November 2014 was the coldest November in nearly 15 years in the US and served as a chilly reminder that no area is safe from frigid temperatures: all 50 US states fell below the freezing mark; Buffalo, NY was buried in more than 65 inches of lake effect snow; and parts of Montana experienced temperatures drops of 70 degrees in one night. Arctic temperatures brought on by the polar vortex are expected into 2015. If buildings are not adequately equipped with efficient windows, cold winter temperatures can cause significant damage to the building, even on the interior.
Why are windows so important to address in the winter?
It is a given that heating systems will be running practically non-stop in the winter, accounting for a bulk of the year’s total utility costs. Heat naturally flows out of windows due to the laws of thermodynamics; therefore, poorly insulated windows will make it extremely difficult to keep all of that heat coming from your system in the building since it will be inclined to simply leave the building through the windows. Heating systems work harder and harder in an attempt to maintain temperature control with inefficient windows negating those efforts. Eventually, this may wear out your heating system – a devastating outcome in a cold climate during a polar vortex.
Water droplets or frost that accumulates on windows in the winter is typically the result of the warm indoor air coming into contact with a cold window. While it is most visible on the window’s glass, condensation can build up on the window frame and even within the building’s structure. Excessive condensation can result in mold and degradation of fixtures and walls. Single pane windows with little to no insulating properties will be prone to condensation in the winter because there is no thermal break that blocks the cold outdoor temperature on one side of the glass from traveling to the interior.
What is a solution for quickly upgrading windows for winter?
Removing existing windows is hardly ideal during cold winter temperatures, but there is an option for building owners who want to upgrade the performance of their windows before spring: interior window retrofit systems, like RetroWAL™. RetroWAL is a window attachment lite that installs on the interior of existing windows. It consists of a piece of laminated, low-e coated glass that improves the thermal performance of the existing glass by creating an air gap that traps cold air from entering the building and keeps heat in. The thermal performance improvement by RetroWAL™ can translate into 35% reduction in heating costs in cold climates.
The standard configuration of RetroWAL™ uses laminated glass, which is flatter and better at sound control than tempered glass, allowing the appearance to remain clean and crisp. Secondary window retrofits are also up to one-third less expensive than window replacements and the Do It Yourself installation can be performed in 10 minutes. Protect your building from cold weather damage – learn more about RetroWAL™.
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The Thermolite engineering staff is an innovative structural, energy modelling, and implementation team that works to create unique window systems alternatives to traditional replacement windows. Our systems protect against blasts, hurricanes, and sound, while being energy efficient and quick and easy to install. We serve a wide range of industry buildings including government, military, historical, schools and universities, financial, health care, hospitality, and offices. Contact us today to learn how we could update your building’s window systems.