Simonton News

  • Simonton Windows Selected for DOE Cool Energy House Project in Florida

    January 23 2012

    COLUMBUS, OHIO – When builders from around the world come to Orlando, Fla. in February for the 2012 NAHB International Builders’ Show® they’ll have the opportunity to tour the Cool Energy House project created by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America program. Throughout the home, a variety of energy-efficient Simonton Windows help keep this home cooler in the summer and comfortable in the winter.

    Located in Windermere, Fla., the 3,800-square foot two-story home, remodeled by Southern Traditions Development, uses technical innovations and leading industry products to achieve peak energy performance. The energy-efficiency upgrades are anticipated to reduce the energy usage of the 1996 custom-built home by more than 50 percent.

    “The Building America Retrofit Alliance (BARA), one of the DOE’s Building America teams, has pursued this project to demonstrate cost-effective, integrated energy systems that can dramatically reduce annual energy use in existing homes,” says Craig Savage, BARA project manager. “Other important benefits include the long-term results of the energy-optimization retrofit efforts in improving the overall building quality, comfort, safety and durability.

    “The replacement of older, inefficient windows with top-quality vinyl windows is one of the keys to success for this project. Our decision to include energy-efficient Simonton windows in the Cool Energy House was a critical factor to achieving our high performance goals for the project.”

    Simonton Windows, which ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Windows and Doors, Two Years in a Row” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010-2011 Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction StudiesSM, contributed ENERGY STAR® qualified windows to the home. The double-hung and casement windows are part of the Decorum® by Simonton product line and were ordered with bronze exteriors, colonial sculptured grids and brushed nickel hardware. Some windows in the home feature Antique Cherry woodgrain interiors. Each energy-efficient unit includes an Intercept® Spacer System, Low E double-glazed glass and Argon gas filling in each Insulating Glass Unit (IGU).

    Understanding Energy Efficient Windows


    To create the energy efficient windows used in the Cool Energy House and in homes across the country, Simonton starts with premium vinyl, which has strong thermal properties that help make an excellent insulator. A glass package is then selected to make up the IGU. This occurs when two or more pieces of glass are separated by a spacer system and then hermetically sealed at the glass edges.

    The IGUs in the Cool Energy House windows are constructed with Low E glass. A transparent metallic oxide coating applied to the glass surface allows short-wave energy to pass through but reflects long-wave infrared energy for greater thermal efficiency. For added energy efficiency, the space inside the IGU has been filled with Argon gas, a safe, odorless gas that is six times denser than air. This acts as an added barrier for a higher level of efficiency.

    Finally, the Intercept Spacer System used in the windows is made of highly thermally prohibitive materials, placed between the glass panes to further reduce temperature transfer. The unique U-channel design of this spacer system minimized conduction for increased efficiency and comfort in the home. The U-shaped design flexes and contracts, helping reduce seal failure in the IGU.

    “The custom-made Simonton windows in this home help showcase the economically sound measures and strategies that can be employed in remodeling projects,” says Kim Foy, owner of Southern Traditions, the project contractor. “These practices and products can result in energy efficient, healthy, comfortable and durable homes.”

    Cool Energy House Project

    BARA has worked in close collaboration with the Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings to design and engineer the Cool Energy House to achieve peak energy performance. Key energy-saving measures involved in the home’s remodel include: air sealing and re-insulation; window, door, appliance, lighting and pool pump replacement; mechanical system replacement and air duct sealing; and cool roofing and novel building envelope additions.

    Interactive tours of the home will be available to builders, remodelers and the general public in February. The demonstration home is designed to help people understand how to integrate technical innovations into a high-performance retrofit project.

    For details on the Cool Energy House project in Florida, visit

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