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Springtime offers window of opportunity for energy savings

Department of Energy’s High Performance Windows Volume Purchase Program gears up for expansion with series of events to market more energy efficient windows

March 15, 2011 Share This!

  • The U.S. Department of Energy and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory operate the High Performance Windows Volume Purchase Program to transform market to more energy efficient windows.
    Photo Courtesy of Donna Grayson

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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.

  • March 15-17: National Facilities Management & Technology Conference/Expo, Baltimore, Md.
  • March 22-24: Habitat for Humanity International's Annual Conference, Atlanta, Ga.
  • March 25-27: Home and Remodeling Show, Hartford, Conn.
  • April 26: Ohio Regional Workshop, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • May 3: Official Kickoff of Phase II at the National Association of Home Builders National Green Building Conference & Expo, Salt Lake City, UT
  • May 4: Utah Regional Workshop, Clearfield (Salt Lake City), UT
  • May 12-14: The American Institute of Architects Conference, New Orleans, La.
  • May 15-18: The Public Housing Authorities Directors Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, La.

Tags: Energy, Energy Efficiency

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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