Volume 8, Issue 2 - February 2007
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled its Zero Energy Window prototype, which incorporates dynamic electrochromic glass (SageGlass®) that can be electrically controlled to change from clear to dark. The prototype also includes low-E glass coatings, an unsealed internal plastic triple pane, krypton gas and an insulating frame. This is the first time that all of these technologies have been optimized in an integrated fashion, the DOE reports.
The Zero Energy Window is the latest step in DOE’s low-E windows program, which has delivered economic, environmental and security benefits to America’s consumers and commercial interests. Low E glass coatings, which reflect near- and long-wave radiation, have saved the nation more than $8 billion in energy costs, according to the DOE. Today, more than 50 percent of windows sold have low-E glass, saving millions in energy costs.
Full adoption of low-E windows in all new residential and commercial construction could save $2.5 billion annually in heating and cooling costs, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) says. The impact on the environment is significant, with the use of low-E windows resulting in avoided life-cycle emissions of 68 million tons of carbon. Better windows also enhance national security by cutting energy use, especially during winter peak demand months in the Northeast, according to NFRC.
DOE’s goal is to create a new generation of Zero Energy Buildings. Low-E windows can be reduced to zero energy and, in many cases, can actually become net providers of energy to buildings, adding solar heat in winter and daylight to offset electric lighting year round.
DOE is currently exploring new concepts for highly insulating windows that could produce another doubling in energy efficiency. Technologies under consideration for the next generation of highly insulating windows include vacuum glazings, aerogel and low-cost, lightweight triple glazings that incorporate low-E coatings and gas fills. Future zero energy windows will also incorporate dynamic glazings that allow for variable solar control. Dynamic windows are currently available in the marketplace, but there is still a significant price premium.
Atrium Companies Consolidates Facilities
Atrium Companies Inc., a Texas-based manufacturer of vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors in North America, will close its Danvid Window facility in Carrollton, Texas, and consolidate it with the existing Atrium Windows and Doors and HR Windows’ facilities in Dallas.
“This plant consolidation allows us to enhance a number of business operations and will result in significant cost savings. Additionally, it allows us to upgrade the vinyl window production at our Dallas facilities,” said Bob Burns, Atrium’s chief operating officer.
According to Burns, the closing of the Carrollton facility will affect approximately 230 employees. “We hope a significant number of people will decide to take positions offered to them at the other locations. Regrettably, not all positions will transition and we recognize that not all employees receiving offers will be willing to make the move to another location,” Burns said.
The company also announced it will close its 79,000-square-foot facility in Shelton, Conn. The closing will be completed by March. All customers serviced out of Shelton will be transitioned to the company’s Welcome, N.C. facility, which already produces more than half of the product that goes to the Northeast region’s customers.
“Market conditions in the Northeast and the capacity for additional volume in North Carolina convinced us that this is the right decision for our company,” said Burns.
The closing of the Shelton facility will affect approximately 60 employees.
Advanced Global Technologies Acquires MD Casting
Advanced Global Technologies, LLC (AGT) has acquired the assets of Fort Worth, Texas-based MD Casting Inc. (MDC) from Atrium Companies Inc. MDC specializes in the manufacture of zinc die casting, metal stamping and injection-molded components for use in the door and window industrial markets.
“We are very excited about this acquisition,” said Rick Lipski, president and chief executive officer of AGT. “This enables us to blend AGT’s off shore manufacturing expertise with MDC’s domestic manufacturing expertise which in turn will mean greater value for our customer base.”
MDC will support AGT’s off shore supply with domestic manufacturing and warehousing. This acquisition also expands AGT’s existing product offerings to include patio hardware, rollers, casement hardware and specialty components.”
AGT, with offices in Mount Laurel, N.J., and Shanghai, China, provides global sourcing and procurement services to domestic manufacturers. AGT’s core products include aluminum/vinyl extrusion, screen cloth, die cast, forged, injection molded and stamped components to the fenestration and industrial markets.
JELD-WEN Plans to Expand in Vermont
JELD-WEN Windows and Doors plans to expand its plant in southern Windsor County, in Vermont in a move expected to bring 130 to 170 new jobs to the area in this year. The company has signed a lease for nearly 200,000 square feet in a building at 36 Precision Drive in North Springfield, Vt.
“Demand for JELD-WEN’s interior doors, the availability of potential sites near our successful door manufacturing facility, and the quality of our employees in Vermont were major factors in our decision to expand near our current plant,” said Al DiBella, general manager of the planned facility as well as JELD-WEN’s present Door Division.
New Heian Factory Opens in Japan
Heian Corp. of Hamamatsu, Japan, a company that provides heavy-duty CNC routers and machining centers, has opened a new factory in Miyakoda, Japan. CNC routers made by Heian are distributed in the United States by Stiles Machinery of Grand Rapids, Mich., and are supported with advanced integration, manufacturing consulting and service and support.
The new factory is fully-equipped with high precision machine tools, CAD design software, high-performance spindle manufacturing and advanced testing equipment. Heian has the capacity to produce approximately 500 custom CNC machines annually from the new facility.
Winning Home Showcases Kolbe’s Windows and Doors
Marcy Hurst and Scott Norris, co-owners of Olde World Custom Homes, received a Michigan Energy Star® grant for their timber-framed residence that showcases 82 crafted doors and windows from Kolbe of Wausau, Wis.
The grants are awarded every year to licensed residential builders whose projects demonstrate energy efficiency and innovative design and construction. Grant recipients receive up to $8,000 for marketing, energy rating and other expenses. The house features several radius units, and there are custom grills in all 12 doors and 60 windows. The windows are trimmed in pine, and fir was used on the doors. This two-story, $1.4 million home encompasses 6,200-square-feet and “shows that it’s entirely possible to have a large home and still be environmentally-conscious,” said Hurst. “Because this house meets Energy Star requirements, the cost of heating/cooling it is 61 percent less than a similarly-sized home that doesn’t.”
BHMA Issues New Standard for Steel and Wood Doors
The Builders Hardware Manu-facturers Association (BHMA) has published two new door hardware standards, ANSI/BHMA A156.115W Hardware Preparation in Wood Doors with Wood or Steel Frames and ANSI/BHMA A156.115 Hardware Preparation in Steel Doors with Steel Frames.
The two new standards are intended as a guide for manufacturers as well as consumers, helping to guide the latter toward choosing the appropriate hardware for their doors and installing them properly. The standards address the dimensional attributes for mounting common hardware products in doors and door frames.
“BHMA, along with related door associations, put in significant effort to update and improve these standards which replace the previous, withdrawn DHI A115 series,” said Mike Tierney, standards coordinator for BHMA. “Users will appreciate the improved electronic drawings and other enhancements.”
BHMA has also published updated versions of three of their standards, ANSI/BHMA A156.15 Release Devices: Closer Holders, Electromagnetic and Electromechanical, A156.20 Strap and Tee Hinges and Hasps and A156.21 Thresholds.