U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Program
Building Envelope R&D
Windows Volume Purchase
The U.S. Department of Energy is coordinating a volume purchase of high performance windows to expand the market of R-5 highly-insulating and low-e storm windows. Learn more.
On this page you'll find information on the Building Technologies Program's research and development on the building envelope in the areas of walls, roofs, and foundations and windows and doors.
According to the Buildings Energy Data Book, the buildings sector accounted for approximately 39% of the total energy consumed in the United States in 2006—more than any other sector. Within the residential buildings sector, 38% of the primary energy used is spent on space heating and cooling.. A large fraction of this energy is lost through the building envelope, in particular the areas of walls, roofs, floors, windows, and doors. Advances in building envelope technologies are important for reducing overall building energy consumption and costs.
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) R&D has helped to make building envelope systems and materials more cost-effective, durable, and efficient, and has also contributed to better building standards. In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences wrote, "The importance of standards pulling technological innovation in buildings and transportation cannot be exaggerated. Often, DOE energy efficiency research has been used to provide a proper basis for standards."
Continued R&D in building envelope materials and systems is key to the success of whole building design and construction and will bring even greater energy and cost savings, in both new and renovated buildings. DOE's building envelope R&D is focused in the two primary areas: walls, roofs, and foundations, which includes envelope materials and envelope systems; and windows and doors.