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Code change allows builders to skip some low-e windows

Posted May 18, 2015

Low-emissivity window
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— An unheralded change to the North Carolina Building Code Council could impact countless homeowners and builders and eliminate problems caused when powerful sun rays reflect off energy-efficient windows.

Windows with low-emissivity glass are specially coated to reflect the sun rather than let it in. They keep homes cooler in summer, but the redirected rays have been known to melt siding and even parts of cars parked nearby. The North Carolina Building Code, which requires that new construction include low-e windows, has been tweaked to allow builders the option to avoid that problem.

"We didn't realize we were going to have the reflective issues we have," said Dan Tingen, president of the code council. "Now the code has changed to allow builders to omit that low-e, reflective energy glass pane in certain locations where they anticipate a problem could exist."

The new rule allows for two window sections to be changed out for regular glass, which doesn't produce that intense beam that has caused all the damage.

Tingen said it was WRAL's reporting that brought the problem to the council's attention.

"Unfortunately, consumers have been bothered by this problem far more than I like to think about," he said.

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