What Is the Partnership for Advanced Window Solutions?
The Partnership for Advanced Window Solutions (PAWS) is a collaborative initiative launched with the support of the US Department of Energy and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. The PAWS program started to promote cost-effective, resilient window solutions for new and existing buildings. Since its launch, PAWS has initiated a variety of proven methods for transforming the window market.
In support of PAWS, US DOE Secretary Granholm unveiled in May 2021 “Actions to Increase Energy Efficiency for Homes and Buildings and Save Costs” including the “Partnership for Advanced Window Solutions” which states because “traditional windows are poor energy performers… there is a growing need for improved window products”.
Today’s Sustainable Building Practices
Before we get into advanced window solutions, let’s recap the more commonly used sustainable and resilient building methods.
Renewable energy sources have been utilized for a long time and are becoming more mainstream within modern commercial building design. A prime example would be using solar panels as a power source instead of coal or gas. Some other renewable energy sources include:
- The use of geothermal energy from the earth
- Biomass energy from plants
- Hydropower from a flowing water source
- Wind energy from windmills
When we say “human behavior,” we’re referring to everyday habits humans can improve on to decrease the amount of energy and resources they use. This can be anything from remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room to making an effort to recycle more or being mindful of how often you keep your water running while brushing your teeth.
Another exciting way to reduce a building’s carbon footprint is with technological advancements. Everything from using energy-saving LED light bulbs to high-efficiency HVAC systems can make a difference.
There are even technologies such as daylighting controls that can sense the level of natural daylight and reduce (for each lighting fixture) the level of indoor lighting.
The “building envelope” is known as the barrier between desired internal environmental conditions (such as temperature, daylight, and indoor air quality) and unavoidable external environmental conditions. The building envelope is further broken down into ‘fenestration’ such as windows and doors versus walls and roofs.
Although the technologies are different whether improving a window which needs to maintain visibility to outside spaces or a roof which most people never notice, by adding protective layers of material to the building envelope, you can protect it from the outside elements, reduce heat gain and/or loss, and lower energy use.
The PAWS Mission: Advanced Window Solutions
With windows accounting for 30-40% of a building’s heat loss during the winter and cooling peaks in the summer, PAWS saw the need for advanced window solutions that were energy-efficient, affordable, and easily adaptable to old and new structures. The PAWS Collaborative supports everything from retrofit strategies to new building codes to get on the path toward net-zero energy buildings.
The Benefits of Window Film
As psychological beings, humans need access to natural light for mental, emotional, and physical health which has been studied and proven by a leading architectural and engineering firm Heschong Mahone. With the use of window film, you can improve the energy efficiency flaws of the window without taking away its natural benefits and aesthetics.
As one of the advanced window solutions that PAWS promotes, window film is simple to install, economical, improves the U-Value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient of your building, and can be applied to old and new construction. According to a Grand View Research study, the application of window film provided an ROI that was 6.6 times greater than the energy and cost savings of low-E glass window replacement. Therefore, there is no need to invest in new window replacements and waste money, time, resources, and tenant disruption. You can update your windows as they are and still reap all the benefits!
NGS: Your Window Film Specialist
Window film is a great way to improve efficiency while keeping all of the occupant benefits of glass and not incurring the operational cost or the headache of replacements. If you’re interested in learning more about advanced window solutions for your building, check out our blog on The Perfect Window: Riot Glass™ and 3M Window Film.