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Today my friend finished the first five-pane window insert for the sunroom. I learned very dramatically that the effectiveness of insulation is not due to the thickness of glass or plastic but in the pockets of air between the outside and inside of the window. A two-pane window offers a greater insulating factor than normal windows not so much because of the extra layer of glass but because of the pocket of between the two pieces of glass.
If you ever look at a piece of insulation you will notice that it is a material that contains many small pockets of air. The air pockets are the insulating factor. For example for the warm air to leave my sunroom to go outside it must now pass through five air pockets, each one slowing down the loss of warm air, to reach the cold air of the outside. Vice versa is also true — for the cold air to get into my sunroom from the outside it must pass through five air pockets. The sun does not have that problem.
These inserts, custom-fitted for each window, were made from inexpensive materials of wood and clear plastic. However, how they work has tremendous implications for not only heating an unheated sunroom but for green houses like at Growing Power and for an ordinary household’s windows and doors. They are easy to put in for the winter and take out for the summer. The labor cost this time around was a little higher than it will normally be, because my friend did not have all the proper tools and had to think it out as he was creating the inserts.
The real test will come when we measure the amount of energy savings from these inserts. My friend’s father, also my friend, has sent us all the measuring equipment we need to get the exact cost of the energy savings. Stay tuned to the Diary of the Worm or to my new web domain that is being built at www.nonviolentworm.org.
I spent the day today doing a lot of doing and not much reflection. My son who lives with us spent the afternoon “reflecting.” At dinner tonight I asked him if he ever heard of “Contemplation In Action”. I told him his day was in contemplation and mine was in action. He needed more action and I needed more contemplation. Then I thought of the new five-pane insulation system. For all the layers of doing of the glass or plastic it is mostly in the reflective pockets of just air that the real insulation takes place. We need both glass or plastic and air pockets to heat the room and in our lives we need both, contemplation and action to live our lives fully. It is in the Air!