Roof Shingles Prices – Take Out the Guess Work

Spring is the season for roofing and most of the building supply houses will have sales weekly that offer roofing supplies. Depending on what product you will need the prices can be relatively small to several hundred dollars. Roofing products are pretty versatile and can range from peel and stick roofing shingles to steep roof pitches that come in a roll, asphalt, wood shake, lamented and steel. Steel shingles can even be shaped to resemble wood shake. Steel shingles cost around $58.00 a bundle and three bundles cover 100 square feet.

The most common roofing shingle is an asphalt shingle and they can come in various sizes and tabs. Corning offers a three tab roofing one. A collection of asphalt shingles is normally between $15.49 to $60.00 a bundle depending on the warranty the company offers. Corning even offers an asphalt shingle called the Heritage that is a three tab asphalt tile that gives the illusion of wood shake and is available in various colors to match the exterior of the home’s siding and trim. The Heritage shingle can normally withstand 130 mph and a three bundles should cover 98.4 square feet.

Shake is probably the oldest form of shingle still sold in the United States. Wood shake comes in two sizes, medium and large. The medium wood shake measures 18″ by 7 1/2″ and a bundle normally covers 15′ and costs around $22.00 a bundle depending on the home building store pricing. The large wood shake is 24″ by 10″ and a bundle normally covers 20′ and costs around $35.00 a bundle. Wood shake is also available to complete the hip and ridge of the roof. A bundle cost around $43.00 and covers sixteen linear feet.

A new type of shingle that has recently gained popularity is the laminated asphalt shingle. The laminated asphalt shingle has a 53 year warranty, is algae resistant and is said to withstand winds up to 80 mph. They are reported in the advertisement to be so cheap that the bundle price could not even be listed in the advertisement. The home building stores want you to call or come in for pricing as they feel the they were to low to place in their company ads. These laminated shingles are said to be part of the new green movement and are environmentally friendly. Three bundles weigh 235 lbs and cover 100 square feet.

Federal Brace, A company on the move.

This week Ive chosen to recount the incredible year Federal Brace has had bringing their customers Beautifully Crafted, Confident Supports. They have doubled their countertop bracket line by announcing the release of ten new styles. These fresh new countertop bracket designs augment the large selection of countertop supports already available under the Federal Brace brand.

The companys new Enterprise Support, Foremont Support, and Perrine Decorative Support styles are part of the new countertop mounted support line. The use of these brackets within this application type is to support an elevated bar directly from the lower countertop level. The brackets are mounted directly to the sub-counter and elevated on a counter or a bar on support plates at the top of the bracket.

Federal Brace announced the Bracket Backer , a designing enhancement with backer board trim that protects soft wall material behind brackets in heavy weight applications. This product is designed to prevent sheetrock flexing or crushing of soft wallboard materials.

They provide free video guides and tips regarding countertop and countertop bracket installations. These videos feature trained professionals using various support styles and types in many different applications. They create these videos for the benefit of their customers so they may gain knowledge of the countertop installation process and to see their countertop supports in action.

Federal Brace is no longer just a kitchen countertop support company. To finish out a year of expansive growth, the company is introducing a full line of sixteen shelf brackets. These new offering will include designs from Federal Braces most popular countertop support models. Now customers can match their countertop supports with decorative shelf brackets elsewhere in the home.

The Brunswick style support was featured for The KBISs Best In Show, in Chicago, where it garnered much interest and positive comments related to both its strength and style. At the IWF show, in Atlanta, wood workers marveled at the craftsmanship of the brackets and showered Federal Brace with positive comments.

When it comes to the customers needs, their needs are their number one focus and the driving force of their business. To meet the needs of the consumers they have expanded their offices and added more personal. They have added more dealers and distributors throughout the continental United States. Federal Brace has helped thousands of homeowners with countertop support solutions and is steadfast in supplying Beautifully Crafted, Confident Supports for America. Onto 2011!

Home Security Helper CCTV camera

The CCTV video equipment (other wise known as closed circuit television) has been used for the purpose of security monitoring for many years. The CCTV video equipment unlike the TV broadcast team as each part is linked by cables or other direct means. Closed circuit television is used by security teams most often where there is a high need for additional security measures. Most of all banks, airports and many apartment complexes incorporating CCTV video equipment in their security programs.

