Department of Energy Makes Buying Insulated Windows a Breeze

June 12, 2011

One of the easiest ways to conserve energy is to prevent heat lose through the use of heavily insulated windows, which the U.S. Department of Energy has just made easier for many businesses, schools, universities, architects, builders and large communities. In May, the Department of Energy expanded its High Performance Windows Volume Purchase Program. The expansions in the program make it easier for both residential and commercial buildings to find the appropriate  high performance insulated windows, vendors and prices on the program’s expanded website in order to save both money and energy.

Buyers can search through over 30 vendors who have met the requirements of the program for their specific window needs, as long as they meet the requirement of needing at least 20 windows.

“The high performance windows and low-E storm windows in the program can offer significant energy efficiency at attractive prices that make them cost effective in heating-dominate climate zones,” said Graham Parker, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory senior staff engineer who manages the program for DOE’s Building Technologies Program. The high performance windows also qualify for federal and utility incentives and rebates being offered across the country, he said in a press release. In addition, the DOE has expanded the program to offer commercial windows that also are high performance.

Double-pane, low-E, R-3 windows have typically been considered the standard for energy efficiency for residential construction in the last decade or so, but recent studies have shown that highly insulating, primarily triple-pane, windows 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 to reduce heat loads by up to 20 percent, according to a DOE press release.

The program’s website is filled with information about the advantages of insulated windows, including the amount of energy and money they can save depending upon what type of climate the building is in, what builders and residents need to know about ordering and installing these windows and the advantages of buying in bulk, and which type of windows are right for which type of building or budget. The website is also full of examples of buildings that have made the switch to insulated windows, such as the Cambria Office Facility in Pennsylvania and the Wisdom Way Solar Village in Massachusetts, and how this switch has benefited them.

Graph courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy

Highly insulating windows, like this triple pane window, can help reduce heat loss in residential and commercial buildings by as much as 30 percent in heating-dominated climate zones. Photo courtesy of PNNL.Sources: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy