The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Highly-Insulating R-5 Windows and Low-e Storm Windows Volume Purchase Program, as part of a multi-year integrated strategy to help drive the use of high-efficiency windows. The initiative also will advance the technology and increase the number of product offerings available to builders and project developers for both new construction and building retrofits.
The initiative will pair manufacturers with buyers looking to purchase large volumes of high-efficiency windows. It also will set performance standards for two new types of energy-efficient windows. The goal is to provide support for window manufacturers to help them overcome the initial costs associated with producing windows at a higher efficiency level while connecting volume buyers with pre-screened suppliers, says the DOE.
The program includes both Highly-Insulating R-5 (U value 0.2) Windows and Low-e Storm Windows. R-5 Windows, which can be used as replacement windows or in new construction, can reduce heat loss by 30 to 40 percent compared to a typical R-3 window available today, according to the DOE.
Recently a group of window makers along with several business groups lobbied to change the “30/30” requirement that requires windows and doors to meet a U factor of 0.3 and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.3 to be eligible for an energy-efficiency rebate because it would shut out the U.S. market.
When full replacement is not an option, Low-e Storm Windows, which fit over existing windows, can be used to reduce heat loads by up to 20 percent.
The savings for both R-5 windows and Low-e Storm Windows are a significant improvement over products available today, says the DOE. Many of them also meet the DOE’s price premium target of less than $4 per square foot.
Volume purchasers of windows, including government agencies, builders, energy retrofitters, renovators, and weatherization providers, will have online access to window sellers whose products are certified to meet the High-Insulation R-5 and Low-e Storm Windows specification.
Buyers can review size and price ranges and then connect directly to the vendor’s Web site to purchase. The program includes more than 30 suppliers.