A new radiant window from Vitrius Technologies promises superior thermal efficiency for substantial energy savings. Vitrius was founded in 2012 by Patrick Son, a fourth generation window maker from Pennsylvania whose great grandfather started Interstate Window and Door Company more than a century ago.
Son says he was motivated by the knowledge that windows are often the weakest link when it comes to the thermal efficiency of buildings. Today, most exterior walls have an insulting power of R-39, but even the best windows seldom attain as much as an R-5 rating. He wanted to change that.
Son’s invention uses two panes of glass. The interior panel has a metallic coating. Wires are connected to that coating and when a small voltage is applied, the metallic coating heats up, directing heat into the interior and preventing heat transfer from inside to the exterior environment. “Eighty to 90 percent of the energy we put in our system is directed into the building, so it’s very efficient,” Son said in an interview with Keystone Edge. He says the system works very much like the rear window defroster found in most cars.
The real power of his radiant windows, though, is the electronic control system that regulates the voltage. It constantly monitors the inside and outside temperatures and the temperature of the glass.
The controls can sense when someone is in the room; they tell the window exactly how much power to draw, and when to draw it, so we minimize the usage if no one is in the room.
One of the things you want to do is use solar energy. So if there’s high sun exposure on one side of the building, it will pick up solar heat and the controls can calculate how much energy that side will need in addition, and how much the other side will need to heat the room.
The controls also track the performance of the windows in real time; they can automatically reprogram themselves and recalibrate themselves in response to users’ behavior. They optimize energy efficiency and offer a myriad of features.
One of those “other features” is that the Vitrius radiant windows can act as the primary heat source for a room because the system generates about 136 BTU per square foot. Keep in mind that it also cuts down significantly on the heat loss through the window as well. All of which means that architects can reduce the size of the heating system needed for a new building, saving the owner money. Virtius radiant windows can also be retrofitted to existing buildings.
Son says the biggest problem his company has is overcoming skepticism from architects and builders who are reluctant to specify new technology that doesn’t have decades of experience backing it up. But the company has faith in its invention and is content to slowly build its reputation within the construction industry, knowing that the rewards will be substantial once the radiant window from Vitrius Technologies proves its worth.