"Windows as warm as a wall."
– Pete Petit, Founder
The typical home loses 30% of its heat through windows, so highly insulating windows are an energy efficiency option with a disproportionately large benefit. Energy losses related to windows alone account for as much as 25% of total U.S. natural gas usage.
Well-insulated walls deliver R-12 to R-20 insulation, 3 to 5 times less heat loss than triple glazed windows. Why can't windows be as warm as a wall?
A new Energy Star standard, which raised the window insulation hurdle to R-3.7, went into effect for the Northern region of the U.S. in 2016. One way for the window industry to meet the new standard is to migrate to triple glazed windows, which are 50% thicker, 50% heavier, and 50% more expensive to make than current dual pane, argon-filled glazing. The center pane is also at risk of spontaneous cracking due to uneven heating in the hot sun.
Windows are a commodity. Window makers and other players in the glass supply chain want something new to differentiate their products and boost their slim margins.
What they want is a radically new type of window that can insulate as well as a wall. The excessive heat lost by current windows could then be saved. If this new window cost no more than than those currently available, it would quickly penetrate the market.
V-Glass is working to deliver that solution. The company mission is to develop an affordable Vacuum Insulated Glazing (VIG) for windows. Essentially, a VIG is a flat, transparent thermos bottle that dramatically reduces window heat loss. Two panes of glass, separated by tiny spacers, are sealed around the edges. The vacuum between the two panes virtually eliminates conduction and convection heat loss. A Low E coating on one pane cuts radiation heat loss.
Unlike argon, vacuum will not conduct heat, no matter how thin the gap. As a result, V-Glass glazing will be as thin as a piece of ¼ inch thick plate glass.
Affordable vacuum insulated glass is a disruptive product having national strategic importance. Successful development of V-Glass and associated manufacturing technology will generate significant benefits, including the following:
Enable zero energy buildings.
Provide U.S. participation in a large market with global impact on energy efficiency.
Extend the life of natural gas reserves and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Expand the frontier of scientific knowledge in advanced technology disciplines.
Increase demand for university and technical college courses in vacuum science, material bonding, plasma treatment, metallurgy, automation, and operation of related equipment.
Create a regional talent pool of higher value skills on the job market.
Serve as a platform for other important products requiring sealed flat panels, such as digital displays and neutron detectors for Homeland Security.