Improving Information Technology to Maximize Fenestration Energy Efficiency
Annual heating and cooling energy loads through fenestration products in both residential and commercial buildings are a significant fraction of national energy requirements. In the residential sector, 1.34 and 0.37 quads are required for heating and cooling respectively (DOE Core Data Book, 2000). In commercial buildings, cooling energy use to compensate for fenestration product solar heat gain is estimated at 0.39 quads; heating energy use to compensate for heat loss through fenestration products is estimated at 0.19 quads. Advanced products offer the potential to reduce these energy uses by at least 50% (Frost et. al. 1993). Potential electric lighting savings from fenestration products are estimated at 0.4 quads if daylight can be used effectively so that electric lighting in commercial building perimeter zones can be reduced.
Software has begun to make an impact on the design and deployment of efficient fenestration products by making fenestration product performance ratings widely available. These ratings, which are determined in part using software programs such as WINDOW/THERM/Optics, VISION/FRAME, and WIS, can now easily be used by architects, engineers, professional fenestration product specifiers, and consumers. Information on the properties of fenestration products has also influenced state and national codes (IECC, ASHRAE 90.1) and aided voluntary market transformation programs, such as the Efficient Windows Collaborative and the Energy Star Windows program, which promote efficient fenestration products.