6. SUPER-EFFICIENT WINDOWS
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The time has come for super-high-performance windows to catch on with American homeowners, Wilson predicts, especially in colder regions.
Introduced last year, Serious Windows’ ThermaProof windows, for instance, use a combination of low-E glass coatings, suspended low-E films, and xenon gas fill to achieve a unit insulating value up to R-13 (instead of the standard U-value rating, the company utilizes R-value, which measures resistance to heat loss). “That’s extraordinary performance,” Wilson says, although he notes that the windows are 20% to 30% more expensive than double-glazed low-E units.
The green building expert believes more American manufacturers soon will offer competing products, eventually lowering prices. Another high-performance option, triple-glazing, already is offered by some companies, including Marvin and Weather Shield.
“Triple-glazed windows will be taken seriously and as that happens other [leading] manufacturers are going to get involved,” he says.
The DOE recently announced plans to create a volume-purchase program for R-5 and low-E storm windows, which would make them more price-accessible to smaller builders.
In addition, Wilson predicts that pros will begin specing different glazings for different orientations of a home, further improving energy performance.