CCTV video equipment was originally developed to help strengthen security in the banks but lately there has been some debate about privacy issues with the use of closed circuit television. As technology has advanced CCTV video equipment has become quite simple and inexpensive to use making it a popular choice for home security and surveillance for use by many Investigators.

The UK worked to develop systems of CCTV video equipment as a result of the terrorist bombings in the 70’s and 80’s. Today in England there are team closed circuit TV in many terms of buses, public areas and apartment buildings. The CCTV video equipment used in the United Kingdom has shown to have reduced the amount of crime in lots and parking crimes against taxi drivers.

The use of CCTV video equipment in the United States in much less common then in the UK as usage tends to bring strong opposition due to privacy issues.

While some say that the use of CCTV video equipment helps deter crime event, the most notable use of CCTV video equipment is the identification and prosecution of criminals who are perpetrating crimes.

Closed circuit TV has helped in the capture and prosecution of terrorist bombers and child abductors notable. Use of CCTV video equipment to track the location of abducted children has become quite common today with the agencies.

The CCTV video equipment has also helped to keep many agencies of law enforcement in check. For example, closed circuit TV helped by dismissing some of the demands made by the British police as Jean Charles de Menezes, who cleans officials sued was responsible for bombing a London underground, was shot to death by police officers.

The CCTV video equipment is also proving useful in the ways of the United Kingdom and the United States. Closed circuit television can be used to monitor areas of possible traffic congestion and detect when an accident happens. They can also be used to identify and apprehend those who break traffic laws such as speeding.

While there have been some strong opposition against the overuse and misuse of video equipment systems CCTV, closed circuit TV has been shown in many cases be a useful tool in assisting with keeping safe and helping individuals pledge to Others who commit crimes against.

How To Improve The Us Economy – A Political Perspective

The United States has been in a recession since December, 2007, as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit research organization. But the American people, and the Obama administration along with the democrat majority congress, seem to be at odds on how to fix the American economy.

A robust economy means companies expand which results in job creation. Currently, the American people are not spending because many are not working, and those who are working are spending less, most likely due to the possibility of losing their job. Current unemployment rate stands at 9.6% as of August, 2009. A decrease in spending by the American people results in a decrease in company profits, company non expansion, and more layoffs.

Reporting on a survey by Watson Wyatt, a consulting firm, the HRSpecialist.com reported in November of 2008 that one-fourth of U.S. employers plan to have staff reductions during the following calendar year. We are now seeing this come to fruition for 2009.

So how can the US economy improve? Improvement being defined as two consecutive quarters where we do not have negative growth in the GDP (gross domestic product). The following is what we call the Steps to Economic Improvement. These are steps for consideration which hopefully result in a healthy bipartisan discussion between our elected congressman and their constituency. These steps may result in non-recessionary growth of our economy.

You may or may not agree with these steps, but at a bare minimum, these are points to consider, and ideally result in a healthy discussion with our elected congressmen, which at last check, is one of the unchanged notions of a free democratic society.

Steps to Economic Improvement:

1) The first step is to realize that it is business and not government that creates jobs and wealth within the American society. This is where we believe is the heart of the problem. It is evident that the Obama administration believes it is government that will lead Americans to economic prosperity. This is why the federal government has put forth a $780 billion stimulus package. So where is this money really going. Lets take a look at the breakdown. (source Republican Senate office, CNN.com AC360)

$780 Billion Stimulus Package:

