This paper presents some of the research done during the last 8 years at the Technical University of Denmark developing improved low-energy window solutions. The focus has been on maximizing the net energy gain of windows for residential buildings. The net energy gain of windows is the solar gain minus the heat loss integrated over the heating season. It is assumed that in northern cold climates all of the solar gain during the heating season can be utilized for space heating. Problems with overheating in the summer period must be solved with overhang or moveable solar shading devices.
Two windows have already been developed and prototypes constructed for laboratory test and a third generation of the window design is now in the developing and designing phase in a new project.
The first window constructed was made of wood profiles and a low-energy double glazing unit. The second and third windows are made of fiber-reinforced plastic (plastic reinforced by fine fibers made of glass). This composite material is a weatherproof material with very low thermal conductivity and high mechanical strength. These properties make the material very suitable for frame profiles due to lower heat loss and longer durability of the window. The glazing in these fiber reinforced polyester windows is both unsealed and sealed triple glazing units.
To increase the net energy gain slim frame profiles have been developed to increase the glazing area and thereby the solar gain. The challenge when developing slim frame profiles is to make enough space for hinges and fasteners and still maintaining the functionality and strength of the window. Proposals for new hinges and handles are also given in this paper.