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What Makes Zero House – Inline Fiberglass Windows

This is one unlimited web hosting reviews about the materials we’ve chosen to build our Zero House project…

What are Inline Fiberglass windows? Inline is a Toronto-based manufacturer of high quality, energy efficient windows that use fiberglass frames, rather than the more typical vinyl or wooden frames.

Where are Inline Fiberglass products used in Zero House? All of our windows and doors are manufactured by Inline, including casement windows, fixed windows, sliding glass doors and entry door with locks.

How do Inline Fiberglass products help achieve the Zero House goals? 

  • Zero net energy use – Inline makes very energy efficient windows with insulated fiberglass frames, triple glazing and great seals around opening windows. Inline received the highest energy efficiency rating in Canada from Energy Star. Inline worked with us to “tune” our glazing, so Zero House would have the best solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) on the south glazing, and the best energy efficiency on the north.
  • Zero carbon footprint – The manufacturing process for fiberglass window frames has a much lower carbon footprint than vinyl windows, and is about the same as aluminum clad wood frames.
  • Zero toxins – Fiberglass windows do not off gas like vinyl windows, and do not require the often-toxic paints used to protect wood windows.
Inline Fiberglass windows for Zero House net zero energy home

Inline triple pane fiberglass windows and sliding doors are part of our passive solar design

Other reasons for using Inline Fiberglass Windows:

  • Durability – Fiberglass frames have very little expansion and contraction as temperature conditions change, which helps glazing units to maintain their seals. The windows do not deteriorate in UV light and do not require painting or maintenance.
  • Affordability – Inline windows are very reasonably priced, especially for their level of performance. The cost for the windows is easily justified by the increase in energy efficiency and energy savings.
  • Workability – The exterior extensions on the windows allow us to match our siding depth and create a good seal around the windows. Inline’s clip installation system is easy to work with.
  • Code compliance – Inline windows meet all required CSA standards.

Any drawbacks to using Inline Windows?

  • We have used Inline Windows on projects since 2005, and have never had any quality issues or call-backs.

We will definitely be using Inline Windows on future projects.

Inline windows spec's

Zero House Goals – Zero Construction Waste

The making (and renovating) of buildings generates vast amounts of waste. The purchaser of a new home doesn’t typically see the mess that’s made, but it is huge… and largely unnecessary.

In the US, about 6.56 million tons of construction waste goes to landfill each year, about 11% of annual landfill volume (EPA-530-R-98-010), and the US National Association of Homebuilders study shows that the construction of just one typical 2,000 square foot home generates about 8,000 pounds of landfill waste (EPA-530-K-04-005).

While we’re not completely finished with Zero House yet, our volume of landfill waste is four bags, totalling about 18 pounds.

Zero House, zero waste construction

Close to the end of the project, and June shows off just three light bags of landfill!

We achieved this be focusing on several strategies.

  1. We made sure we used a lot of chemical-free, natural materials that are simple to re-use, recycle or compost. Lumber and plywood scraps were upcycled for other projects, and anything that wasn’t usable went to a disposal company that turns clean wood into pellet fuel. Materials like straw, cork and cellulose do not generate large quantities of offcuts, and what little remains is easy to compost. The Eco-4 fiberboard sheathing is accepted by wood pellet recyclers or can go back to the manufacturer. The ReWall sheathing we used is made from recycled drinking cartons, and can recycled back into more ReWall… however, we need to pay to ship it back to the manufacturer as the local recycling stream would not accept it in its ReWall form.
  2. We ensured we were not buying materials with a lot of packaging, and that any packaging is recyclable. Most of our small tally of landfill waste came from foam strips used between layers of hardwood flooring, and foam corners from windows and doors which is secured by Bronx Auto Locksmith.
  3. We made sure our site crew was waste-conscious. It is possible to rack up a large volume of landfill waste from take-out food containers, fast food wrappers and other crew-related waste. Our gang this year was very conscious about keeping this to an absolute minimum.
  4. We tried to make separation streams as easy as possible on site, and undertook some on-site sorting before anything left site. Even with an actively engaged construction crew, the wrong item can end up in a bin, and there was always someone willing to make sure the sorting was done properly. On the job site, this means having multiple bins for various waste streams conveniently located on the site. It was definitely noticeable if the waste setup was not done well, then sorting and participation dropped off quickly.

