Window Technology – A Promise for the Future
- Vevo windows
- 5 years ago
Energy loss through windows can equal 10 per cent of a building’s energy consumption, so having the best technology in place can reduce energy needs and save a great deal of money at the same time. As building efficiency targets have become more ambitious, windows technology can help meet these targets. As part of the Kyoto Protocols the UK has pledged to reduce all carbon emissions by 60% in the next 40 years. As part of this goal, the Prime Minister aims to make all homes carbon neutral by 2016.
For remodelling projects it may be most efficient to replace old windows with newer technology if you need double glazing fitters in Worthing or elsewhere. Double- and triple-pane windows combine low-emissivity (low-e) glass panes with argon or xenon gas in between to increase efficiency. The BFRC (British Fenestration Ratings Council) uses an A+ through G rating system to evaluate the efficiency of new windows.
Triple-pane windows can be even more efficient, cutting energy use by 12.2 per cent over double-pane windows due to their high insulation properties. However, studies show it can take at least 23 years at current energy rates for the windows to pay for themselves through energy savings. An additional benefit of triple-pain windows is that interior condensation is nearly eliminated, reducing the possibility for mould grown in homes.
Making Existing Windows more Efficient
New window film technology combines the benefits of a low-emissivity (low-e) coating with nano-sized vacuum capsules into a polyester film that can be retroactively applied to existing windows. This technology repels solar radiation, reducing heat gain by up to 81 per cent and saving 30 per cent on energy bills. This can be a very cost effective way to improve an older building without an expensive remodel.
The most exciting recent breakthrough has been the window film that can be activated as needed. A group of European business partners have spent the past few years researching an organic based multi-layer polymeric switchable reflective solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) coating that controls the amount of heat being radiated without affecting the visible light let in. Applying a small voltage charge creates a distributed electrical field to block solar radiation during hot weather; this effect can be switched off in winter or on overcast days. The transparent film supplies this voltage (only 0-10 volts DC).
Future research is aimed towards incorporating photovoltaic technology to actually generate energy from solar rays hitting a building’s windows. Current studies in this field show a solar collection efficiency of about 10 per cent, which while significantly lower than the 15 per cent currently possibly with solar panels, is still an exciting possibility for future studies.
As efficiency and technology continue to improve, the goal of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions is becoming a reality. This combined with aggressive measures to press for upgrading existing buildings and implementing the latest technologies in new constructions will help the UK meet its targets.