MORE THAN $43 BILLION IN TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS
$27 BILLION FOR HIGHWAY, ROAD AND BRIDGE INVESTMENTS
$8.4 BILLION FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT INVESTMENT
$2 BILLION FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL
$1.3 BILLION FOR FAA AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
$850 MILLION FOR AMTRAK
$250 MILLION FOR GRANTS TO STATES FOR INVESTMENT IN HIGH SPEED AND INNER CITY PASSENGER RAIL
$100 MILLION TO MARITIME ADMINISTRATION FOR ASSISTANCE TO SMALL SHIPYARDS
$76.8 BILLION IN EDUCATION INVESTMENTS
$39 BILLION FOR STATE FISCAL RELIEF TARGETED DIRECTLY FOR EDUCATION
$13.9 BILLION FOR PELL GRANTS
$13.5 BILLION FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING
$10.4 BILLION FOR TITLE I
$6.4 BILLION FOR WATER AND SEWER INFRASTRUCTURE
$3 BILLION FOR JOB TRAINING
$3.25 BILLION FOR WORKFORCE INVESTMENT PROGRAMS
$160 MILLION FOR JOB CORPS
$87 BILLION IN TEMPORARY AND TARGETED MEDICAID RELIEF TO STATES
$5 BILLION FOR SUPPLEMENTAL GRANTS TO PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES FOR CAPITAL NEEDS
$4.7 BILLION FOR STATE AND LOCAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY BLOCK GRANTS
$4.4 BILLION FOR SMART GRID
$2.9 BILLION FOR WEATHERIZATION PROGRAMS
$2 BILLION FOR ADVANCED BATTERY MANUFACTURING
$7 BILLION FOR LOAN GUARANTEES FOR STANDARD RENEWABLES
$800 MILLION FOR CONSTRUCTION OF PORTS OF ENTRY
$500 MILLION FOR FIREFIGHTERS ASSISTANCE GRANTS
$1.2 BILLION FOR NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

As part of the 2010 budget proposal, the Obama administration has also proposed additional measures to attempt to stabilize the economy, including a $23 trillion measure aimed at stabilizing the financial system and freeing up credit. In a nutshell, auditors from the Congressional Budget Office have said that Obama’s budget would produce $9.3 trillion in deficits over the next decade.

This is a large chunk of change that needs to be provided by the American taxpayer! But the question is, will all of this spending help the long term growth of the US economy? Growth being during the period of not just the next few years, but rather 10 to 15 years. We believe it will not and here is why.

2) These programs burden the tax payer. History has shown that long sustained economic growth can not take place when the tax payer is over burdened by a federal deficit. Also, when the government spends money they do not have, they print more money, which results in a devaluation of the US dollar. This results in inflation.

3) Small businesses employ just over half of U.S. workers. How do you define a small business. The Office of Advocacy defines a small business for research purposes as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. In examining the $780 billion stimulus package, you can see that there is no real help for small business. Remember, job creation is needed for economic recovery.

4) The socializing of America will not result in long term economic growth. The massive spending that the Obama administration has proposed will result in an even greater tax burden to the American people.

Most Americans believe in the frame work and meaning of The Constitution of the United States. The first words of the Constitution “We the People” make it clear that our government was established to serve the people. The essence of a democracy was eloquently stated by President Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” This simply means that our elected president and congress have a responsibility to listen to the American people.

And it can be said that most Americans do not want a socialistic society for the United States. Government needs to stop spending the American tax dollar, simply because an escalating government deficit will not result in an overall improvement in our economy.

5) Programs such as Cash for Clunkers, auto industry bailouts, and the like, only in the end increase the tax burden on the American people. These massively expensive programs do very little to improve the viability and strength of most small business. Based on 2008 figures, there are 155 million workers in the United States. The car industry accounts for about 13 million of these workers. Therefore, most Americans will not benefit from the bailout of the auto industry. There is only a marginal at best improvement in the economy from such programs.

6) We do applaud the Obama administration for the injection of capital into the financial institutions, because for small business to flourish, there needs to be capital available, and commercial banks and other depository institutions are the largest lenders of capital to small business.

7) The economy will do much better when companies are left to compete in the market place with minimal government involvement. A case in point, the Reagan administration had a policy of less government during the 1980s. This resulted in long term economic growth. This is the exact opposite of what the Obama administration is trying to do.

The Obama administration was given a bad economy when Barack Obama took office. But the Obama administration has taken a bad situation and made it much worse. Many economists believe that our economy would return anyway, with minimal government involvement. In terms of the economy, the government many times creates or prolongs problems and really does not solve them. A case in point, the deregulation of the banking industry which resulted in sub-prime lending. This created an eventual financial collapse, which resulted in the down turn in our economy and our current economic meltdown.

