2017 Crystal Achievement Awards: In Honor of Innovation

Window & Door Presents 2017 Crystal Achievement Awards winners

Most Innovative Window



This home in Whistler features Universal Series fiberglass windows. (Images courtesy of Cascadia Windows.)

Our honoree in the window category represents the new emphasis for the fenestration industry at large. As all products move toward energy efficiency, Passive House Certification seems to be the holy grail. Cascadia is one of the first North American manufacturers to achieve this elusive goal with its Universal Series windows. “The ability to meet Passive House energy requirements certainly pushes the technology envelope for the entire industry,” notes one of the Crystal Achievement Award judges.

Universal Series is one of a small group of Passive House Certified windows available in North America and, according to the company, the first commercially- available Passive House Certified fiberglass window. Because of its thermal performance, the company reports that the windows can also contribute to other green building certifications—such as LEED and Living Building Challenge—because they help significantly reduce energy use by preventing excessive heat loss.

The Universal Series allows for energy-friendly projects to significantly lower embodied energy costs in two ways, the company explains. First, because many Passive House Certified windows are manufactured in Europe, the company reasons that allowing for a closer North American-made product reduces energy associated with shipping. Plus, fiberglass in general is associated with lower embodied energy because the manufacturing process of pultruding fiberglass lineals does not require the material to be heated up first, according to the company, as is the case with vinyl and aluminum extrusions.

The Harmony House, featuring the Universal Series, is a net-zero home that produces as much energy as it consumes. The windows help keep energy usage low in a high-performing building envelope.

“Cascadia strives to create products that address the weak points in buildings,” says John Sawatzky, vice president of Cascadia, citing poorperforming window and wall assemblies that allow for excessive heat loss in buildings, resulting in over-using energy via heating and cooling. Case in point, Cascadia’s Universal Series were installed in the Harmony House, one of 14 winners of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s EQuilibrium National Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative. This net-zero home will produce as much energy as it uses on an annual basis from renewable sources, according to Habitat Design + Consulting.

“The Harmony House was the best performing of all 14 projects, achieving actual net zero energy status,” says Sawatzky. “This high-profile building employed Cascadia Windows to achieve an incredibly high-performing envelope, which helped contribute significantly to its low energy use.”

Fiberglass, in general, is associated with lower embodied energy because the manufacturing process of pultruding fiberglass lineals does not require the material to be heated up first, the company reports.

Add to the superior thermal performance of the window its sleek sightlines, durability and larger spans normally associated with aluminum, and the company says that the Universal Series improves on its existing windows in every way.