Moving from Double to Triple of Possibly a New Technology

Moving from Double to Triple of Possibly a New Technology


Questions and concerns about a possible shift to triple-glazing have been floating around the industry ever since the Department of Energy issued its preliminary announcement about potential changes to the Energy Star Windows program. The new, more stringent U-factors Department of Energy(DOE) said it was considering for Northern climates in a couple years would be tough to meet with even the best double-glazed, gas-filled low-E coated glass package. To meet the new numbers, companies would have to go to triple-glazing, or perhaps some new technology.

In June, DOE’s Marc LaFrance, speaking at the summer conference of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, pointed to climate change concerns and our country’s growing need for energy independence, as well as the resulting building code changes and evolution of Energy Star. “All these things are moving forwards together to move the industry from a double-paned package to pretty much a triple-paned package,” he said.

Following up on that general prediction, we used the poll in our Windows&Doors Weekly newsletter to see if and when the industry thought we’d be going from double to triple glass. Apparently, a good number of people out there think it will happen. We asked readers how long before triple-glazing will account for 25 percent of the market. In total, close to 40 percent predicted it would happen within the next 10 years. That’s not a very long time in our industry. Vinyl, and I would say low-E, were probably around longer than 10 years before they hit the 25 percent market share mark.

Another quarter of our respondents expect the shift will happen, but suggest it would take longer—perhaps 20 years. It’s interesting to note, however, that one quarter don’t think it will ever happen. Never is a long time. I suspect those responses are somewhat colored by the very legitimate cost versus value question that triple-lite presents the industry—and our customers—now.

Going to triple-lite construction most of us know, can add significantly to the cost of a product. It not only adds to the cost of the glass package itself, but the …

To view the rest of this article, originally published in the August 2008 issue of Window & Door magazine, click here:

Written by John Swanson, editor & associate publisher