The Green Living Guy

PNNL News Release

Builders, architects, agencies and volume buyers in search of more energy efficient windows at cost-effective prices will soon have additional options available to them with the expansion of the Department of Energy’s High Performance Windows Volume Purchase Program.

Program managers and vendors will be onsite at a series of events through May to describe the expanded program, enhancements to the website, and how using highly insulating windows could reduce average heat loss by more than 30 percent compared to standard, double-pane windows.

“Spring is a great time to source and spec new windows,” said Graham Parker, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory senior staff engineer who manages the program for DOE’s Building Technologies Program. “During this time of year builders, contractors and designers have more inventories of highly insulating windows from which to choose at competitive prices,” he said.

The program was launched in May 2010 to bring new and emerging technologies to the market at competitive prices. The program’s website lets buyers source and specify highly insulating or low-E storm windows for residential buildings. In May, the program will offer windows for commercial buildings and an expanded website.  

With a reasonably low minimum order requirement of 20 windows, purchasers can peruse the website to select an appropriate window or low-E storm window from more than 35 vendors who have met the requirements of the program.  Buyers interested in pricing and specifying more efficient windows simply need to access the website and begin their search.

Double-pane, low-E, R-3 (U-factor 0.33) windows have typically been considered the standard for energy efficiency for more than a decade.  But recent studies have shown that highly insulating, primarily triple-pane, windows (typically R-5/U-factor 0.2) reduce average heat loss through the window by more than 30 percent when compared to R-3 windows in residential buildings situated in heating-dominated climate zones. In situations where full window replacement is not an option, low-e storm windows can be installed over current windows (fixed or operable)  to reduce heat loads by up to 20 percent, allowing them to pay for themselves in just five years in climates such as Chicago’s.  

Although highly insulating windows have been available for several years they have existed primarily as niche products whose prices made them unsuitable for widespread market adoption. 

“The R-5 windows and low-E storm windows in the program can offer significant energy efficiency at attractive prices that make them cost effective,” said Parker. The R-5 windows also qualify for federal and utility incentives and rebates being offered across the country, he said.   

DOE program managers and vendors will be participating in a series of upcoming buildings industry events to talk about the program and how buyers can benefit. For more information visit DOE’s High Performance Window Volume Purchase Program website.  This effort is supported by DOE’s Building Technologies Program.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory where interdisciplinary teams advance science and technology and deliver solutions to America’s most intractable problems in energy, the environment and national security. PNNL employs 4,900 staff, has an annual budget of nearly $1.1 billion, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab’s inception in 1965. Follow PNNL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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