Shwinco Industries (USA), a manufacturer of custom vinyl door and windows, and Saflex, a unit of Solutia Inc. (USA), have joined forces to develop the first vinyl window system for coastal regions which meet the toughest hurricane certification: Level E. Designed to be used by essential facilities such as storm shelters, hospitals, police stations and firehouses, Level E is a step more stringent than the Level D large missile test standards that most hurricane building codes require. A tough building standard known as ASTM E 1996 Level E was designed to protect buildings and the people inside when evacuation is not an option. The standard requires a glazing system to withstand impact by a nine-pound 2x4 fired at 80 feet per second (Standard large missile - Level D - requires material to resist a 9-pound 2x4 fired at 50 feet per second).
Shwinco's Level E certified single hung vinyl window is composed of a hybrid construction with a patent-pending vinyl, unitized structural design and a glazing package that includes Saflex protective interlayers from Soluita. The new window was originally designed for residential applications but has received Heavy Commercial ratings with the ability to withstand increased design pressures. In fact, the Level E window achieved a design pressure (DP) rating of DP100 -- a rating that is unheard of in vinyl windows. The window is Testing was completed at NCTL laboratory in Orlando in March and meets ASTM standards for Level E protection. The company says that the new window is up to 1000 times more energy efficient than comparable aluminum windows on the market.