1. Analyze products on a level playing field using American Architectural Manufacturers Association and National Fenestration Rating Council (www.nfrc.org) standards and test sites. As you’re calculating ROI, be sure to factor in the savings that may come from being able to downsize the HVAC system, cut repair and maintenance costs, and trim energy costs due to better insulating value and more natural light.
2. Work with the manufacturer’s local architectural representative in the early stages of the project. Trained reps can help with site inspection, drawings, field measurements and testing, energy modeling, mockups, budgeting, detail support, and specification support.
3. Take advantage of AAMA publications on door and window selection criteria, design considerations, window and exterior door types, performance requirements and testing, and accessory items and special features: http://www.aamanet.org/general/1/45/publication-store.
4. Select an installer who will ensure a safe, hassle-free installation while minimizing disruptions to building occupants. Your manufacturer can assist you in finding the right installer.
5. Use moderate door heights and widths, especially when using insulated or specialty glass. Large entrances also have increased size and weight, which places additional strain on hinging hardware and can shorten the door’s longevity.