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GBlist: vinyl window frames & heat

Dear list,

I have a client with a vintage 70's passive solar house that has NO overhang
or other shade on the lower floor of the south side.  They have the window
quilt system which they swear by as the best thing since the wheel.

The ORIGINAL problem:  a storm and (i am guessing) many years of heat build
up between the 6'X6' aluminum framed sliding glass doors (not thermally
broken) and the window quilt has left 2-36 sf openings without working
glazing seals.

What I have read (briefly): March/April '96 EBN article on windows.  I gather
that if the owner is unwilling to pay for thremal breaks (i did explain that
whatever the owner did to this house-even though they are moving-ultimately
affects them through the world down the line---maybe the extra money will
appear for the thermal breaks) the best energy-wise (from a end-user
standpoint, not embodied energy) product may be the vinyl frame, as wood is
even more expensive than thermal breaks in this type of opening,

The NEW problem:  Vinyl seems to start degrading (per same article) at high
temperatures.  The window quilt system certainly causes high temps.  

The QUESTIONs: Would the owner be serving the world better putting in
aluminum frame windows and adding shade from exterior or putting in thermally
broken windows?  Can the owner put vinyl insulated frames in this location
without new exterior shading to relieve the heat buildup behind the window
quilt system?  Can the owner reasonably install vinyl frames at all in this
location (I am voting no based on the possibility of frame degradation
coupled with the PVC content of the frame and the relatively [compared to
wood and metal] new mass use [therefore little history of longterm viability]
of vinyl windows)?  The owner is being encouraged to install vinyl by a
window installer for only $50 more each!

Any help (point me to a resource that i can get on the net or at libraries or
if you know similar situations, or people who do) I could receive would be

Dona Stankus, AIA
Dona Stankus, Architect
Raleigh, NC
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