PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology


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Buying New Windows

New windows are long-term investments that have a large impact on your home's energy system. Today, there are many new window technologies avail-able that are worth considering. Glazing materials now come with a variety of selective coatings and other features; frames are available in aluminum, wood, vinyl, fiberglass, or combinations of these materials. Each type of glazing material and frame has advantages and disadvantages.

Shopping Tips

For more information about windows, contact:

American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA)
(847) 303-5664,

(888) STAR-YES (888-782-7937),

National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)
(301) 589-6372,

National Wood Window and Door Association
(800) 223-2301,

Owens Corning Customer Service Hotline
(800) GET-PINK (800-438-7465),

U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cearinghouse (EREC)
(800) DOE-3732, (800-363-3732),

This information was taken from Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home produced by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE). To download the full document visit the DOE's web site at

Electrochromatic Windows: The Latest Technology in Home Energy Conservation

Currently, PATH and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are jointly researching the benefits of electrochromatic (EC) windows. EC windows are "smart" windows in which an electrical signal changes the light transmittance, transparency, or shading of the unit. Whether utilizing electrically conductive films or suspended particles, the technology uses an electrical current to transfer ions from one layer to another within the electrochromatic material and cause a change in tinting. A licensed electrician must install the windows because they require an electric source and switch.

EC widows block significant amounts of ultraviolet light and radiant heat. As a result of the decreased heat gain from solar energy, cooling burdens can be significantly lowered during the summer months. These windows can cut energy use in a building by an estimated 50 percent. Additionally, EC windows slow the fading of interior furnishings by reducing their exposure to ultraviolet light.

The glazing is currently poised for commercialization and PATH and DOE are evaluating field studies and market feedback to assess the opportunities, benefits, and commercialization issues related to the use of these windows in new homes. The new EC windows are expected to change the way builders, architects, and engineers design and construct homes in the near future.

Content updated on 2/13/2003

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