It has been reported that heat blocking glass can help the automobile industry reduce air conditioning (A/C) power consumption by 20% and improve fuel efficiency by 5%. According to the US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Ancillary Load Reduction Project Close-Out Report, approximately 230 million vehicles in the US consume seven billion gallons of fuel annually to power A/C units – equal to 5.5% of the total domestic light-duty vehicle petroleum consumption. The report also noted that A/C use can have a more dramatic effect for high-efficiency vehicles, increasing fuel consumption by as much as 35%.
Heat-reflective windshields that use XIR film keep the car interior cooler so less air conditioning is needed. Reduced A/C energy use can help US car makers respond to the President’s mandate for reducing fuel consumption.
This phenomenon recently compelled Southwall Technologies Inc. to ask automakers to install infrared (IR) reflective glass using the company’s XIR film technology. The XIR laminated products encapsulate XIR “heat rejecting” film between two layers of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and glass. The finished product has a low reflectance, allowing greater than 70% visible light transmittance while reflecting about 50% of the invisible heat. It has been reported that XIR heat reflective glass can reduce the amount of solar heat entering a car and thereby help automotive engineers downsize the A/C system while maintaining a comfortable cabin temperature. European car makers adopted automotive glass with XIR film in more than 20 million vehicles since 1993.
Southwall Technologies’ heat reflective XIR film is available off-the-shelf to automotive glass manufacturers that can laminate it with uncoated glass to make high-performance and cost-effective glass. Because XIR film is laminated with uncoated glass, it lets any automotive glass manufacturer produce IR reflective glass today without the need to invest in tens of millions of dollars in glass coating equipment. XIR film also makes IR reflective glass cost-effective for low-to-mid volume model runs and for after market replacement glass that otherwise could never justify the fixed costs associated with glass coating production. The company is an ISO 9001:2000-certified manufacturer. Glazing systems incorporating XIR film are offered by auto makers such as Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen, and Land Rover.
Southwall Technologies Inc.
Filed Under: Automotive, Energy management + harvesting, Green engineering