Kevin Surace and his company, Serious Materials, have been on TreeHugger before; they invented and are producing EcoRock, a new drywall substitute that generates a fraction of the carbon dioxide released in the production of conventional board. They also make Quietrock, a soundproof drywall where one sheet is equivalent acoustically to eight sheets of regular stuff. They "aim for breakthroughs in product performance, without requiring changes in customer behavior or in how products are used – thus speeding market adoption."
But from board to windows? That is a stretch, the only thing they have in common is that they both are used in building.
Not according to Kevin Surace. "We are an engineering company, we solve problems." The latest problem that they have attacked is the window, which is traditionally a big thermal hole in the wall. As windows usually have an R-value of about 2 to 3.5, they are not very effective thermal barriers; they are responsible for up to 40% of the energy consumed by buildings, which are responsible for 40% of the energy consumed in America.
Many building codes have a big flaw; they may specify an R-value (thermal resistance or level of insulation) for the wall assembly but ignore the amount of window that is installed in it. Now authorities are getting smart and setting energy efficiency standards like California's, where there may be limits on the total window area. So if you want that wall of glass look you are going to need better windows.
Serious Materials delivers a window with an R-Value of up to R11, which is really quite extraordinary. They combine pultruded fiberglass soy-insulated frames with special Alpenglass+ with single or double film suspended within that reduces heating and cooling costs by up to 40%.
There is nothing new about pultruded fiberglass frames or glass with suspended films; the proprietary "ecospacer" holding the glass and film in place is the only thing that I have not seen before. But they have put it together in an effective package that delivers surprising results.
More companies have to think this way; they are not in the board business or the window business but in the green construction products business. Serious Materials
Serious stuff from Serious Materials in TreeHugger:
TH Interview: Kevin Surace of Serious Materials
Soundproofing and Climate Change
New Drywall From Serious Materials Saves Serious Energy