Pennsylvania: Window Technology First of Its Kind for Commercial Buildings

Project Overview
Positive Impact: The OptiQ™ Ultra Thermal Window series introduces new high-performing windows to the commercial building industry and unlocks the potential to save energy in more of America’s commercial building space.
Locations: Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Partner: Traco
EERE Investment: $2.6 million; $1.3 million ARRA funding with a $1.3 million cost share from Traco
Clean Energy Sector: Energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturingPDF

Windows play a significant role in a building's energy use; in 2010, 2.55 quads of energy were lost through windows—the equivalent of more than 20 billion gallons of gasoline. In support of DOE’s goal to reduce energy consumption in buildings by 50% by 2030, EERE utilized $1.3 million of Recovery Act funding to support window manufacturer Traco, a division of Kawneer (an Alcoa company), to develop the OptiQ™ Ultra Thermal Window series (OptiQ™) for the commercial buildings sector. These windows offer thermally optimized frames, high-performance glazing, and are designed to accommodate double pane or triple pane insulating glass. The OptiQ™ delivers as much as a 40% increase in energy efficiency compared to existing commercially available, double-pane, low-emissivity windows. The OptiQ™ windows are the first R-5 windows for the commercial buildings sector that achieve an architectural structural rating. The windows are made from aluminum and are designed to never rot, warp, or buckle due to moisture and weather exposure. They also attain outstanding condensation resistance, which is ideal for healthcare and education applications where condensation and mold are significant concerns.

Prior to the introduction of the OptiQ™, R-5 windows were not available for commercial buildings and were only available for residential use. Higher structural requirements for commercial buildings relative to residential buildings make it more difficult to develop thermally insulated windows. The OptiQ™ currently offers two models of windows; the AA® 4325 entered the market in 2012, and the AATM 5450 was introduced at the June 2013 American Institute of Architects National Convention in Denver, Colorado. Commercializing and deploying highly insulated windows such as the OptiQ™ provide commercial building owners and operators with more energy efficient options to reduce heating and cooling expenses. The introduction of the OptiQ™ series pushes the bounds of thermal performance for commercial windows, making R-5 windows available for entirely new markets. Further cost reductions are expected for commercial windows as manufacturing volumes increase, driving the market toward additional advances in energy efficient window technologies.

The Buildings Technologies Office (BTO) leads a vast network of research and industry partners to continually develop innovative, cost-effective energy saving solutions—better products, better new homes, better ways to improve older homes, and better buildings in which we work, shop, and lead our everyday lives.

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