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Making Windows Work Better

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Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory used infrared (IR) imaging as part of its field testing for ongoing research on the energy performance of window attachments. These three photos show the same window, with an interior low-e panel attached, under three different pressure conditions simulating windy weather. Even with a fairly tightly sealed interior window panel, the moderate wind level significantly increases air leakage. Note that each IR image encompasses the same temperature range—a critical detail when doing side-by-side comparisons.

Let there be light, but no glare. Let there be a breeze in summer, but no winter air leaks. Let there be home security, but also quick emergency exits.

In a perfect world, our windows would do all this at once. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, we have created any number of window attachments—everything from interior drapes and blinds to exterior storm windows, awnings, and roll-down metal shutters. Many attachments offer fairly low-tech solutions that allow on-the-spot comfort control and seasonal flexibility. The cost of most attachments is quite low compared with the benefits, which can include significant energy savings.

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