Any feedback on Advanced Energy Panels (window insulation panels)?

Hi - Has anyone heard or or used Advanced Energy Panels (http://www.advancedenergypanels.com)?  I wanted to see what others thought of this kind of window insulation panel as an alternative to replacing windows to make them more energy efficient for either homes or commercial buildings.  They cost about $150 for an average size window so fairly inexpensive but provide a U factor of .31.  Any feedback is welcome.  Thanks!

Tags: weatherization, window

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I'm sorry, that I didn't identify myself in my recent reply as both a satisfied customer and currently a licensed manufacturer of Advanced Energy Panels. I bought 4 panels from WindoTherm several years ago then 20 more the following year. I was so impressed that I established Window Improvement Masters in 2011 with Advanced Energy Panels as our core product line. My background is architecture, HVAC design, energy management, and residential construction. I also sold Marvin and Integrity windows for a Vermont dealer.

Robert, as a representative of this product, do you support this statement on their web page "This technology triples the insulation value of your windows and can save you as much as 55% on your annual heating bills."?

I have no problems with this concept, I just prefer an up front approach with honest details. Single pane windows, as most of us know, are right next to being a hole in the wall. Selecting better windows within a reasonable (opinions vary) budget doesn't provide a lot of improvement, there are no reasonable r-10 windows out there.

If you put some numbers on those single pane windows, and I understand home owners are often not numbers people, a home with 15 single pane windows, each 12 ft² in area, located in my cold climate (7500 HDD) will lose how much heat?
Q = U x A x HDD x 24 a quick run on those numbers and you get 32.4 million btus. Divide that by 100,000 for therms or a typical oil furnace and you get 324 therms or gallons of oil. In my area oil is currently $3.65 a gallon for about $1,200 per year, just for those windows. Gas will range from $0.60 to $1.80 for $194 to $583 annual cost, again just the windows. Improve those windows to U = 0.33 and save from $128 to $792 per year. Obviously, homes in my area would save a lot more than warmer climates with lower cost fuels. But a home that saves only $128 per year or less in a warmer climate could be looking at a 20 year payback.

Bud

Now that I've figured out how to upload I will provide some of the other lab test results as well as a chart that documents the values, factors and assumptions that my company uses to convey the thermal improvement that can be expected by the addition of AEP over various starting conditions. 

I DO NOT support the claim made on the inventor's web site and I will encourage that it be changed. It is a misrepresentation due to a lack of understanding rather than a deception of deliberate exaggeration.

There are many reasons that I do not like the way in which many in the "conservation" business express the "savings" attributable to their product. First of all, virtually all such gross estimates ignore the many uncontrollable variables such as weather, indoor set points, changes in fuel cost, combustion efficiencies, air exchange through doors, etc.

In the case of window insulation devices, only the reductions in fuel use associated with the window opening itself can be attributed to the window insulation device. As windows are only one part of the total heating load of the building the savings attributable to these devices would be only a fraction of "annual heating bills."  

"Energy Savings" is another pet peave. Technically, when we make thermal improvements we are not saving "energy", we are reducing loads that demand energy and thereby avoiding the costs of fuel that would have otherwise been consumed without the "improvement."

 

Hi David, My thoughts as well.
Bob joined on Jan 18th and Keri joined on Feb 1 and miraculously made her first post on Feb 4 on the exact subject of interest Mr. Bacon wanted to discuss. Great timing Bob or was there more that needed to be disclosed?

Bud

I signed up for the forum as soon as I found out about it while searching the web because it has threads about of lot of stuff that I am familiar with and quite interested in.

I never mentioned this forum or my having joined it to Keri and had no idea that she was going to post a thread. Once she posted her inquiry, a notice from Home Energy Pros was automatically sent to me.

I responded to someone earlier this morning with even more 'disclosure' and personal background. It appears that once one declares oneself as a "professional" or a "scientist" they become very suspicious and highly defensive.

I feel like I uncovered a sect of paranoid conspiracy theorists and doomsday preppers. Chill guys. 

Looks like a nice tractor Bud.

I for one, enjoy having a product representative chime in. No one has more facts about the product. Part of the fun of being a scientist is questioning those facts. I think Bob has done well presenting the product whether or not the disclosure was proper up front or if the marketing claims of the parent company need revising. I built interior storms for a weatherization program - which requires adequate return - I believe in the approach for the right circumstance and price point. I am considering offering my customers an interior storm option and this discussion has forced me to think more about the best solution and I have learned from it.

Question away, but no need to slander when someone is engaging the topic from a building science standpoint. Ok Bob, no how about those unanswered building science questions in the thread?

