Volume 6 Issue 7 August 2005
WINDOWS WITH A WHIZ
Innovative Windows Employ the Latest Technology
Just when you think you’ve seen the most advanced windows, progress in technology makes innovations possible again. Blinds-between-glass, electrochromic glass skylights, and even the concept of multimedia screens on windows are all ideas made possible with technology. Take a look at some of the amazing developments available for windows.
Hot Skylights Offer Cool Solutions
VELUX America Inc. of Greenwood, S.C., has introduced its electrochromic glass in an expanded selection of venting electric skylights. The new technology allows homeowners to use a remote control to tint skylight glass from clear to dark without losing the view of the sky. It permits convenient control of light and heat entering rooms through skylights without blinds or shades. According to a release from the company, energy savings and elimination of uncomfortable heat gain is possible even in the brightest and hottest days.
The technology may also minimize fading of a home’s contents because it is not exposed to direct sunlight.
VELUX has teamed with SAGE Electrochromics Inc. to incorporate SageGlass® technology into skylights. The glass technology has been under development for more than 12 years, and is the only one to have passed testing conclusively by the U.S. government and glass and fenestration companies, according to the release.
SAGE produces SageGlass lites by coating glass with multiple layers of ceramic thin films that, in total, are less than one fiftieth the thickness of a human hair. Applying a low DC voltage causes the active electrochromic layers to darken and reversing the voltage polarity causes the layers to lighten.
From the energy usage standpoint, it requires less energy to tint over 250 VSE 104 skylights than it does to power a single 40-watt incandescent light bulb, according to the release.
The technology will be available in a range of the company’s products in late 2005 and 2006 with the completion of a new SageGlass manufacturing facility in Minnesota.
Currently, standard venting electric skylight units can be purchased and installed, than upgraded to electrochromic glass via a simple sash replacement performed by VELUX solutions contractors of any independent contractor, according to the company.
Beauty Comes from Within the Glass
Pella Corp. of Pella, Iowa, has released its Designer Series® windows and patio doors which feature between-the-glass window fashions that can change easily in minutes. The blinds allow homeowners to transform the look of a room quickly without damaging walls or wood with blinds between glass that snap out easily, allowing it to be replaced with a different color blind.
“We recognize that homeowners want to express their personal style while saving time, money and simplifying their lives. Pella has developed an integrated design solution to satisfy those diverse needs,” said Sherri Gillette, Designer Series marketing manager.
The windows have room for both window fashions and a grille between lites of glass for design flexibility.
Homeowners can take their time to decide on between-the-glass options and make changes over time as needs and tastes change, according to the company. Window fashions between-the-glass stay clean and dust-free, which may help alleviate allergy-aggregating conditions.
Beautiful fabric shades, which open from top down, allow the shade to be lowered to allow natural light from the top, while covering the bottom of the unit for added privacy.
The new collection also features cordless operation, so there are no strings attached to blinds or shades.
Shades are available in light-filtering and room-darkening options, especially important in entertainment rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms.
Dojglass Sunblind Features Motor Option
Omnika of the Netherlands, has released its thermal insulating double glass with an integrated sunblind, called Dojglass. The new product makes it possible to maintain sealing properties of insulating double glazing and also time control externally the blinds between the glass.
Dojglass is the only system that allows tilting and pulling up and down by motor or manually, according to the company. It provides protection from sun rays in a dust-free and low maintenance environment. The large glass space gives good thermal and acoustic properties, according to the company. Another advantage is that it regulates light better than external blinds. They can be inserted into existing windows or built into PVC, wooden or aluminum windows.
The Untouchable Blind Eliminates Cleaning
Internal Blinds by OEM have showcased a new patented blind system in the line called screenline. It is unique because the blind is assembled and permanently sealed within a double-glazed thermal unit. According to the company, the blind always appears new because it has been sealed in a dust-free environment and requires no cleaning, unlike external blind systems.
The blinds offer privacy and light filtering by tilting the slats or raising the blinds. According to the company, the energy savings is achieved when internal heating is decreased, allowing for lower air conditioning costs.
The product can be used for many applications, including entry doors, sliding doors, residential and commercial windows and office partitions.
A variety of between-the-glass blinds are available from the company, including a magnetic slide operated SSLT, lift and tilt blind and a 0.625-inch airspace, top slide blind.
A Look into the Future with Project Odyssey
Project Odyssey, led by Andersen Windows and Doors of Bayport, Minn., was a three-year project started in 2000 by the team of researchers to envision the home of the future and examine the role that windows play in people’s lives. The team found that windows may be an interface for light, air information and security in the future. A few of the innovative concepts the company explored include an invisible insect screen, a micro-ventilation window and a number of multimedia windows. While the company has no plans to introduce any of its concept windows to the market anytime soon, it shows how windows can be used to serve multiple purposes in the future.
The goal of the project was to understand how technological and behavioral trends relate to the window’s role as interface to the home, and apply the knowledge gained to the company’s research and development efforts, according to a press release from the company.
The Airways micro-ventilation window would allow the window to establish airflow and achieve desired environmental conditions without compromising security in the home. Through integrated vents in the interior and exterior frame of the window, air exchange could occur to supplement a home’s HVAC system.
The SlideAway media window concept features an embedded, touch-screen computer that slides into a pocket in the window frame when not in use. It provides homeowners the opportunity to watch television, listen to music or even turn on the air conditioning from a window.
The ViewPoint media window concept is a bay window that doubles as a home entertainment center. Upon command, the center panel of the window switches from clear to opaque glass to block outside light and allow it to be used as a projection screen for watching television or recorded movies. The flanking casement windows serve as speakers to complete the multi-media experience.
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