Windows for the Arctic
March 30, 2009 – It is not uncommon for Northerm Windows’ insulating glass (IG) systems to travel across ice roads or by barge before installation in some of the coldest, most remote parts of the world.
It is not uncommon for Northerm Windows’ insulating glass (IG) systems to travel across ice roads or by barge before installation in some of the coldest, most remote parts of the world.
The Whitehorse, Yukon-based company specializes in designing and building windows to endure the extreme elements of the Yukon, northern British Columbia, Alaska and permafrost-covered areas of the Arctic.
An Edgetech customer for more than 11 years, Northerm primarily built triple-pane systems to meet the demanding needs of its customers until the recent introduction of its quadruple-pane 4000 Series windows. After more than a year in development, the 4000 Series incorporates Super Spacer, Low-E coatings on surfaces two and seven, and argon gas filling in all air spacers, resulting in an astounding .103 U-Value.
“We were presented with a challenge by our local housing authority to build a system that would reduce energy costs even more for customers, and that is what we did,” says David Borud, general manager of Northerm in Whitehorse. “During the development stage we looked at a variety of options and came up with a combination of materials that provided best in comfort, energy savings and acoustics. The materials in the 4000 Series also provide assurance of long-term durability, even in temperatures that can range from -40° C to 5° C in less than 24 hours.”
Northerm offers a 15-year warranty on 4000 Series windows, which Borud attributes in part to the flexible, all-foam construction of Super Spacer. “Expansion and contraction due to temperature and pressure changes, wind and snow puts a lot of stress on windows,” Borud says. “Super Spacer is flexible and will not cause stress cracks and premature seal failure.”
Northerm is based out of a 54,000 square foot facility in Whitehorse, Yukon, with an additional 30,000 square-foot manufacturing plant in Anchorage, Alaska. Founded in 1985, the company began manufacturing IG units in 1990 for residential and light commercial use, including institutions such as schools and healthcare facilities. According to Borud, Northerm produces custom window systems that are specially engineered for the often harsh climates of the North.
Even with the introduction of the 4000 Series, Northerm will continue producing its leading triple-pane units, which currently account for nearly 90 percent of its business.
“We produce unique products and have a specialized niche in our area,” Borud says. “These are high-end products that meet a very specific need in our territory.”
As a custom manufacturer, Northerm also produces a wide variety of specialty shapes that add to the aesthetics of local homes and buildings, while maintaining the energy efficiency and durability needed by its customers.