To conclude, the concept of minimal government is an important component for a strong American economy. Letting companies naturally compete within a free democratic society, with minimal government involvement, produces a robust economy, which benefits all Americans. The writers of the Constitution of the United Sates, our founding fathers, believed that the role of government in the lives of people should be minimal. Should we not adhere to the principles of our Constitution?

By letting your voice be heard, it is the American people who in the end control the destiny of the United States. And in the end, it is the American people who will control the destiny of the American economy. Go to your congressmans website and contact them, discuss these points, express your opinion, and let them know how you feel. It is your right and duty as an American citizen.

Custom Home Builders Vaincrease Energy Efficiency Of My Home

Custom Home Builders VA:What can I do to increase the energy efficiency of my current home?

by: www.CustomHomeBuildersVA.com

Most advisers agree that energy prices are going to continue to go up. If you look at the possibility of further devaluation of the dollar combined with the possibility of draconian energy legislation, the opportunity of extraordinary escalation of energy prices exists.

Many Americans are living in homes larger than they need. Homes that were built for size rather than quality.

In my opinion, getting prepared for high energy costs is a critical component of any preparedness strategy.

First do all the conventional things to make your home as energy efficient as possible.

Add insulation, upgrade windows and doors (while you are doing this it is an excellent opportunity to upgrade your security), change light bulbs, upgrade appliances, install water heater blankets. If the plumbing pipes have relatively short runs it is very likely that a propane fired tank-less water heater would make sense.

Secondly, consider your heating system. This is an intensive area of energy for many homes.

We recommend wood-fired outdoor boilers where feasible. These units circulate hot water and can be used for many heating applications including home heat, domestic hot water, greenhouse radiant heat and swimming pools, to name a few.

If you have a heat pump, a propane furnace installed with the heat pump is a very good combination. This allows for an energy efficient propane furnace to do the heating when the heat pump is out of its operating range. While there are very efficient and comfortable heat pumps, the back-up heating strips on heat pumps are very energy intensive. Propane is still primarily produced in the United States.

Also, we have had very good experiences with geo-thermal. While it is still electric based, it provides an excellent source of heating in mild climates and is incredibly energy efficient.

We always recommend some alternate options in heating, so there is some source of heat in the event of grid failures. For example, if you have a geo-thermal heating system, install a wood stove as the back-up.
There are a number of structural changes or modifications which could result in much greater energy efficiency. These would include adding a vestibule or windbreak if you have children or go in and out of the house a good bit. You might be able to earth berm part of the north side of your house, or add a solar room to the south side of the home, just to name a few possibilities.

Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Bill On Verge Of Senate Breakthrough

While many in Washington still warn about the dangers of carbon emissions and climate change, the reality and perhaps the one thing that experts on both sides agree on, is that Americans are paying less attention to global warming than they have in the past. To end this uncertainty, the Senate after months of behind the scenes maneuvering will begin the debate on the critically important legislation which could help American consumers, businesses and the federal government to save millions of dollars each year by using less energy, and using less energy will be a step forward in the fight against climate change in the U.S.
The new energy efficiency legislation introduced by Senators Shaheen and Portman could come up before the U.S. Senate for approval. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, also known as Shaheen-Portman Bill will help to reduce the energy bill of U.S., improve its economic competitiveness, create new American jobs and enhance U.S. energy security. The bill has been endorsed by more than 200 businesses, trade associations and advocacy groups.
What is the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act?
The Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Bill passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a 19-3 vote, it includes provisions that will directly improve energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and federal agencies, the provisions in the bill include strengthening energy efficiency requirements in building energy codes, incentivizing energy efficiency using rebates and for certain equipment, encouraging energy efficiency supply chains through a new supply star program.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found implementation of the bill would save about 9.5 quadrillion btus (british thermal units) between 2014 and 2030, or nearly one tenth of the annual energy use in the U.S. As the second largest consumer of energy in the world and the worlds biggest economy it is critically important for the United States to improve energy efficiency, the bill has received bipartisan support with seven Republicans and twelve Democrats in favor of the bill. It contains a variety of policies and programs to reduce residential, commercial and industrial energy use and focusing on sectors and areas with energy savings potential such as the residential, commercial and industrial sectors, the bill also restricts inefficient energy practices that will cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and millions of jobs every year. One of the components of the bill also requires the Federal Government- which is the largest user of energy adopt energy saving techniques and best practices to operate efficiently.
Commenting on the bill Senator Portman said Washington can seem pretty divided these days, but there are some things on which we all can agree. This bill is one of them it is good for the economy and good for the environment. By making it easier for employers to use energy efficient tools, we are helping them to reduce their costs, enabling them to put those savings towards expanding their companies and hiring new workers.
The bill has received positive feedback and widespread support, the only constraint halting the success of the bill are the amendments lawmakers are trying to attach to it. The successful passing of this bill will not only help in mitigating climate change in the U.S. and reduce carbon emissions but also be a trendsetter for other countries to follow suit.

