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Where are commercially available VIG windows? Are they vaporware?

PrairieBurner | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

When I first read about vacuum-insulated glazing (VIG) several years ago, I got really excited; R-10+ windows!! I’ve been checking every couple of months since to see if they were commercially available and they STILL don’t appear to be.

I’ve got my 100+ year old home almost up to passive house standards with air sealing/insulation. The foreclosed-upon house flippers that we bought our home from installed the cheapest builders grade dual pane windows they could. These are the weakest link in our home’s energy efficency.

Our 9 month old son’s room is south facing with 2 giant 4×5 windows. Before it was his it was dubbed the solar room. This morning in Northern Illinois it was -6*F with -20*F wind chill and they were totally covered in frost inside (They are behind cellular shades and thermal drapes so the glass is even colder).

I really want/need to do something about our windows but don’t want to until VIG windows are availalbe. I’m only 33 and we plan on living in this house until way late in life so we want to do them right.

Are vacuum insulated glass windows going to be comercially available soon, preferably wide spread? I figure someone here will know.

Thanks and sorry about the rantishness!

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  1. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    Don't hold your breath on finding vacuum insulated glass windows readily available.

    Assuming you're looking at 5+ years for upgrading to a super-performance window, adding a tight low-E storm window over a U0.35 code-min window brings the net performance into the U-0.25 range at a cost that would pay off on energy use well under 10 years in a N.IL climate, while palpably upgrading the comfort factor. Harvey makes the tightest storm windows in the biz, and have an optional hard-coat low-E glazing. The low-E Larson storms sold through box stores are pretty good if you upgrade to at least the "silver" series, which isn't as leaky as the low-end "bronze".

    Whether that is "right" enough as an interim solution for you is something only you can answer, but from a sheer financial aspect it won't break the bank as you wait for the truly high performance glass to hit the market.

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    According to a report by Michael Chandler, Ply Gem windows has announced that it will sell windows with vacuum-insulated glazing in 2014.

    For another report about a trade show display with vacuum-insulated glass, see Alex's Wilson's report from the 2012 GreenBuild conference.

  3. PrairieBurner | | #3

    Sorry guys, I thought I responded.

    Thank you very much for YOUR responses!

    I'm not willing to deal with the storm windows (large and on the second floor). We can deal with it until better windows become available.

    Thanks for the info on Ply Gem. I await patiently for them to be available this year to see what they will cost. I may be an early adopter. (I realize they will be VERY expensive!)


  4. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #4

    Looks like early adopters can sign up for information & quotes from Ply Gem here:

  5. syadasti | | #5

    Does anyone know if VIG has been commercialized yet and how it compares to traditional high quality triple pane offerings?

  6. syadasti | | #6

    Anyone at IBS Orlando this year?

    "#IBSOrlando is off to a grand start and our VIG glass in the @PlyGem booth is a big hit. Attendees are really interested in how they can build more efficiently. Visit us at #PlyGemIBS booth #W2501"

    Also saw the Pilkington Spacia line - Spacia 21 is available in Japan from what I've read (can't link to it because the spam filter is too aggressive and blocks the URLs - happens often here and needs to be fixed)

  7. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #7

    I don't see any evidence the Ply Gem has released a product using vacuum-insulated glazing. So I think this is vaporware.

  8. syadasti | | #8

    Got this feedback about the current commercialized VIG windows:

    "Like Pilkington/NSG, both Guardian and Panasonic are built using brittle solderglass seals. These will have a tough time in weather extremely cold weather, both with seal breakage risk and bowing of larger panes. Both problems are caused by the outside pane shrinking in cold weather while the inside pane does not. Lots of stress.

    That's why we're working on a flexible metal foil seal."

  9. Minionr | | #9

    Icesun and Vitro offer VIG in Canada. R 14 at $50/sf glazing. Lite one in Calgary has R17 windows with 9 layers of polyethylene film between two sheets of glass. I hoped that someone else has installed and can report their results.

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