Given the urgent need to conserve energy, home manufacturers are scrambling for environmentally friendly ways to build homes and cut down on energy costs. One of the most significant costs in building projects or home renovations are the windows. Air conditioning and heating bills are also a huge expense for homeowners. Both problems can be solved by an innovative type of window being produced by an Israeli company, Alubin, which has developed all-season reversible windows.
According to a report in ISRAEL21c, the two-sided windows developed by Alubin absorb and retain heat during the winter, and can be reversed during the summer months to reflect the sun outdoors, maintaining a cool indoor temperature.
The windows, known as Seasons Windows, are based on a ventilated solar-screen glazing system which converts solar radiation to heat either the inside of the house, or to the outside. In winter, the special tinted and absorbing glass faces inwards allowing short wave solar radiation to pass through, while a panel of clear glass blocks outward radiation.
With the flick of a switch, the window can be manually rotated along an axel, so that the same tinted glass once pointing inwards can absorb short wave solar radiation and redirect it to the outside world in summer.
Seasons Windows do their green work by passively conserving energy. You can turn them around for winter or summer mode. They can heat a room in the winter or ventilate like an air conditioner in the summer.
Admittedly, ecological solutions are more expensive than traditional ones, but the investment over time can amount to huge savings on energy costs, says an Alubin representative. "And of course early technologies are more expensive, but over the years they will pay back just like solar panels."
The windows in the Holy Temple were designed shkufim atumim—they were narrow on the inside and wider on the outside. Normally, windows are designed to maximize the amount of light entering the home. Therefore, in a home with thick walls, the windows were narrow on the outside and wide on the inside. In the Temple, the windows were reversed. They were built not to bring light inside, but to radiate out the spiritual glow of the Temple.
Similarly, we have a responsibility to radiate light outward. The Jewish people are known as an ohr l’amim—a light unto the nations. It is up to us to serve as proud examples of the Torah’s teachings, and to spread its light outward to the entire world.
Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover is chairman of the Center of Magnetohydrodynamic Studies and Training at Ben-Gurion University.