http://www.internationalfinancemagazine.com/article/Bipartisan-Energy-Efficiency-Bill-Verge-Senate-Breakthrough.html

Learning What A Barcelona Chair Is

The Barcelona chair, which is actually considered to be a more modern classic and one of the most elegant chairs of the twentieth century, was actually designed by Mies van der Rohe.

In fact, he was the one to design this marvelous chair at the International Exposition in Barcelona in 1929. Mies van der Rohe drew his inspiration for his design from an Egyptian folding chair and from a Roman folding stool. The chair was created to replicate a throne and made its very first appearance during the inaugural ceremony by the Spanish royal family at the exposition.

The chair exudes grandeur and class while at the same time it is light and strong. The Barcelona chair is considered by common consensus to be the very pinnacle of a harmonized approach to materials, design, and workmanship. In 1950, the original design of this amazing chair was improved upon by Mies, which resulted in a fully welded object in which additional braces at the welding points were eliminated. The one piece frame made of stainless steel actually offered much more higher strength and spring.

In the United States, this design was popularized by George Nelson. The chair was originally hand made, but was subsequently mass produced and marketed by the company known as Knoll Associates, which now manufactures it in the United States and in twenty nine other countries. You can find these marvelous chairs at either your local furniture store of see pictures on-line at a variety of home decor forums.

Two connected pairs of crossed steel bars constitute the framework of the chair. On this marvelous chair the front legs and the back legs of the chair are curved, while the back legs cross the front legs to form a double curve that supports the seat. The chair has foam rubber cushions, which are covered with buttoned leather and are placed on the seat and the back by means of saddle leather straps.

The Barcelona chair is sold by a large variety of furniture stores. Several of these furniture stores have on-line catalogs, which a prospective buyer can browse through easily. Although, there are several renditions of the Barcelona chair that are available in the market, they are usually made from chromed stainless steel with the single piece frame that has been hand buffed till a mirror finish is achieved.

The upholstery consists of individual leather panels, which are actually forty in number that are often times hand welted and hand tufted. In order to maintain the uniformity of appearance and texture, the leather panels are usually crafted from a single hide, with the most favored colors being either tan or black.

Even though the Barcelona chair has a much more modular look that suggests it has been massed produced, it is the craftsmanship that requires all the virtues that are associated with a hand crafted masterpiece. In fact, the Barcelona chair is a piece of sculpture and tends to find extensive use in many waiting rooms and foyers throughout the world.

Luxaire Air Conditioners

Luxaire is a division of the Unitary Products Groups – A Johnson Controls Company. The company is a major supplier of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration units in the United States and a leading supplier on the international market. The quest of the company to find the top technology is evident in their line of energy efficient residential and light commercial heating and cooling systems. In addition, Luxaire offers you superior service and support. Efficient and reliable heating and cooling systems that are backed by award winning service is why many homeowners, dealers and distributors choose Luxaire systems.

A vital piece of the Luxaire cooling system is the air conditioning coil. The Luxaire system comes with two parts – an indoor and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit is the air handler or furnace, which is responsible for circulating air throughout the building. Inside the air handler or furnace there is a fan and an evaporator coil. Because of these two components being properly matched, you get a money saving efficient machine that gives you improved comfort and years of maintenance free service.

