Should you worry about offgassing from windows?

Widows are generally not considered a threat to indoor air quality from offgassing.  The fact that the majority of replacement windows are made of or are clad in vinyl does have serious environmental consequences, as the manufacture and eventual destruction of vinyl after its lifecycle results in the production of the potent environmental and bioaccumulative poison dioxin.  Fortunately, during the usable life span of vinyl, it shows very little degradation and subsequent offgassing, which is why it is used in windows, and so poses little health risk.  Most other components used in windows are either wood of one sort or another, and then the cladding materials, usually aluminum, fiberglass,  or just paint, none of which have much effect on the indoor air quality because they are located on the exterior of the building.  Wood does offgass, but it is largely water and some natural, plant based, aqueous(water based) solutions and generally not harmful to human health.  There are potential offgassing, or really leaking gas, from the infills of thermally broken, inert gas filled windows, but this is when the seal leaks and the window fails and should not be considered a normal condition of insulated windows.

This entry was posted in Energy Efficiency, Green Building Questions, Indoor Air Quality. Bookmark the permalink.

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