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The frost patterns on your window might be pretty, but they're not helping you save any energy. Energy efficient windows provide an effective barrier from inclement weather. | Photo courtesy of Callie Reed.
Say what you want about the joys of Jack Frost nipping at your nose, but when it comes to winter wonderlands, I like mine outdoors. Etching icy messages on the insides of my windows is not exactly cozy. Therefore, I'm thankful for technology that provides an efficient and effective barrier from inclement weather.
Traco, a division of Kawneer and window manufacturer since the early 1940s, recently partnered with the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to utilize funds from the Recovery Act to develop new window technology. These OptiQ™ Ultra Thermal Windows can reduce energy loss by up to 40 percent compared to the efficient, commercially available double-pane low-emissivity windows that are already on the market.
Each year, windows account for an estimated 4 quadrillion Btu of energy lost in U.S. buildings, totaling over $35 billion in heating and air conditioning costs. Future window systems like the OptiQ™ Ultra Thermal Windows will eventually outperform the best-insulated walls or roofs in terms of annual energy performance, peak demand reduction, and costs. This new innovation holds promise to boost both savings and comfort.
What makes these new energy efficient windows really innovative is that they include a thermally optimized frame design, enhanced frame cavities, wider thermal breaks, and high performance glazing. The combination of these and other technologies has allowed an aluminum framed window to achieve more energy savings than ever before, all while maintaining its structural integrity. Also, these windows stand up to moisture and exposure, making them good fits for many applications, such as hospitals and schools, because they won't rot or get moldy.
The fact that windows like these are available today gives me a warm feeling about the advances the industry is making. This innovation brings us closer to meeting the Department’s goal of improving the energy performance of windows by 60 percent by 2020 -- all while keeping Mr. Frost outside.