Gull Lake Home / Brainerd, Minnesota
High-quality windows for a high-performance home: Traditional northwoods retreat is Minnesota’s first LEED-certified residence

This is a story about the science of construction: of building green by building intelligently; of creating a truly high-performance house that delights the eyes and is a lasting pleasure to live in. And a large chapter of that story is made possible by beautiful, high-quality products from Marvin Windows and Doors.

A beautiful home on the shore of Gull Lake, near Brainerd, Minnesota, was the first LEED-certified residence in Minnesota. In building with an eye toward LEED certification, builder Ed Northway, President of Northway Construction, worked with his uncle, LEED consultant Steve Northway, who is CEO of Building Knowledge, Inc. (BKI).

Multiple assemblies place window upon window for a rich, classic look that makes the most of the lakefront view.

Ultimate Double Hung Windows look out onto beautiful Gull Lake.

Marvin Windows and Doors bring the visual warmth of wood and energy efficiency to this traditionally styled northwoods home.

Inswing French Doors lead to the airy screened porch and allow natural light to pour into the home.

BKI is a highly respected company devoted to the science of building better homes: homes that are well made, durable and highly energy-efficient while maintaining a healthy indoor environment. In 2004, BKI was hired by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to be the primary consultant for the development of the LEED For Homes program. The firm has been actively engaged in every aspect of the program’s development and its pilot phase.

Gaining LEED certification is not so much about using exotic recycled or reclaimed products, say Ed and Steve Northway. Such products are actually a small part of the LEED equation, and they can drive up the cost of a home considerably. In the Gull Lake home, traditional woods and other conventional materials are used in the interior and exterior. The state-of-the-art insulation values of the home come in large part from building the foundation and walls with insulated concrete forms.

Steve Northway notes that there is a lot of hype about green construction these days. He prefers the term high-performance to green. It’s a better definition from the builder’s point of view, he believes. The key to achieving high performance, says Steve, is taking a whole-house, "building science" approach to construction. That process requires analyzing all factors that will have an effect on the temperature and humidity of the house. Then the heating, cooling and ventilation systems are designed at the front end for optimum performance, taking into account the effects appliances have on the air-exchange equation. Energy-efficiency software helps calculate the ventilation and ductwork requirements of the house once the insulation factors and window quality are determined. Also essential is the use of heat recovery ventilation (HRV) or energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) systems to exhaust stale air and bring fresh air into the house to prevent moisture and air-quality problems year-round. From there it’s a matter of building tight and building right — attending to detail, and making sure everything is done correctly.

A large part of the building science equation is choosing high-quality insulated windows and doors. Choosing beautifully crafted, high-efficiency Marvin windows and sliding patio doors for the 3,600-square-foot, two-story walkout was an easy decision: both Ed and Steve have the highest regard for Marvin quality, service, options and style.

Since Marvin’s Warroad, Minnesota, production plant happens to be less than 500 miles from the Gull Lake building site, using Marvin windows gained the house extra LEED points. But the windows’ main asset for LEED purposes is their low U-value — the measure of their high energy efficiency. Marvin’s Energy Star® rated insulated windows used in this house incorporate Low E II with Argon technology. Low-E (low-emissivity) glass coatings reflect up to 90 percent of long-wave heat energy, while allowing shorter wave, visible light to pass through the pane. The result is a window that lets in the warming rays of the sun during the colder months and deflects them in the summer to help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

Marvin wood-clad products exceed the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) toughest specification for aluminum cladding. These windows are made with an extruded aluminum exterior — substantially stronger than roll-form aluminum — with a protective 70 percent Kynar 500® finish. This advanced and extremely durable finish, which offers superior resistance to fading and chalking, is a feature of all Marvin clad products. And with 19 color options, nine casing profiles and six subsills, there is a clad product for every style and color preference. For the Gull Lake home, Ed Northway chose bronze cladding, with standard hardware in an oil-rubbed bronze finish.

Windows are everywhere in this Arts and Crafts/Cottage-style home. Marvin’s Ultimate Double Hung, Awning and Casemaster pine wood-clad windows and both sliding and inswing French doors are used throughout the house for a rich, warm, traditional look. The living room features a virtual wall of windows, opening up the house to the beautiful natural setting and making the most of the lakefront view. Simulated divided lites in the upper sashes and awnings lend character and reinforce the architectural style of the home.

Marvin brings the science of high quality to the classic warmth, beauty and versatility of wood-clad windows. And the Gull Lake home stands as testimony that a beautiful, traditionally-styled residence can meet national standards for energy efficiency and resource conservation.

Steve Northway says, "If you’re thinking about building a home, and durability, energy bills and indoor air quality are of concern to you, then you’re ready to talk about building a high-performance home. And Marvin builds the high-quality windows that you’d want to out in a high-performance home. Marvin not only makes a great window, they are a great company. They stand behind their products and set a standard for integrity in the industry. I have the utmost respect for them."

Project Highlights

  • High energy-efficiency goals to meet LEED certification requirements
  • Traditional styling, classic beauty

Building Type
Single-family, two-story lakefront home

Units and Applications
Marvin Wood-Clad Ultimate Double Hung, Awning and Casemaster Wood-Clad Windows
Marvin Wood-Clad Sliding and Inswing French Doors
Multiple-window assemblies for maximum light and views
Simulated divided lites for architectural interest
Low E II with Argon energy-efficient glazing

Kevin Yeager
Brainerd, Minnesota

Mattson Lumber Company
Nisswa, Minnesota

Northway Construction Services, LLC
Baxter, Minnesota

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