The air condition coil in Luxaire products are specifically engineered for outstanding durability and exceptional heat transfer. With Luxaire high quality coils you will get the comfort you need in either your home or business atmosphere. You get an indoor and outdoor unit that is perfectly matched for high efficiency. A positive-sloped drain pan reduces the issue of standing water that can lead to germs. A special patented MicroBlue coating on the air conditioning coil keeps germs and moisture from collecting on the coil and being released into the air. In a few air conditioning coils, you can get environmentally friendly and proven refrigerants. For optimum performance, there is an optional thermostatic expansion valve.

The 13 SEER: Climasure MicroChannel air conditioner will make a big difference in your energy bill. Sometimes it can reduce your energy bill by up to 50% compared to other central air conditioning units that are over 10 years old. When combined with a variable speed air handler or gas furnace, you will get efficiencies over 14 SEER, which can further reduce the operating cost of your air conditioning unit.

Lastly, Luxaire air conditioners are specifically engineered for reliability and outstanding performance. Luxaire air conditioners provide a high efficiency condensing units, which provides you with the comfort you need. For the highest efficiency, your furnace and coil are perfectly matched. You get an assured longer life with an advanced MicroChannel all aluminum construction. Luxaire air conditioning units are specifically designed to reach maximum performance in the minimum amount of space. All of the moving parts in a Luxaire air conditioning unit are specially selected and mounted in order to meet the lowest sound ratings. The fan motor on a Luxaire air conditioning unit is permanently lubricated so no maintenance is required.

With all these benefits, it is easy to see why many people are making Luxaire air conditioners the choice for all air conditioning needs. It is also clear why Luxaire has become an industry leader in the air conditioning industry.

Selecting The Right Windows For Energy Efficiency

Selecting The Right Windows for Energy Efficiency

New window technologies have increased energy benefits and comfort, and have provided more practical options for consumers. This selection guide will help homeowners, architects, and builders take advantage of the expanding window market. The guide contains three
sections: an explanation of energy-related window characteristics, a discussion of window energy performance ratings, and a convenient checklist for window selection.

Selecting the right window for a specific home invariably requires tradeoffs between different
energy performance features, and with other non-energy issues. An understanding of some basic energy concepts is therefore essential to choosing appropriate windows and skylights. As illustrated on the following page, three major types of energy flow occur through windows:

(1) non-solar heat losses and gains in the form of conduction, convection, and radiation;
(2) solar heat gains in the form of radiation; and
(3) airflow, both intentional (ventilation) and unintentional (infiltration).

Insulating Value

The non-solar heat flow through a window is a result of the temperature difference between the indoors and outdoors. Windows lose heat to the outside during the heating season and
gain heat from the outside during the cooling season, adding to the energy needs in a home. The effects of nonsolar heat flow are generally greater on heating needs than on cooling
needs because indoor-outdoor temperature differences are greater during the heating season than during the cooling season in most regions of the United States. For any window
product, the greater the temperature difference from inside to out, the greater the rate of heat flow.

A U-factor is a measure of the rate of non-solar heat flow through a window or skylight. (An R-value is a measure of the resistance of a window or skylight to heat flow and is the reciprocal of a U-factor.) Lower U-factors (or higher R values), thus indicate reduced heat flow. U-factors
allow consumers to compare the insulating properties of different windows
and skylights.

The insulating value of a singlepane window is due mainly to the thin films of still air on the interior and moving air on the exterior glazing surfaces. The glazing itself doesnt offer
much resistance to heat flow. Additional panes markedly reduce the U-factor by creating still air spaces, which increase insulating value.

In addition to conventional double-pane windows, many manufacturers offer windows
that incorporate relatively new tech- nologies aimed at decreasing U-factors.
These technologies include low-emittance (low-E) coatings and gas fills. A low-E coating is a microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metal or metallic oxide coating deposited on a glazing surface.

The coating may be applied to one or more of the glazing surfaces facing an
air space in a multiple-pane window, or to a thin plastic film inserted between panes. The coating limits radiative heat flow between panes by reflecting heat back into the home during cold weather and back to the outdoors during warm weather. This effect increases the insulating value of the window. Most window manufacturers now offer windows and skylights
with low-E coatings.