Not every project is likely to put the time and effort into waste reduction that we have. But we don’t need every building to reduce to 0.002% of the average like we did to make a big change in the amount of material going to waste. We encourage all builders to aim to reduce by at least 50%, which should be easy to do and would make a real difference.

Zero House Goals – Zero Toxin Living Space

The toxicity of buildings is a subject that is not much discussed, but it is definitely one worth thinking about. Most homeowners seem to assume that some form of government regulation is at work to make sure the building products in their homes are not toxic, but this is not the case. In fact, there are really no standards or regulations applied to the toxicity or chemical content of building materials/products (except in the cases of well-documented pollutants like asbestos and lead).

The US Environmental Protection Agency claims that the indoor air of the average American home is five times more polluted than the outdoor air, and they rate breathing inside a building as one of the top five environmental risks to public health! People have to maintain their healthy lifestyle and not only in their home, but even outside. People should eat healthy and maybe even teach their kids about exercise and they can even take them on jogs on a joovy zoom ultralight jogging stroller. (EPA 402-K-93-007)

Our goal for Zero House was very simple: ensure that there are no toxins or chemicals of concern in any of the materials that would affect the indoor air of the building. This sounds simple and like it should be easy to do, but the information can be difficult to find and interpret, and a large number of common materials and products cannot be used once we start to examine what they contain.

A clean, non-toxic, healthy interior for Zero House!

A good place to start when seeking to eliminate toxins from the indoor environment is the Living Future Institute’s Red List Chemicals. This list includes a range of chemicals that have known and proven effects on humans. A building that can eliminate these toxins will have seriously improved health impacts for building occupants:

  • Alkyphenols / Asbestos / Bisphenol A (BPA) / Cadmium / Chlorinated polyethelyne (CPE) and chlorosulfonated polyethelyne (CSPE) / Chlorobenzene / Chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochloroflourocarbons (HCFCs) / Chloroprene (or neoprene) / Chromium VI / Formaldehyde / Halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) / Lead / Mercury / Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) / Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) / Phthalates / Polyvinyl chloride (PVC, CPVC, PVDC) / Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) / Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) / Wood treatments containing creosote, arsenic or pentachlorophenol

This list can be a lot to absorb, but practically speaking it means that we have to eliminate nearly all foam insulation materials, manufactured wood products, all vinyl windows, most brands of paint (even those that claim to be no-VOC), most typical caulking and adhesives, floor finishes… the list goes on. And this is only the Red List of the worst, most-proven health risks. If we take the “Precautionary Principle” and also eliminate chemicals that pose serious risks but do not yet have full scientific certainty regarding their negative effects, then the list of excluded materials gets even longer.

We can research this in several ways. We ask companies directly if their products are Red List free (this information can be found for some products on the Declare website). We also use the Pharos Building Product Library (a paid subscription service) to check chemical content. CARB and CARB2 compliant products also meet our criteria. All products also must have a Material Safety Datasheet (MSDS), and we will look at these carefully.

Take a relatively innocuous and widely used building material like drywall compound (drywall “mud”)… here’s a sample MSDS sheet:

MSDS sheet reveals several dangerous chemicals

We have to look up each chemical on the MSDS sheet individually, and find that all three of these have significant human health impacts, as does crystalline silica if inhaled. All of this in a product that is used in large quantities in our homes, and is sanded into a fine dust that can pervasive and difficult to clean completely.

