Although they constitute only 10% of the surface area of a typical home, traditional windows are poor energy performers. Windows usually account for 30-40% of the heat loss in winter and often add to cooling peaks and discomfort in summer.
As the U.S. prioritizes net zero energy buildings, addresses carbon emissions and confronts the challenges of decarbonizing the grid, there is a pressing need to dramatically increase the availability and use of highly efficient window products. Switching from today’s code compliant, double pane low-e window in a new home to new R5 solutions can save between 7 and 16 percent of a home’s energy use, depending on climate. In an older home, retrofitting its single glazed windows with R5 windows can provide much larger energy savings.
In today’s market only a small subset of highly efficient products is routinely specified and installed, since ENERGY STAR and minimum code requirements largely drive market choices. Higher performing products remain underutilized, due to added cost, the inexperience of the designer, or lack of timely product availability via the supply chain.
Beyond what the industry offers today, there are numerous other innovative technologies moving through the R&D pipeline. Moving these solutions from lab prototypes to building demonstration projects to mainstream markets is a slow and expensive process but will pay off with big energy and economic savings.
The pathway to transforming the market for efficient windows and capturing even larger energy savings going forward requires two parallel, coordinated national efforts.
The collaboration plans to employ a variety of proven Market Transformation strategies, including: