I've been able to acquire several plastic-framed ("energy-saving") windows - it appears some contractor messed up the measurements and a whole batch of new custom-made windows for a nearby construction was discarded, then we managed to save quite a few before vandals got a sniff of something safe to break.

It should be quite easy to add some black-painted insulation backing, draw some black-painted pipes, and add the rest of infrastructure but will it work? How will the "energy-saving" properties of these windows affect such use - will they help keeping the inside very hot, or opposite, will they prevent IR from getting inside?

  • Welcome to Sustainable Living! Can you provide a bit more information? What exactly do you mean with "energy-saving windows"?
    – THelper
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 10:10
  • @THelper: Typical modern PVC profile framed windows with dual glass, like this or this - normal modern windows, as opposed to "antique" wooden-framed, or single glass.
    – SF.
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 11:48
  • 2
    short answer: no, they're more valuable as double-glazed sealed units, than as a bodged-together solar thermal thing. Maybe a greenhouse (glasshouse)?
    – 410 gone
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


It depends.

Windows treated with IR blocking films will make them less efficient as a means of solar collection but double pane windows also provide better insulation than single pane windows.

EngergyNumbers suggestion of a greenhouse is also a good use for them. Especially if they have a UV blocking film. Several studies suggest plants are as sensitive to UV radiation humans are and blocking UV radiation can increase plant vitality.

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