Bob Vila Radio: The Evolution of Energy Efficient Windows

Windows have changed a great deal for the better over the past 20 years, and with the pace of innovation continuing unabated, the future promises ever more stunning technological achievements.

For decades, window manufacturers have been coming up with incredible new ways to make glazing more like a wall—that is, less drafty and more energy efficient.

Energy Efficient Windows




First came insulated windows that provided a buffer zone of air between multi-pane glass. Then there were windows with micro-thin, highly reflective metallic coatings, ingeniously designed to block heat gain in the summer while retaining heat in the winter. Some window makers even go a further step by injecting denser-than-air argon or krypton gas into the layers between panes as a method of increasing insulation R-value.

Now, at the cutting edge of technology is a new breed of switchable windows, able to admit, at the flick of a switch, the precise level of light you choose. So-called “smart” windows even come with sensors that lighten, darken, or virtually black-out the window automatically, based on the intensity of sunlight or time of day.

It may be years before switchable windows go mainstream, but with the number of companies vying to dominate the marketplace, we’re bound to see a number of new and exciting window products over the next few years.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!