A window is a window is a window . . . that is unless:

- You can't see out of it.- In the winter cold air blows through like it were a tunnel.

That's when people start looking for alternatives. That's when, says Bruce Lubbers of Pella Intermountain, people start regretting that they didn't take the time or spend the money to get quality windows to begin with. In Lubbers' opinion this means windows with wooden casings.

"There are just a lot of advantages to wood-cased windows," he adds. "Depending on the quality of the metal, aluminum windows will transmit cold 1,700 times faster than wood. Some aluminums are better. Still, wood is much more energy efficient."

Lubbers' company offers product for new homes and replacement windows for existing residential homes.

He also notes that experience has shown that people usually end up calling for information about windows, "when they begin to fell the cold air coming in around the aluminum sliders.

"The biggest replacement item we have is the sliding glass door. In a lot of case people can feel a pretty good breeze coming in around the door. The biggest single reason for people

going for the new sliding door is that the wood-frame doors are more energy efficient."

Beside the energy feature, people are drawn to Pella wood-frame windows for other reasons. There are, notes Lubbers, some pretty unique features. Such as:

- An optional glass that cuts down on the ultraviolet rays that come through. This greatly reduces the fading of furniture and rugs that are hit by the sun's rays.

- There is also a glass that greatly cuts down on heat loss.

- There is also a glass that has lines between it. Homeowners can use this glass and not have to worry about cleaning problems of the levelers or window coverings. Also, this glass gives the owner the option of drapes or curtains without the cleaning problem.

- There is also the option of a disappearing screen. It comes down when needed, for example when the window is open, but disappears when not needed to give the window a clean, unobstructed look.

- Windows also come with a unique washing feature. Homeowners need not leave the comfort of their home to wash the windows - both sides. Some window swing open a full 90 degrees which allows access to both side of the window. Others pivot in the center that also allows easy cleaning of both sides from inside the home.

- There is also a self-closing screen door available on the sliding glass doors. It is spring-loaded and runs on rollers so it won't fall off when opened.

- There is also a foot-bolt for added security. The door can be locked in a slightly open position.

"The thing I run into all the time is people telling me that they made a mistake when they had their homes built. They tell me they tried to cut costs so they went with the less expensive doors, or that they just didn't know what they were getting. We even get people coming in and buying replacement windows after only a couple of years in their new home," he notes.

"Our goal is to get people to realize what it is they are getting. We want them to realize that there is a difference in doors and windows, and that they should look into what it is they are buying."

He points out that his windows are covered with an aluminum skin on the outside. This makes the windows almost completely maintenance free, but still gives them all the needed insulating features of wood for energy savings.