The spaces between windowpanes can be filled with gases that insulate better
than air. Argon, krypton, sulfur hexafluoride, and carbon dioxide are among the gases used for this purpose. Gas fills add only a few dollars to the prices of most windows and skylights. They are most effective when used in conjunction with low-E coatings. For these reasons, some manufacturers have made gas fills standard in their low-E windows and skylights.
The insulating value of an entire window can be very different from that of the glazing alone. The whole-window U-factor includes the effects of the glazing, the frame, and, if present, the insulating glass spacer. (The spacer is the component in a window that separates glazing panes. It often reduces the insulating value at the glazing edges.)
Since a single-pane window with a metal frame has about the same overall Ufactor as a single glass pane alone, frame and glazing edge effects were not of great concern before multiple-pane, low-E, and gas-filled windows and skylights were widely used. With the recent expansion of thermally improved glazing options offered by manufacturers, frame and spacer properties now can have a more pronounced influence on the U-factors of windows and skylights.

As a result, frame and spacer options have also multiplied as manufacturers offer improved designs. Window frames can be made of aluminum, steel, wood, vinyl, fiberglass, or
composites of these materials. Wood, fiberglass, and vinyl frames are better insulators than metal. Some aluminum frames are designed with internal thermal breaks, non-metal components that reduce heat flow through the frame.

These thermally broken aluminum frames can resist heat flow considerably better than aluminum frames without thermal breaks. Composite frames may use two or more materials (e.g. aluminum-clad wood, vinyl-clad wood) to optimize their design and performance, and typically have insulating values intermediate between those of the materials comprising them. Frame geometry, as well as material type, also strongly influences thermal performance properties.

Spacers can be made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, foam, or combinations of
these materials. Spacer thermal perfor- mance is as much a function of geometry as of composition. For example, some well-designed metal spacers insulate almost as well as foam.

The table on page 3 shows representative U-factors for window glazing, frame, and spacer combinations under winter design conditions. Due to their orientation and their greater projected surface areas, domed and other shaped tilted and horizontal skylights have significantly higher U-factors than do vertical windows of similar materials and opening sizes.

Asbestos Lawsuits in Louisiana

In towns and cities throughout the United States, asbestos lawsuits are increasingly prolific as individuals exposed to asbestos twenty and thirty years ago are today developing and dying from mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and extremely lethal form of cancer, in which malignant cells are found in the protective sac covering most of the bodys internal organs. Mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, takes up to three decades to strike its victims. Those with the greatest risk of developing mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways.

Today, a growing number of mesothelioma lawsuits have succeeded in recovering hundreds of millions in compensation for the tens of thousands of mesothelioma victims. Compensation is paid by the companies that make these asbestos products, and enables victims to cover their medical expenses and to be compensated for their pain and suffering.

A current center of concern for asbestos victims is New Orleans. In the post-Katrina era, New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana is undergoing a boom in construction a business infamous for its use of asbestos products. Post-storm rehabilitations of homes, the related large-scale demolitions, and even just the ubiquitous roofing jobs currently underway are exposing thousands of people to asbestos. Despite these dangers, however, Congress is considering a Bill that would prevent someone who becomes ill with cancer as a result of post-Katrina asbestos exposure from getting financial relief.

The introduction of the Bill is being motivated by calls for tort reform among asbestos-related industries. Financially crippled by increasingly high rewards to asbestos victims, these industries want a cap on their liability. They cite a recent asbestos lawsuit in Louisiana, in which homeowners who purchased asbestos-contaminated fill dirt sued the contractor who sold them the soil, as well as the oil company where the dirt had been removed. Although none of the plaintiffs have yet become sick, a jury awarded them compensatory and punitive damages due to their fear of harm (rather than actual harm). The verdict was upheld by a Louisiana appeals court, which ruled that any exposure to a harmful substance, no matter how slight, justifies a lawsuit.

The new Bill, set for debate by Congress in February, would halt asbestos lawsuits. The Bill is seeking to protect companies with asbestos liability from further lawsuits by paying into a government administered trust fund, which would screen claimants through established medical criteria. Victims would be awarded compensation based on the severity of their illness. The Bill specifically states that the fund would not cover victims of environmental and neighborhood exposure, with the prime example being post-Katrina victims in New Orleans and across Louisiana. The Bill is widely opposed by the medical community, as well as by labor unions and citizens rights activists, particularly in the state of Louisiana.