Single pane windows in existing homes and commercial buildings waste a lot of energy, but replacing them with modern, energy efficient windows can be costly. To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced on October 7 that it is providing up to $30 million in funding for a new initiative. Known as the Single-pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Designs (SHIELD) program, it will focus on improving the energy efficiency of buildings by reducing heat loss. The program will sponsor research looking into innovative materials that are transparent, have high insulating value, and can be used to retrofit existing single pane windows.
“At ARPA-E, we invest in technology options in order to create a more sustainable American energy future,” said ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams. “The ARPA-E SHIELD program will help reduce our nation’s energy consumption by developing innovative materials to insulate existing windows in cases where window replacement isn’t feasible.”
Commercial and residential building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems accounted for 14 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption in 2013, and about a quarter of that energy is wasted by heat leaking through windows. Many buildings with existing single pane windows cannot support the weight, size or appearance of more energy efficient double pane window units, but retrofitting single pane windows can reduce heat loss and save roughly the amount of electricity needed to power 32 million U.S. homes each year. That’s a lot of energy savings.
The SHIELD program aims to develop innovative materials to retrofit single pane windows so they have the same insulating power as double pane windows. This could reduce heat loss by 50 percent while significantly reducing retrofit costs. Under the SHIELD program, ARPA-E will allocate up to $10 million to small businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, with up to $20 million being made available to all applicants.
More information on SHIELD Teaming Partner Arrangements and the full SHIELD Funding Opportunity Announcement can be found on the DOE website. Information on the SHIELD SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunity Announcement can be found at this dedicated page.