Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Energy and Environment Directorate
Page 309 of 1046

Research Highlights

Highlights Archive

Low-e Storm Windows: Proven for Reduced Energy Costs

Energy saving low-e storm windows cost one-quarter of traditional window replacement

October 2015
Low-e Storm Windows: Proven for Reduced Energy Costs

Efficiency improvements in your home can significantly lower utility bills, but depending on the upgrade, the return on investment can sometimes take a while. New data from PNNL's Lab Home testing experiments has found a sure fire way homeowners can quickly notice a difference: by installing low-emissivity (low-e) storm windows. An estimated 90 million homes in the United States could benefit from this technology. When combined with small commercial buildings, historic properties, and multifamily housing facilities, overall potential savings add up to 2 quads—the amount of electricity used by 55 million homes in one year.

A home's energy efficiency increases by 10-35% when storm windows with a thin layer of low-e coating applied to the surface of one or more panes of glass are installed. The low-e coating works to radiate heat away from the glass to keep cool air inside the house during summer months and out during the winter. On a more aesthetic note, the coating reflects sunlight to help protect curtains, furniture, and hardwood floors from fading over time.

The potential for savings from low-e storm windows were recognized by the Regional Technical Forum (RTF)—a Pacific Northwest based advisory committee that evaluates and verifies conservation measures—which officially approved the low-e storm windows as a viable technology for energy savings. Katie Cort, PNNL research economist, calls the approval "the first and essential step in getting the measure integrated into energy-efficiency planning and utility programs in much of the Pacific Northwest."

However, these savings can go beyond the Pacific Northwest. PNNL Building Research Manager, Dennis Stiles, called this technology "effective and particularly valuable for low-income folks everywhere," as it costs only about a quarter of what a full window replacement would cost.

PNNL Research Team: Katie Cort, Graham Parker, Joe Petersen, and Sarah Widder

Page 309 of 1046

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas