New super-insulating windows said to offer highest full-frame R-values in the world
Serious Materials, the Sunnyvale, California–based developer and manufacturer of sustainable green building materials, has introduced ThermaProof, a new line of windows the firm claims will offer the highest full-frame R-values in the world.
According to Serious Materials’ C.E.O. Kevin Surace, for years window companies have not spoken about the R-values of their products because, simply, they were nothing to brag about. Some high-rise windows, he explains, are as low as a R-1 or R-1.4, offering not much more insulation than no window at all. In May, the company announced its acquisition of Alpen Windows, a recognized leader in high-performance, energy-efficient windows and glass that was awarded a 2007 Top 10 Building Product award by BuildingGreen. While the acquisition brought Alpen’s high R-value center-of-glass technology on board, Serious Materials was already working separately on ThermaProof’s design, says Surace.
ThermaProof is a complete family of windows for residential and commercial construction that offer R-values at R-8, R-11, or R-14 across the entire glass and insulated frame rather than just at the center of the glass. This helps reduce a typical building’s heating and cooling energy use by 20 to 40 percent, resulting in an 8 to 16 percent energy savings. Most building owners will see a return on investment in anywhere from one to five years; while some might see a return in as little as nine months. “This is a true breakthrough in window technology,” says Surace. “There is nothing else at this level that can save this much energy.”
To drive up the R-value of the window, the manufacturer includes one, two, or three layers of mylar to reduce the amount of convection and air flow in the window cavity. In addition, a brand-new spacer technology holds the glass panes apart from each other to create a large insulating gap. A wet seal is used to place the glass in the frame, rather than a dry seal, so there is no heat or cooling loss. Unlike aluminum frames, a new framing system — foamed PVC for residential and insulated fiberglass for commercial — insulates the frames as well as the glass. Finally, “Triple fin” weatherstripping seals everything tightly.Styles available include double-hung, single-hung, slider, casement, sliding doors, French doors, and storefront. Curtain-wall framing is not currently available, but it will be in the future. Also in development from the company is EcoRock, a completely new type of drywall that will use virtually zero embodied energy in the manufacturing of its core. Serious Materials, Sunnyvale, Calif. www.seriousmaterials.com/
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