Even though replacing standard windows with those that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations will lower your energy bills by up to 15%, one Grand Rapids company has found a way to cut costs while keeping your windows exactly where they are.
John Slagter, president of Grand Rapid’s Mackinac Technology Co., was trying to focus on concerns his customers had over rising energy costs in their home. He was previously focused on developing a vacuum insulation panel that would be installed in walls, when his attention shifted to windows.
This was five years ago. Now Slagter is on his way to commercialize a new energy efficient product that can be easily installed on top of existing windows. These window covering panels are made from a durable polymer pane that feels like a plastic but bends to the touch, and can be custom fit onto any size window frame.
There are even multi-pane units that can increase insulation value and energy savings even more.
How it works is simple. As described in Midwestern Energy News, the transparent polymer panes are resistant to discoloration, and they reflect ultraviolet light entering a home from outdoors. They also have a high R-value, which is a value given to a material based on how well it holds warm and cool air within a building.
To put this in perspective, an R-value of styrofoam is five, and a thick six inches of fiberglass has an R-value of 13. One thin, single pane of Slagter’s invention can have an R-level of as high as 13.
Not only is this window pane becoming increasingly popular in both the residential and commercial construction sectors, the U.S. military is showing interest. Earlier this month, Slagter signed a $1 million dollar contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineersâ€™ Research and Development Center to develop a product for the U.S. Department of Defense’s facilities.