Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the July-August 2015 issue of Business Energy.
Ulrike Passe, associate professor of architecture, and director of Iowa State’s Center for Building Energy Research lists a building’s fenestration components as doors, windows, and skylights. “You need to seal every window and opening because that’s a critical factor for energy efficiency these days,” advises Passe. “The better the windows and doors, the more holistic the performance of the envelope.”
In fact, the performance of energy-efficient windows can be significant, as in the example of 625 North Michigan Avenue, a 25-story office tower located in downtown Chicago. It was constructed in 1970 and has approximately 350,000 square feet of conditioned space. Even though the building had previously been retro-commissioned to perform to higher energy efficiency standards, an interior curtain wall retrofit system increased energy savings by 16%. The windows, supplied by Thermolite, headquartered in South Bend, IN, were comprised of the company’s RetroWAL interior curtain wall retrofit system, and included three models: ¼-inch laminated glass with low-e hard coating, 1-inch insulated glazing unit with low-e soft coating, and ¼ inch laminated glass with low-e hard coating, plus 1-inch blinds in the air cavity.Many communities are considering, researching, or implementing microgrid solutions. The underlying rationale often involves complex business, operational, and economic issues. See our FREE Special Report: Understanding Microgrids. Download it now!
The fenestration industry has made great progress in energy efficiency, according to Tom Herron director, communications and marketing, National Fenestration Rating Council, Greenbelt, MD. “One of things that makes this industry so exciting is the smart technology,” says Herron. “For example, we’re seeing window shades, sensors, and lighting controls. Eventually, we’ll have smart windows that adjust to your preferences or energy requirements. It’s important because people don’t realize that there is a tug-of-war between the sun’s heat and the glass, so the HVAC system has to work harder.”Add Distributed Energy Weekly and Energy Storage Solutions to your Newsletter Preferences and keep up with the latest articles stored and distributed power, battery storage solar microgrids, HVAC options, and smart energy systems and LED lighting retrofits.