Craig,

Thanks for your question, I'll write regarding how to account for the heat transfer in the interstitial air space as soon as I get a minute. - Bob

I met the owner of the Advanced Energy Panels several years ago at a "Green" show at the Egg in Albany.  I was intrigued with the program and have stayed in touch with the owner over the years.  I have never worked for Jim or been paid any money or given any free panels so my reason for commenting on this discussion board is only because I really believe they work.  I have toured the manufacturing facilities, visited buildings where they have been installed and even applied the film to a window in the shop.  I have attended a few demonstrations presented to various groups.  Here is my feedback.

1) Having worked at Lowes in commercial sales an having sold windows in the past I learned that buying a new window is good if your old window is falling out of the frame but when you crunch the numbers and factor in the cost of installation, the money you save will at best help you to break even over a 20 to 25 year time period.  And those numbers are based on the assumption that the new window will hold its "dead-air" seal over that whole time.  Rarely does that happen.  In fact a major window company in a training I attended admitted that 15% of all new windows loose thier seals during installation.

2)AEP's provide a much larger "dead-air" space than windows and plastic is not a conductor like glass is.  A tripple pane window in the winter is still cold to the touch.

3) There is no better application for energy saving in historic window settings as these panels are mounted on the inside and can be made to fit any shape of window.  The people at the historical societey in Hudson, NY absolutly loved them and said the would reccomend them as a viable solution.

4) AEP's prevent the heat in your room from being sucked to cold windows.  This also eliminates moisture and mold on your windows.

5)  Because the window is seperated from the heat of the room in the winter and the cool from the air conditioner in the summer much of the warping caused from the heat differential is eliminated increasing the longevity of the window and it's built in seals.

6) The benefits of application in commercial settings is also great.  One commercial setting I visited who had already had these AEP's installed told me that they would not have been able to use that building for retail business because it was just too cold before the panels.

7) These AEP's are made in the USA.  There are so few manufacturers left in New York and Jim's business plan has always been to use the underprivliaged to help make these panels.  What more could you ask for?

8) Jim has always told me that if a viable customer is still unsure he will make them up a panel and put it in thier coldest window.  If they don't like it he takes it back.  You can make arguments all you want based on your theoretical opinions but in the end if you try it and like it then buy it.  If you don't then don't.

I have been reading the threads in this discussion and thought I would add my two cents. I am not a representative for AEP. I conduct energy audits in NY and work for an HVAC company. We have installed the AEP product for some of our clients and the product works very well at sealing up leaky windows. This was the primary reason for the installation and solved the home owners' issues. If they also provided extra thermal protection from heat loss through glass, then all the better. Depending what the contractor charges for installation, these panels are cost effective relative to what a new window might cost. If the home owner can install them without help, they are certainly a good buy although I am not up to speed on current pricing. It used to be about $9 a square foot. There is a learning curve on properly measuring the windows and installation so not everybody will be comfortable doing it themselves. Overall this is a good product for the right application. Yes, Bob should have identified that he was affiliated with AEP, but it was pretty clear from his first response that he was a rep. 

Hi, my name is David and I'm an architect in Albany, NY.  We have specified AEP panels for projects in residential, commercial and institutional buildings with very favorable results.  I also have purchased them for my home and would highly recommend them.  Here's some info on my experience:

 

Our house is a 1925 wood framed colonial.  About 2,000 sq/ft.  It cost about $2,000 for 21 windows (19 single pane double hung and 2 fixed single pane) Our energy bills dropped an average of $75 a month during the 6 months of heating.  This is about a 4 1/2 year payback.  We are also restoring the original sash by weather stripping them and had the house insulated with blown-in fiberglass.  They immediately improved the comfort level in the house by elimnating the air transmission and lowered our energy costs.  The frames set perfectly in the casings and are held with buttefly clips. 

 

The reduction of condensation is remarkable.  We have a combination of A) aluminum triple track exterior storms, non-restored double hung & AEP, B) restored sash and AEP and C) non-restored sash & AEP.  I take the AEP panels off and watch the results.  The aluminum storms and wood sash get condensation and frost compared to the fully restored and AEP.  These are windows right next to each other. 

 

In the past 5 years we have had to repair the plastic on 2 panels (attributed to kids and a dog).  The plastic film has not yellowed or hazed.  They clean easily with water and mild soap, are light weight and for around $9 sq/ft is a very reasonable and economical solution for a home owner.  If you don't want to use the plastic clips the House of Antique Hardware offers decorative bronze butterfly clips that you can mount on the frames. 

 

A decent relacement window will run you $400 (not the vinyl Windo-Rama brands) plus the install cost.  A really good brand will cost significantly more.  I never recommend replacement if the existing sash can be salvaged and repaired.  Interior storm windows are heavy, sometime fixed in place, and are just as expensive as a replacement window.

 

The film can be easily ripped by a pointed object and we have only replaced them in 1 instance at a college where the students were poking pens through them.  Guess higher education doesn't always pay. 

 

Since the issue has come up in other posts, I have no financial investment in the company, receive no money or advertise for AEP in any way.  I just think they are an excellent and economical option for retrofits and recommend them for the right projects. 

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