When we visited the Andersen Windows plant in Bayport, Minnesota recently, we saw this great product called Fibrex. Andersen actually invented it back in 1992, before green was cool. I love this product because it is green, but it also takes all of the best qualities of wood and vinyl and combines them into one product. Andersen actually takes the sawdust that is created in their factory and re-claims it to make Fibrex. Some additional advantages of Fibrex are:
- It’s strength – it is stronger than wood by itself or vinyl by itself
- Doesn’t shrink or swell, which is especially important in high humidity climates or extreme temperatures
- Doesn’t conduct heat or cold, which is especially important in cold climates
There are lots of other great benefits, but I think my favorite overall is its value. While we were there, we were given some samples of the product and got to really see the product, inside and out. It looks a lot like, well, sawdust that has been mixed into a clear thermoplastic polymer and then cooled. Not surprisingly, that is exactly what it is. We were able to watch it happen, live and in person, in the factory. I’m really taken with this product and with the people at Andersen. I’m sure I would like other manufacturers as well. However, what I liked about Andersen’s team is that I can identify with them. They are not flashy, don’t try to “sell” you on anything. However, they are very passionate about how their product is engineered, how it tests, and how it could be improved. They are an Engineer-dominated company (it appeared), and this is why there aren’t just a plethora of color choices in their lines. Engineers don’t tend to want to talk about colors, I noticed. Anyway, it is much more important that your windows don’t leak and that they perform the necessary functions of a window. So, that works for me.
Here is another photo of the Fibrex product, showing how it looks in the Andersen 100 series window. This one is displayed in the Andersen offices, right next to the conference room where we spent the majority of our time. The final photo shows Shan holding a cross-section of a window frame with the Fibrex material lining the inside of the window. To read more about the Fibrex product, check out what Andersen has to say about it, here.
I am not one to attend these types of tours, normally, but I am so glad I attended this one!