The Benefits of Insulated Windows

October 29th, 2010 | Posted by tjones in Environment | Fuel Efficiency | Green Building | Green Homes | Green Products

by flickr user tambako the jaguar

As tightly as we might insulate our homes – filling every nook with environmentally-friendly fill insulation, and caulking every crack and draft – windows are still a major drain on heating and energy bills.

The R-value is the standard unit of how insulating a construction material is.  Conventional fiberglass battens typically have an R-Value of 10.9; some more-efficient green insulations can have R-Values up to 13.  An average glass window has an R-value of one, meaning that a significant amount of energy can pass through a standard window.  Researchers have determined that windows in the U.S. consume about a third of a building’s heating and cooling energy – roughly 4.1 quadrillion BTU of energy.

So, upgrading windows to super-insulated ones presents an opportunity to substantially reduce energy-consumption and lower the cost of heating and cooling a home.

Most LEED-certified buildings use insulated glass.  These are windows with two or three panes stacked in the frame.  The space between panes traps air and significantly increases their efficiency, sometimes providing an R-value rating of two or three.  The most efficient standard insulated glass windows have argon or krypton gas between the panes.

The most efficient type of insulated windows are vacuum glass panels under development by Guardian Industries, and expected to arrive on the market by the end of 2010.  These work on the same physical principle as a thermos bottle – by creating a vacuum between panes of glass, energy cannot transfer through by convection or conduction.  The panes are then coated with a material that reduces radiative heat transfer, providing an R-value of up to R-13. That means a vacuum-glazed window is as insulating as a brick wall, and can help add thermal energy to a house, instead of leaking it – sort of like a garden greenhouse.

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3 Responses

  • Tranlivko Bodlivko says:

    I think this is very useful and good idea. I myself have previously wanted to build something like this here … Well, unfortunately failed, but I’m glad to see such an exclusive product developed … I know very well what is the outlook there in front of him and how can radically change the conditions of life for people.
    I would like to begin mass production to reduce the cost of this type of windows …

  • John Allen says:

    I’m a strong believer in double-hung energy efficient windows, not just because I sale them, but because they really work. I noticed about a 15% drop in my electric bill during the summer moths when I installed them in my home, but then I already knew what to expect from the feed back I had been getting from my customers for several years. My only regret is that I didn’t install them sooner. Let me say that I am not a “greenie”, but I do realize the importance of saving energy. I’m old enough to recall the time when my grandfather first got electricity on the old farm—if you left a room without turning out the light there was hell to pay. The old man, god bless him, may not have been trying to save energy, but he was certainly trying to SAVE MONEY.

  • Jazz says:

    Nice blog. I like it.

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