Windows and Doors R&D

Image shows a bottom corner cut-out of a window with a wood frame holding three panes of glass.

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.

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On this page you'll find information on the Building Technologies Program's windows and doors research and development goals, areas of focus, and strategy.

Windows, doors, and skylights (also known as "fenestration") contribute significantly to the whole building design approach to energy efficiency, which is a key strategy in meeting the Building Technologies Program's energy efficiency goals.

Conventional windows are the weak links in the building envelope, and consume approximately 4.4 quadrillion Btu of energy in the U.S. annually in the United States in the form of heating and air conditioning loads, according to the Multi-Year Program Plan (MYPP). Yet ultimately, window systems have the potential to outperform the best-insulated wall or roof in terms of annual energy performance, peak demand reduction, and costs—for any orientation or climate.

The MYPP outlines the long-term energy target of the Building Technologies Program's windows and doors R&D as improving residential window performance by 70% by 2020, and developing commercial window packages that save 15% by 2015 and 70% by 2025. Achieving the long-term target requires aggressive R&D efforts, coupled with voluntary and mandatory deployment efforts at national, regional, and local levels.

The Building Technologies Program windows and doors R&D focuses on two areas:


The Building Technologies Program's windows and doors R&D is intended to catalyze private investments in energy efficiency by reducing uncertainty and risk, and to address high-risk activities that are unlikely to attract private investments. It also includes strategies to drive the marketplace toward more widespread use of advanced technologies by creating an accurate and unbiased information base for decision-makers, providing technical underpinnings for the development of standards, and supporting voluntary programs to encourage use of more effective window systems. Activities are highly leveraged by partnerships with the fenestration industry, government laboratories, universities, utilities, and consumer groups, as well as other relevant DOE programs.

Potential cost and energy savings are substantial. DOE-sponsored research has yielded major contributions to improving window energy efficiency over the past two decades. Advances in one area alone—low-e coatings for windows—are estimated to have saved the United States more than $8 billion.

Interested stakeholders can share their views and stay up-to-date on the latest windows and doors R&D activities through the Building Envelope and Windows R&D Program Blog