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News » US » Grants Awarded for Research into Energy-Efficient Windows » published 24 May 2016

Grants Awarded for Research into Energy-Efficient Windows

Funding worth a total of $31m has been awarded to 14 projects as part of a program to come up with more energy-efficient window designs.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is awarding the funds as part of its Single-Pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Design (Shield) program. Shield project teams are developing window coatings and windowpanes that could significantly improve the energy efficiency of existing single-pane windows in commercial and residential buildings.

“The Shield program illustrates ARPA-E’s commitment to supporting transformational technologies,” said ARPA-E director Dr Ellen Williams. “By creating novel materials to retrofit existing single-pane windows, Shield technologies can dramatically improve building efficiency and save energy costs for building owners and occupants.”

The Shield program will accelerate the development of materials that could cut in half the amount of heat lost through single-pane windows without replacing the full window. Many buildings have single-pane windows that do not insulate a building or its occupants well. However, complete replacement of single-pane windows with efficient, modern windows is not always feasible due to cost, changes in appearance and other concerns. Retrofitting, rather than replacing single-pane windows, can reduce heat loss and save roughly the amount of electricity needed to power 32 million US homes each year, estimates the DOE.

The 14 Shield project teams are developing applied products and manufactured windowpanes, which can be installed into the existing window sash that holds the windowpane in place. These window technologies will improve thermal insulation, reduce condensation and enhance occupant comfort. The materials could also produce corollary benefits, such as improved soundproofing, that will make retrofits more desirable.

An example of a Shield project is the University of Colorado Boulder’s work to develop a flexible, transparent window film that can be applied onto single-pane windows. The team’s thermal barrier is based on liquid crystalline phases of nano-cellulose aerogel that have low-emissivity properties, which will help prevent heat loss through windows. CU-Boulder will produce the thermal barrier using low-cost cellulose nanorods synthesized from food industry waste. The team aims to produce a film that the consumer can easily apply, which could decrease costs by eliminating professional installation labor expenses.


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This article was published on 24 May 2016 (last updated on 24 May 2016).

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