Evidently, the days of cheap energy are gone and we have entered a reality of rising energy costs. Now is the time to make plans to address our work and home environment. This is where we go back to the basics. A very worthwhile goal is to look at the heating and cooling related costs and things we can and should do to make our facilities or structures more energy efficient and manage our energy costs.
Technology is developing rapidly and it is difficult for the average businessman to keep up, but the good news is there are Companies that are ready to evaluate your office or building’s “envelope” and propose energy upgrade. There are also Energy Service Companies (ESCO) that offer turnkey services ideal for larger projects.A great place to start in evaluating utility costs is – heating, cooling and lighting.
Windows – the lowest insulation value element
If the goal is of saving 30% of your energy costs, you will need to address the factors that are the major source of energy usage. The building envelope component that has a major impact on heating, cooling, and lighting is the windows. Windows have a huge impact on lighting when we have to use more lighting to compensate for blinds and drapes that are closed due to solar gain, glare, or cold glass. “Windows have the lowest insulation value of any element of the building envelope” (Energy Savings Now). Your windows could be losing ten to twenty times more energy per square foot than the adjoining walls.
Radiant barriers are a fast growing industry with solid benefits. Now see through window insulators that have radiant barrier and infiltration benefits are a reality. This is a product to consider as it allows for cool daylighting wherein you get natural light while the insulator is addressing cold and hot weather issues.
Keeping heat in (or out)
Conduction is the movement of heat through a solid material. Touch a hot skillet, and you feel heat conducted from the stove through the pan. Heat flows through a window much the same way. With a less conductive material, you impede heat flow. Multiple-glazed windows trap low-conductance gas such as argon between panes of glass. Thermally resistant edge spacers and window frames reduce conduction, too.
Convection is another way heat moves through windows. In a cold climate, heated indoor air rubs against the interior surface of window glass. The air cools, becomes denser and drops toward the floor. As the stream of air drops, warm air rushes in to take its place at the glass surface. The cycle, a convective loop, is self-perpetuating. You recognize this movement as a cold draft and turn up the heat. Unfortunately, each 1°F increase in thermostat setting increases energy use 2%. Multiple panes of glass separated by low-conductance gas fillings and warm edge spacers, combined with thermally resistant frames, raise inboard glass temperatures, slow convection and improve comfort.
The shift toward better insulated and air-tight building envelopes, combined with the architectural trend of highly glazed facades, is resulting in new buildings that are even more sensitive to solar gain and nighttime thermal heat loss. However, without appropriate solar gain and nighttime thermal heat loss control strategies, the building peak heating and cooling loads and occupant discomfort can offset any benefit from thermally benign envelopes and passive solar heating.The challenge for the utilities has been to find an alternative to replacement windows that is the least cost, most reliable, environment sensitive resource and minimizes their contribution to climate change.
The InFlector® See through radiant barrier window insulator is an interior mounted window insulator introduced by an American company- Energy Efficiency Done Right. It is the only see thru metal in the world designated for numerous applications including windows and skylights to addresses heat transfer at the weakest part of the building envelope.
Insulation: The material completely coated in a UV polymerblocks 92% of harmful ultraviolet rays protecting carpet, furniture and interiors from the damaging effects of UV. More importantly, the sealing polymer does not allow air to pass through the material. Trapping air between the inflector material and the glass of the window successfully insulates the window, increasing the thermal protection and insulation value of the building envelope. Additionally, this results in a significant reduction of infiltration issues.
Old windows that suffer from air infiltration need not be replaced, the problem can be resolved using the internal panel method of installation. This method seals the framework around the window. This means moisture and the increasedBTU content associated with moisture, doesn’t get into the building. Once again, what doesn’t get in – does not have to be removed by the buildings A/C system.
Windows lose and gain heat by conduction, convection, radiation and air leakage. This heat transfer is expressed with U-values, or U-factors. U-values are the mathematical inverse of R-values. Unlike R-values, lower U-value indicates higher insulating value. So the lower the U-value, the greater the insulative value of the window.
Summer mode / Reflection: During hot months, heat gain occurs through windows via ultraviolet (UV), visible light (sunlight) and the absorption of infrared radiation. The highly reflective layers of metals reject UV, visible light (sunlight and the heat we feel) and radiant heat back through the window, reducing the electrical consumption required for air conditioning.