MH+D Inside Out: Pella’s Scott Tirrell on the Future of Energy Efficiency

Photography by Trent Bell

Windows and doors can accent a house, drawing attention to its lines and form, and create a transition between the home and the outside world. It’s also important, however, that they conserve energy and provide security. As the architectural representative for Pella Corporation, Scott Tirrell knows about the value of good design, both aesthetically and functionally. Tirrell tells Maine Home+Design about new trends in window and door technology.

Q. What do you do as an architectural representative?

A. As an architectural representative, a lot of what I do is business development, which means maintaining relationships. I live in the design community. I also act as a tech support for architects and designers, trying to make sure that the product meets the design intent. No architects like to compromise their design.

Q. How has technology changed in the past few years?

A. The technology is always changing. Any innovative industry has new developments all the time. Think about your phones and other electronics; the window industry is no different. It’s really a race to become the most efficient and the most economical at the same time.

Q. What are some of these new technologies?

A. Triple glazing is becoming more popular. Window and door blind integration via smartphone apps is also being used more. Photochromic glass or thermo-chromatic glass will darken either by the warmth of the sun or UV light, like transition sunglasses. They’re still cutting edge.

Q. What’s so valuable about triple glazing?

A. A dual-glazed window will be about .25 from an E value standpoint. That’s about an R4 for the average dual glazed window. As you get in triple glazing, or as the coatings get better, we’re seeing that drop down. But windows don’t insulate that well. It’s more of an indicator of heat loss or gain through the window.

Q. What are some of the new developments in security?

A. One of the new trends now is lock sensors. You can look at your smartphone and tell if your entry door is locked or unlocked, or if it’s open or closed.

Q. What’s the greatest satisfaction in your job?

A. I love seeing the completed project. Knowing that all the time I spent sweating over details and schedules and everything else, it comes together at the end. That’s probably the most satisfying.