built the product must build the window exactly to specification and must make sure that the glass is completely caulked in place. If it’s not, then the water will penetrate the corners of the window, or the areas that are not caulked, and decay will be the result.

In the center of Figure 2. is a lower end style of wood clad design. In this design the wood is wrapped in very light aluminum “roll form”. This design is very susceptible to rot for the same reason that the traditional design rots.

The final way to design a wood clad window is shown on the far right hand side of Figure 2. This is a very good way to design a clad window because if the water penetrates the glass/sash interface, the water travels down and is weeped away from the wood. This design will not allow the moisture to contact the wood. If you are dead-set on buying a clad-wood window, then we would suggest that you look for this design. After reading this and you really only want the look of a clad-wood window, then we would suggest that you give the 8017 Double hung a good look, we think it is the best window on the market

If you can find a better window, BUY IT!!!

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MGM Casement passes impact

Our 4710 series casement window passed large missile impact today. We will designate the window with a new series number: the 4780 casement. We passed with the following details:

  • Passed DP-50 impact rated for large missiles.
  • Passed DP-70 air, water and structural. (size: 36 x 72)
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MGM Swing doors now available with Double bore locks

The first double bore going down the line today the the Swing door series!!!!
(Doesn’t Mike look exited.)

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Why Wood Rots

“Why do my wood windows rot?”

Reasons for wood to rot in windows:

• Wood used today is not old growth wood.
• The wood is spiced together by “finger joint” techniques.
• The preservatives used to treat the wood are not as toxic.
•The paints are not as toxic to microbial life .
•The windows are not painted until a few weeks or days after installation
•The manufacturing techniques are sloppy.

Let’s discuss the above points.

    Wood used today is not old growth wood.

Trees used today to make windows are typically planted and harvested in a short period of time in, for lack of a better term: tree farms. Trees are grown in these farms and spaced so that they will grow at maximum speed. As a result of growing so quickly, the tree is not as dense and hard as those trees that have a chance to mature and age.

    The wood is spiced together by “finger joint” techniques.


Competitive pressures in today’s market place have forced the lumber mills to optimize the yield of the trees that are grown. One of the techniques they use to achieve high utilization of the tree is a technique called “finger joint” splicing. See Figure 1 for a view of the end result of this process. Using this process, the wood mills will splice the wood and glue it together. The result is a piece of lumber that is pleasing to the eye. The problem is that the spicing effectively exposes more end grain of the wood. If moisture gets to this end grain, the wood will soak up moisture like a sponge. If this happens, the wood swells and puts pressure on the paint to the point at which the paint can rupture. When this happens it is only a matter of time to see evidence of rot and decay.

    The preservatives used to treat the wood are not as toxic.

EPA regulations have made the preservatives used to prevent wood from rotting much less effective. The toxins used in the past to preserve wood were toxic to microbial life that exists in nature to decay wood. The problem is that these preservatives were also toxic to humans. As the EPA has regulated these chemicals out of the paints and preservatives, there has been an accelerated rate of rot in modern day wood windows.

    The paints are not as toxic to microbial life.

Paints have been improved in many ways to be more durable, but in the process of the development of today’s high performance paints, they have been subject to many EPA concerns. As a result, paints do not, in many instances deter microbial life like they once did. Lead has been removed for the betterment of society, but one of the consequences to that wood rots more quickly and has to be painted more often.

    The windows are not painted until a few weeks or days after installation.

Unfortunately in today’s fast paced building techniques, many builders will wait until the later stages of the construction process to paint the windows that were installed in the home. If the weather resulted in rain on the unpainted windows, then it is a fact that the windows will have absorbed moisture. And this moisture will cause the paint to not adhere correctly and can cause the paint to rupture later as a result of the pressure that the moisture can create under the paint. This will result in blistering and more wood exposure to the elements, hence further rot and decay.

    The manufacturing techniques are sloppy.

Quite simply many of the windows that were built in 1970’s and later were made in companies whose focus was not in building a quality product. (click on this link to see our philosophy on quality)

Note from a guy who has been in the window business for over 25 years.

When I got into the business circa 1985 our company got into this new window system that was made up of uPVC (a.k.a, “plastic”, “vinyl”, and other disparaging terms). Being a product of my environment, I, too, was a skeptic. I thought wood windows were the cat’s meow. I’ll admit it, I had a preference for wood at the time. I, however, had a big advantage over the average person. We had a small business in 1985 and we had to wear many hats, one of which was service technician. I went on almost every service call back then and I started getting an awakening to what materials really made good sense in the fenestration arena. Over a couple of years I finally realized that wood is not a good material for windows in the 20th and 21st century. As a case in point, I would like to refer the reader to a job we did in 1985. It was my uncle’s house in Kennett, Mo. Uncle Omer built a new house in which he is still living in 2011. The windows are an absolute marvel. The literally look brand new. After 25 years they are spotless. If you really want to buy a wood window, then please read my article: design considerations for wood windows.

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Original Post Of: The Power of Social Media


After you have gotten up to speed on the story, Click on the 8017 Double Hung picture above, for a laugh.

The blogs….On Dec 7th, 2010 The following company newsletter went out on to approximately 600 people on MGM’s mailing list:
4th QTR Newsletter
Here is an excerpt…Is it MGM or is it Andersen?….”

We received the following on January 2nd, 2011 from a law firm representing Andersen Window Company: FedEx letter to MGM Industries. …excerpt…”we demand that you cease and desist with any comparative advertising and agree to corrective advertising subject to Andersen Corporation’s approval….”

