Everyone knows windows are “energy sucks.”
In other words, if you want to control your building’s heating and cooling costs, you should worry a lot about the inefficiencies created by your windows.
During the hot summer months, windows naturally let in heat. The only way to combat that heat (unless you want to roast or walk around in your skivvies) is to turn on the air-conditioning, which wastes resources and burns a hole in your pocketbook. In the winter time, however, the sunlight that pours into your house could be useful. Free heat! Mind you this will not be effective if your allowing the heat to escape due to pour seals and old single pain windows. (More info on home efficentcy on one of our last blogs: Simple, Basic Winter Home Maintenance 101)
To meet this disconnect — windows bleed cool in the summer and heat in the winter — manufactures developed double pane windows with special insulation. These windows come with invisible coatings to improve their energy efficiency. When the sun beats down on them, the heat does not get transmitted through – only the light does. These windows are great — better than traditional single panes. However, they only solve half of your problem. In the winter, as we discussed, you’d actually prefer to have the heat energy from the sun penetrate. So, if you install these insulated double panes, you won’t get to access that free heat energy, and you’ll likely have to spend money to keep your home energy balanced.
The solution may soon be on its way, and it’s super cool (and hot at the same time).
The solution is: Smart Windows.
(Source of story: NPR)
Basically, engineers have developed nanocrystal-powered technology to change windows’ insulation capabilities. In the summer time, the sun’s heat is blocked from your house, allowing you to stay cool. In the winter time, you apply a small electric current (like you’d get from a battery) to the windows, and the crystals change up their configuration and allow in the heat energy, and so that you can enjoy the free warmth of the sun.
Smart windows could be a huge boon for the economy. According to the Head of Building Technologies at Berkeley Lab, Stephen Selkowitz, the energy inefficient windows “cost homeowners about $40 billion a year.” That’s a lot of money that we are literally throwing out the window.
Of course, defining and designing the right energy solution for your home requires knowledge and hard work.
Let the team at B.A. Morrison help you discover the most appropriate and cost- effective solution for your property’s needs. Our team has been providing general contracting and heating and air services for Bay Area businesses and families since 1990. Learn more at www.bamorrison.com, or call us now at 510-538-9817.