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A Quantitative Look at Solar Heat Gain

A deep dive into passive solar heating principles

Posted on Jan 1 2018 by Robert Opaluch

This article explores the viability of passive solar and solar-tempered space heating in northern U.S. regions and metro areas. I will quantify solar heating potential by looking at climate data for 22 large cities across the northern U.S. The winter climates in these cities differ not just in temperature ranges, but also in the amount of winter sunlight. Winter temperatures and cloudiness are major determinants of the potential and the cost-effectiveness of exploiting solar heat gainIncrease in the amount of heat in a space, including heat transferred from outside (in the form of solar radiation) and heat generated within by people, lights, mechanical systems, and other sources. See heat loss. for space heating.

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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Robert Opaluch

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How to Order Windows

Things to consider before you choose windows for your new home

Posted on May 20 2016 by Martin Holladay

Anyone who needs to choose windows for a new home has a lot of decisions to make. In this article, I’ll try to provide an overview of some of the factors to keep in mind when ordering windows.

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Image Credits:

  1. Michael Henry

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Lab Hopes to Develop Paint-On Window Coating

Scientists are working to develop a simple-to-apply coating that would offer a cheaper alternative to window replacement or professionally applied films

Posted on Mar 7 2016 by Scott Gibson

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing a paint-on low-solar-gain window coating that would offer the same energy benefits as a window replacement or commercially applied film at a small fraction of the cost.

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Image Credits:

  1. Garret Miyake, University of Colorado

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Comparing North American Window Frames to European Frames

Thin North American window frames with a high U-factor sometimes perform about the same as European window frames with a lower U-factor

Posted on Nov 6 2014 by Stephen Thwaites

[Editor's note: The author of this article, Stephen Thwaites, is a window manufacturer. His company, Thermotech Fiberglass FenestrationTechnically, any transparent or translucent material plus any sash, frame, mullion, or divider attached to it, including windows, skylights, glass doors, and curtain walls., is located in Ottawa, Ontario.]

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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Makrowin
  2. Images #2 and #3: Stephen Thwaites

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Presumptive European Superiority Syndrome

Triple-glazed windows from Europe don’t always outperform triple-glazed windows from our side of the Atlantic Ocean

Posted on Oct 21 2014 by Stephen Thwaites

UPDATED on October 22, 2014 with an Addendum.

[Editor's note: The author of this article, Stephen Thwaites, is a window manufacturer. His company, Thermotech Fiberglass FenestrationTechnically, any transparent or translucent material plus any sash, frame, mullion, or divider attached to it, including windows, skylights, glass doors, and curtain walls., is located in Ottawa, Ontario.]

Most of the world, especially the green building community, assumes that “European” implies “more energy-efficient.” When it comes to windows, this automatic presumption of superior energy efficiency is both so common and so misplaced that it deserves a name: the Presumptive European Superiority Syndrome.

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Image Credits:

  1. Garland Mill Timberframes

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PHIUS Posts Window Data

The Certified Data for Windows program includes recommendations for different climates zones for those seeking Passive House certification

Posted on Apr 7 2014 by Scott Gibson

Passive House Institute U.S. has posted detailed performance data about windows online for ready access by builders and designers.

The Certified Data for Windows program is organized by manufacturer, and includes key values such as the window's solar heat gain coefficient, its center-of-glass U-factor, and its whole-window installed U-factor.

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Smart Glass Maker Opens New Plant

SageGlass begins manufacturing electrochromic glass at a new facility in Minnesota

Posted on Jun 20 2013 by Scott Gibson

The manufacturer of a type of glass that can be electronically tinted has opened a new manufacturing plant in Minnesota that can produce 4 million sq. ft. of glass a year in sizes up to 5 ft. by 10 ft.

SageGlass said the 324,000-sq. ft. plant in Faribault, Minn., is the largest of its kind in the world. It was built to LEEDLeadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED for Homes is the residential green building program from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). While this program is primarily designed for and applicable to new home projects, major gut rehabs can qualify. Silver standards.

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Image Credits:

  1. SageGlass

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New Low-e Coating Would Boost Glass Performance

Oregon researchers are developing new coatings that would block infrared radiation without sacrificing light transmittance

Posted on Apr 11 2013 by Scott Gibson

Public and private researchers in Oregon have been awarded a $150,000 grant to continue work on a new coating process for architectural glass that would reflect infrared radiation without blocking as much visible light as current coatings.

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Image Credits:

  1. Oregon BEST


Skylights add natural light to building interiors

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Image Credits:

  1. Wasco Skylights
  2. Scott Gibson
  3. Fakro
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Do Europeans Make Better Windows Than We Do?

Differences in testing protocols yield different U-factors, but do European manufacturers have a ‘secret sauce’?

Posted on Oct 15 2012 by Scott Gibson

It should come as no surprise that Europe, home of the Passivhaus standard, produces some outstanding windows. Some builders of high-efficiency houses in North America turn to European window manufacturers for their glazingWhen referring to windows or doors, the transparent or translucent layer that transmits light. High-performance glazing may include multiple layers of glass or plastic, low-e coatings, and low-conductivity gas fill., even though some U.S. and Canadian producers also offer high-performance products of their own.

Is there a way to compare the performance data on windows from these two sources? That’s what Steve Young, now planning a Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. in Climate Zone 5, would like to know.

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Image Credits:

  1. GreenBuildingAdvisor

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