In an effort to comply with Andersen’s issues and clarify our position the Southern Rose 8017 Series all vinyl window, we sent out the following email blast:
MGM apology to Andersen
…excerpt…”We would like to say publicly that our window is not completely identical and furthermore, we think it is better than the Andersen product: we admit that our window is not identical. It has no wood it in, so ipso facto it is not identical: i.e., it’s not going to rot.

AndersenTM is a registered trademark of Andersen Corporation. MGM is not affiliated with Andersen in any way.

On Monday, Jan 10, 2011 4:06 pm we published:
The MGM Challenge
(note: As of 11:27am January 13, 2011 the myemma.com website server was edited and the number two question now reads: Do clad windows have wood in them?)

(last edit of the following was before January 14th)
It is our position that our window is not identical to Andersen’s window products. I would like to state publicly that I do think Andersen’s products contribute significantly to the fenestration industry in a positive way. Their products are well designed and I would recommend them whole heartily for your window and door needs, if you are looking for a clad wood window you can stain on the interior. We do not have a product like that, and Andersen, as well as others, service that niche of the market very well, indeed.

I have another story to write this morning. The story itself is interesting to me, but it spurs my thinking about the changing world and the impact that the internet and social media have on it. The event last week with Andersen really has my wheels turning. I’m wondering and pondering statistical theory about nodal points. I am wondering just how powerful a blog could be and might be. I’m fascinated by the interaction of it all. Before I started this entry, I worked on today’s survey and put in the triple entries to link to this blog. I wonder how many survey recipients will actually take the survey, and how many will ultimately read this blog entry. The survey went out to about 600 people in the fenestration industry and I am wondering about statistical nodal points and how they could multiply. I’m wondering if they will ultimately link back to this blog entry. What if everyone that reads this entry finds it compelling enough to send it to five friends by clicking one of the sharing tools that are on the toolbar below and to the the right of this blog entry – I wonder. Will more people look at our Southern Rose 8017 Series window as a result of those increased nodal points? It’s interesting. I wonder if Andersen will want to file some kind of suit. Who knows? If they do, will it be a newsworthy event? If it’s a newsworthy event, how will that play with traditional media and social media?

But you never know, things just might get heated up. If it does, I’m wondering what kind of legal expense it could be. I’m not afraid to “stare down the buffalo” for a good cause. If we’ve gotten to the point in America that a big company can sue a small company because the small company has a passion for their business, because they simply asked the customer to compare….then God help us, America is on a path of lowering its standards because big business does not have the decency to play by fair rules.

What’s wrong with asking the consumer to compare products? Pepsi and Coke ask each other to compare, why can’t MGM ask OUR customers to compare? I do have a passion for our product: I designed it. I say that with trepidation, because it’s not my nature to boast. But there comes a time where you have to show your passions in life. Take a close look at our Southern Rose 8017 and ask yourself if it is identical to a clad window. Is it? If you think so, give me a call because I need to talk to you. 1-800-476-5584. Or come to our plant, we’ll buy the coffee.

If you’re reading this blog entry then there is a statistical probability that you will read MGM’s philosophy of quality – MGM’s Philosophy on Quality. Find out what it takes to be a champion–if you have the time, please read it, I think it will give you insight into our team.

Since you’re reading this, then social media has already made an impact on your perception of MGM as a purveyor of windows and doors. I find that absolutely fascinating. It shows the power of words and, I hope, the power of honesty and the power of social media. You can link on any one of the links on the toolbar below this blog entry – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – or you can email this to a friend and create another nodal point who can email it to another friend and create a nodal point… ad infinitum. The power of the internet is so powerful. It has already changed the way people are marketing, but it really has not even begun to impact our lives as it will in the future.

I still like Lee Iacooca’s phrase: “If you can find a better car, BUY IT”.

Well, I’m saying: “If you can find a better window, BUY IT.”

Best regards,

P.S. You can still submit a survey entry, just click on:
The MGM Challenge survey

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“The Mallet” (a short treatise on quality)

Back in 1978 I was a budding mechanical engineering student at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt had a summer internship program with a lot of the big fortune 500 companies as well as smaller companies. I do not remember his name, but I do remember talking to one of my fellow cohorts about his summer experience when he worked at one of General Motors manufacturing plants in which they were assembling cars. He opened up by saying he would never buy or own a GM product and went on to say that they were using rubber mallets to do the fit and finish of the cars on the assembly line.

I’m not taking about using a rubber mallet as a production tool, which is OK. I’m taking about using the rubber mallet as a solution to a quality problem. Continue reading

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R-5 Window Demand

There has been a lot of bally-hoo lately among the window manufacturing community about an R-5 window.  This window would probably require a 1.500 inch overall insulated unit which is triple glazed and has two layers of Low-E glass.  The question is, is there a viable market for this product?  The typical extrusion house will have to tool up for about $500,000+ in extrusion tooling because the sash will have to be widened, which means the main frame will have to be designed to accommodate the bigger sash.  This also means the overall jamb width of a window will have to exceed 3 1/4 inches.  So with this consideration, it means a replacement window will have to have a rather pronounced bevel on the outside of the window.  All these are design consideration and constraints.  So the real question remains:  is there a viable market for this product? Continue reading

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Do you have a market for a sliding “4 panel”

MGM is developing a new telescoping patio door based on our 8005 Series patio door.  It has four individual tracks in the door.  This means that the panels will slide in their own individual tracks. It will allow for a 12 wide door.  All the panels will slide to either side and store together. On a 12 foot door, this will create a 9 foot clear opening. It will be great for a screen porch application.
4 Panel Cross Cection

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