Improving the Thermal Performance of the U.S. Residential Window Stock

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Date Published


LBNL Report Number



Windows have typically been the least efficient thermal component in the residential envelope, but technology advances over the past decade have helped to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of window products. While the thermal performance of these advanced technology windows can be easily characterized for a particular building application, few precise estimates exist of their aggregate impact on national or regional energy use. Policy-makers, utilities, researchers and the fenestration industry must better understand these products ultimate conservation potential in order to determine the value of developing new products and initiating programs to accelerate their market acceptance. This paper presents a method to estimate the conservation potential of advanced window technologies, combining elements of two well-known modeling paradigms: supply curves of conserved energy and residential end-use forecasting. The unique features include: detailed descriptions of the housing stock by region and vintage, state-of-the-art thermal descriptions of window technologies, and incorporation of market effects to calculate achievable conservation potential and timing. We demonstrate the methodology by comparing, for all new houses built between 1990 and 2010, the conservation potential of very efficient, high R-value superwindows in the North Central federal region and spectrally-selective low-emissivity (moderate R-value and solar transmittance) windows in California.

Conference Name

1992 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Year of Publication




Conference Location

Pacific Grove, CA