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Windows And Energy Savings - What To Look For

                Heating during Chicago winters is expensive, and we at Two Blue try to work towards finding you cost effective, sustainable energy savings to help ease your electric and gas bill when it gets cold.

                One option is to upgrade your old windows to energy efficient windows.  Energy star qualified windows start at around $100 for a normal sized single-hung window.  Energy star windows can help you save an estimated $126-$465 a year. 

                Making an informed decision in important, and here are some options you can get if you are looking for new windows:

·         Common Frame Materials

o   Fiberglass: Paintable, low maintenance, and good thermal performance, but costly.

o   Vinyl: Good thermal performance and cheap.  Non paintable and easily cracked during the winter due to expansion and contraction.

o   Wood: Good thermal performance.  Needs heavy maintenance and has a high cost for quality frames.

o   Aluminum: Strong, good color choices, and low maintenance.  Quality is varied, and thermal performance is low.  More suited for warmer climates.

·         SHGC and U-Factor Glazing Ratings

o   Most glass now have 2 panes of glass and a low-e coating for lowering heat transfer to ensure better insulation in your home.  For colder climates, what you want is high-SHGC and low U-factor windows.

o   SHGC is is an indicated value of how much solar radiation is passed through a window assembly.  The higher a solar heat gain coefficient; the more solar heat it transmits.

o   U-Factor is an indicated value of a window assembly’s ability to resist heat flow and insulate.  Lower U-Factor numbers indicate better insulating properties.

·         Other items to look for

o   Multiple panes of glass with a gap between creates an air buffer to better insulate your home.

o   Different gases can be used to fill the double or triple panes of glass for less thermal conductivity and better insulation.

o   Low-e(missions) coating reflects Infrared and UV light from the outside, and also keeps your heat locked indoors.


Choosing The Right Salt This Winter


Choosing The Right Salt This Winter

With the winter season approaching fast, we know that Chicago winters can be very unpredictable when it comes to winter-time weather.  Buildings and Associations should be preparing to get good pricing on snow removal and salt before the snow and cold sneaks up on you.

An important decision for buildings every year is what kind of de-icer to use for the season.  Common walkways must be de-iced to ensure safety and comfort of walking around your property.  Here are some comparisons of different snow melting salt options Two Blue has reviewed to help you decide this winter.

·         Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride

o   Price scale: Medium

o   Fast acting and effective alternative to the commonly used rock salt.  Mostly safe for grass if used minimally to moderately.  Melts to -25 degrees F.

·         Magnesium Chloride

o   Price scale: Medium

o   Fast acting and effective alternative to the commonly used rock salt.  Mostly safe for grass if used minimally to moderately.  Melts to -13 degrees F, and has a higher chance of damaging asphalt or sidewalks.

·         Potassium Chloride

o   Price Scale: High

o   Safest Pet and Garden friendly alternative.  Melts to -25 degrees F.

·         Sodium Chloride/Rock Salt

o   Price Scale: Low

o   Basic rock salt.  Extremely cheap but toxic to pets, damages surfaces, and not garden friendly.

·         Metal and stairs

o   Metal and stairs can be a hassle.  There are several options for melting ice on metal stairs to minimize, such as Urea based de-icers, or using a brine (liquid de-icer) solution.  Another solution would be to use Sand.  Sand is not a de-icer, but if you shovel beforehand, sand can provide traction for walking on the stairs along with preventing new ice to form on top of it.

These are the most common types of de-icer that we are Two Blue Property Management have worked with in the past.  As a premier Property Management company in Chicago, we are more than happy to help your building manage any upcoming winter woes to ensure a safe environment for everyone!