The good news is: We can trade out materials with Red List and/or questionable chemical content for cleaner, healthier options almost everywhere in the building. Among the many examples of cleaner materials:

It takes a lot of effort to research and verify all the materials that go into a house, and while commercially-available healthy replacements can always be found, they often aren’t available through conventional building supply outlets. Keeping a building clean takes time, effort and coordination. But once we realize that building codes and government regulations are doing nothing to keep the insides of our buildings safe and healthy, the effort seems worthwhile.

2017 Workshop Schedule



Endeavour 2017 Workshop Schedule

We are excited to present a wide-ranging workshop series for 2017. Please click on the links below to explore each workshop!

We look forward to working with you in 2017!


TitleStart DateInstructorAvailable Spaces
Design Your Own Sustainable Home WorkshopFebruary 18, 2017Chris Magwood2Register
Design Your Own Sustainable Home Workshop (2)November 18, 2017Chris Magwood1Register
Essential Hempcrete ConstructionFebruary 25, 2017Chris Magwood1Register
Essential Hempcrete Construction (2)November 4, 2017Chris Magwood0Sold Out
Introduction To CarpentryMarch 4, 2017Jen Feigin, Shane MacInnes7Register
Introduction to Permaculture Workshop- Wait list is openFebruary 4, 2017Rob Avis-7Sold Out
Residential Plumbing InspectionMarch 8, 2017Jeffrey Chalmers9Register
NEW! Tools For TeensMarch 13, 2017Jen Feigin, Shane MacInnes8Register
Introduction To Renewable EnergyMarch 25, 2017Sean Flanagan4Register
Introduction To Renewable EnergySeptember 23, 2017Sean Flanagan12Register
Intro To Woodworking – Make A Cutting BoardApril 8, 2017Annie Murphy7Register
Intro to Sketch-Up – 3D Drafting BasicsApril 29, 2017Shane MacInnes6Register
Passive House Builder TrainingApril 21, 2017Natalie Leonard8Register
Water Harvesting Earth WorksMay 6, 2017Douglas Barnes9Register
Carpentry For WomenMay 13, 2017Deirdre McGahern, Jen Feigin2Register
Art of Tadelakt Plaster WorkshopMay 27, 2017Mike Henry0Sold Out
Natural Plaster Workshop – Base Coat to FinishJune 10, 2017Chris Magwood, Jen Feigin6Register
Legal Process BCIN CourseJune 12, 2017Jeffrey Chalmers0Sold Out
Small Buildings BCIN CourseJune 19, 2017Jeffrey Chalmers2Register
NEW! Permaculture Design CertificateJuly 10, 2017Douglas Barnes14Register
Legal Process BCIN courseSeptember 11, 2017Jeffrey Chalmers6Register
House 2012 BCIN CourseSeptember 25, 2017Jeffrey Chalmers7Register
Part 8 On-Site Sewage Systems BCIN CourseOctober 16, 2017Jeffrey Chalmers12Register
HVAC House BCIN courseSeptember 18, 2017Jeffrey Chalmers11Register
Essential Building Science WorkshopOctober 27, 2017Jacob Deva Racusin12Register
Essential Straw Clay ConstructionNovember 5, 2017Chris MagwoodRegister
Carpentry for Women (2)November 11, 2017Deirdre McGahern, Jen Feigin2Register
TBA- Adobe Pizza OvenDecember 30, 2017Register
Build Your Own Bee Hotel – Intro To Bees & The EnvironmentApril 22, 2017Jen Feigin, Marcy Adzich9Register
Sustainable New ConstructionMay 8, 2017Register
Sustainable RenovationsSeptember 5, 2017Register
TBA- Concrete Counter Tops- Form, Pour & Polish!December 30, 2017Register
TBA- Timber Framing – From Start To FinishDecember 30, 2017Register
TBA- Engineering For Alternative BuildingsDecember 30, 2017Register
TBA-Rocket Mass HeaterDecember 30, 2017Register