U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Office – High Performance Windows Volume Purchase
About the High Performance Windows Volume Purchase Program
The Pathway to Very Low Energy Buildings
The Building Technologies Office has embraced the strategic goal of developing very low energy buildings to reduce national energy consumption. A very low energy building is a residential or commercial building with greatly reduced needs for energy through efficiency gains (60%-70% less than conventional practice), with the balance of energy needs supplied by renewable technologies. Highly insulating windows are a key stepping stone to achieving very low energy buildings.
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Windows Volume Purchase (WVP) program is a market transformation effort that allows potential buyers of highly insulating windows and storm windows to obtain bids from a consortium of qualified window vendors.
The program brings together buyers and industry partners to overcome the price barrier of highly insulating windows (a U-factor of around 0.2) and low-E storm windows and to increase their widespread market commercialization for maximum energy savings. This program not only increases the availably of these products, but provides an explanation of benefits associated with these high performance products.
Phase II of the Volume Purchase Program
Building off the success of the phase I WVP (May 2010-April 2011), phase II of the WVP launches in May 2011.
This phase brings many exciting changes to the program:
- Commercial-grade windows.
- Stepped pricing to benefit bulk purchases.
Learn more about the Windows Volume Purchase Request for Proposals (RFPs)
Highly Performance Windows: Definition
There is no specific definition for 'highly insulating', but the term as it is used here corresponds to windows with a U-factor of around 0.2 or less. Typically these are triple pane windows with advanced features such as gas fills, advanced spacers, and low-E coatings. A U-factor measures a window's insulating abilities; the lower the U-factor, the less heat loss through the window.
Why use High Performance Windows?
High performance windows will save the most energy in climates with significant heating needs. A comparison of typical winter window heat loss across four sample cities can be found in the graph below.
How a Volume Purchase can Help:
The principal barrier to widespread market commercialization of high performance windows is cost. The Department of Energy is working with industry and potential buyers to lower cost and make these energy-efficient products more readily available.