Full Frame R10 Windows Come to Market
A full-frame fixed window capable of providing an R10 insulating value is now on the market, doubling the previous benchmark of R5.
Alpen High Performance Products, a designer and manufacturer of super-insulating, high-performance windows and doors, announced the availability of a commercially viable window picture window system that meets the R10 equivalent rating.
The announcement followed independent testing by National Certified Testing Laboratories and subsequent certification by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) in June, Alpen’s Zenith Series ZR10 double-film fixed picture window design (NFRC Certified Products Database number ALP-M-10-00120-00001) was verified to deliver a .10 U-Factor. Earning an NFRC rating additionally makes the Alpen ZR10 window eligible for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) ENERGY STAR® certification, and a candidate for ENERGY STAR Most Energy Efficient 2016 recognition.
According to the R-value scale, originally based on mechanical engineering parameters of thermal resistance and now a mainstream reference for insulating capabilities used by the DOE’s ENERGY STAR program, this performance data equates to an R10 insulating factor. The R-value rating scale translates the NFRC’s U-factor to a thermal resistance number, with, for example, an R6 window indicating a U-factor of 0.17, and an R10 window representing a 0.10 U-factor.
“Achieving R10 performance, which is equivalent to an NFRC U-factor of 0.10, represents a major accomplishment – beyond Alpen as a company and for the fenestration industry at-large,” said Alpen CEO Brad Begin. “With the goal of developing a market accessible R10 window by 2020, the DOE’s Building Technologies Program has funded millions of dollars in research and development for high performance building shell technologies, which has led to billions invested both publicly and privately over the last 15 years.
“Despite a great deal of work and commendable advancements, hitting the mark on ‘low incremental cost’ and crossing the commercialization chasm has remained a challenge for the fenestration industry,” Begin continued. “Alpen’s Zenith Series ZR10 fixed picture window has now overcome the challenge as both a validated R10 performer and a market-ready product – truly surpassing the DOE’s goals for bringing a market accessible R10 window technology to the U.S. by 2020.”
“More than 20 years ago, and well after the introduction of low-E coatings, LBNL completed a series of research studies that clearly identified the need for improving the thermal properties of windows as part of a comprehensive national energy conservation strategy,” recalled Stephen Selkowitz, former leader of the Windows and Daylighting Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and now a senior advisor at LBNL. “We outlined several aggressive technology development pathways that could result in windows with lower energy costs than a highly insulated wall. As climate and orientation vary widely across the U.S., we also noted requirement for a variety of window performance properties to optimize performance in different regions.
“While we were confident of our analyses and test results, window manufacturers have remained challenged with developing commercially viable solutions – until now,” Selkowitz continued. “We are delighted to see Alpen bringing to market what can likely meet – if not exceed – our original Net Zero envelope performance criteria. It was also exciting to note their use of the LBNL’s WINDOW and THERM simulation tools, developed and updated thanks to ongoing support from the U.S. Department of Energy, to optimize design features such as glazing layers, coatings, gas fills and frame design. As interest in passive house performance requirements continues to increase across the U.S., it’s great to see the growth and success of a domestic company like Alpen, which is wholly focused on development and production of cutting-edge, NFRC-rated high-performance building envelope technologies.”
The Alpen ZR10 rounds out the company’s existing range of Zenith Series 1025 and 925 double-film high-performance window designs, engineered to provide super insulating properties in both heating- and cooling-dominant climates. At-large, the Zenith Series is one of four series of window and door systems that comprise the current Alpen product offering.
In total, Alpen has updated NFRC ratings for all of the company’s previously NFRC certified window and door products this summer, as well as achieved a new NFRC rating for the Alpen Zenith Series ZR10 fixed window. Begin shared that several additional product rollouts are planned by the company during the remainder of 2016.
“As a company, Alpen has worked diligently over the years in advancing toward an American-made solution to the DOE’s Energy Efficient Building Technology Roadmap challenge, and along the way we’ve made incredible breakthroughs while developing some of the highest-performing windows and glass products the world over,” said Begin. “We did this by ... realizing that the stakes were high and the payoff well beyond that of monetary value – especially without the support of any Federal grant funding, even to this very day."
Alpen’s window packages, which can “insulate like walls” and offer full frame window package performance at up to R10 performance, integrate advanced glazing technology with a wide range of design options for residential and commercial projects.
The complete line of Alpen window solutions incorporates features and options like pultruded fiberglass frames, closed-cell foam insulation, marine-grade glazing sealants, hermetically sealed high-performance spacers, low-e coated glass, and high-performance inert gas fill.
According to Begin, Alpen’s broader mission is to continuously expand its offering of multiple high-performance glass options, through the integration of cutting-edge glass and frame technologies such as dynamic glazing solutions and daylight redirection technologies, along with the latest advancements in lightweight framing materials. Combined, these features empower Alpen windows to act as “wavelength selective filters.” Alpen’s window and glass lines provide center-of-glass R-values as high as 20, directional “tuning,” 99+ percent UV blockage, unparalleled radiant comfort, and superior condensation resistance.
Read more about high performance windows.