Title:
Collision-deterrent, energy-efficient window
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A window design that includes a thin semi-transparent reflective surface that is intentionally distorted, so as to disrupt and confuse reflected images without significantly impairing transmitted viewing, thereby providing energy-efficient properties while reducing inadvertent collisions, particularly from birds. The surface can be a layer of material suspended or supported between two panes of a window or sliding glass door, or can be a coating on a pane.



Inventors:
Choate, Albert G. (Rush, NY, US)
Choate, Bethany J. (Rush, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/948648
Publication Date:
04/06/2006
Filing Date:
09/24/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C2/54
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040074154Insolation regulation deviceApril, 2004Mangeard
20030089071Method for proving the safety against collapse of load-bearing systems under fire loadMay, 2003Wageneder
20080086982INSULATING PANEL AND PROCESS OF MAKING SAMEApril, 2008Parenteau et al.
20030101670Foundation from bracket and methodJune, 2003Gustin
20040250507E-Z propDecember, 2004Tucker et al.
20090077920BUILDING BLOCK, BUILDING BLOCK MOLD, AND METHOD FOR FORMING BUILDING BLOCKMarch, 2009Korman et al.
20050166510Microorganism resistant shingle and method of making sameAugust, 2005Aschenbeck et al.
20060059823Wood cooking plank with easy to use split closureMarch, 2006Wright
20040098929Crawl access and basement window wellMay, 2004Kim et al.
20020002804Extruded plastic wall panel and door panel construction systemJanuary, 2002Sheehy
20090229208SEAL FOR CONNECTING AND/OR SEALING FACADE ELEMENTSSeptember, 2009Spannbauer



Primary Examiner:
PUROL, DAVID M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shlesinger, Fitzsimmons & Shlesinger (Rochester, NY, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A collision deterrent window treatment comprising an at least semi-reflective material imbued with a reflection disruptive distortion so that when the material is arranged in proximity to a window pane, a reflection of the exterior is substantially disrupted when viewed from the exterior.

2. The window treatment of claim 1 wherein the distortion is embossed in the material.

3. The window treatment of claim 1 wherein the distortion is imposed by wrapping the material over objects.

4. The window treatment of claim 4 further comprises a plurality of spaced apart dowels mounted along a line in proximity to and substantially parallel to a window pane and the material wraps over alternate sides of the dowels, thereby giving a substantially sinusoidal cross section to the material that appears as a series of alternating light and dark bands when viewed from an exterior of a structure in which the window pane is installed.

5. The window treatment of claim 1 wherein the material is collapsible, allowing easy temporary removal and further comprising an actuator that, when activated, folds the material away from the window pane.

6. The window treatment of claim 1 wherein the material is easily rollable and further comprising a spring-loaded roller that, when activated, will selectively remove and replace the material in proximity to a window pane.

7. The window treatment of claim 1 wherein the material comprises acetate.

8. The window treatment of claim 1 wherein the material comprises Mylar®.

9. The window treatment of claim 1 comprising a composite pane with an embedded semi-reflective surface.

10. The window treatment of claim 1 comprising a first pane having a first planar surface and a first distorted surface, a second pane having a second planar surface and a second distorted surface that complements and mates with the first distorted surface, the at least semi-reflective material being mounted on one of the first and second distorted surfaces, thereby being distorted, and being sandwiched between the distorted surfaces of the first and second panes.

11. A window collision deterrent method comprising providing an at least semi-reflective material, imbuing the material with a reflection disruptive distortion, and arranging the material in proximity to a window pane, thereby disrupting a reflection ordinarily visible from an exterior of a structure in which the window pane is disposed.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein imbuing comprises embossing the distortion into the material.

13. The method of claim 11 wherein imbuing comprises shaping the material in situ.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein shaping includes wrapping the material over objects.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein shaping further includes mounting a plurality of spaced apart dowels in proximity to and substantially parallel to the window pane and wrapping the material over alternate sides of the dowels, thereby providing the material with a substantially sinusoidal distortion appearing as a plurality of alternating light and dark bands when viewed from a side of the window pane having substantially greater ambient light than another side of the window pane.

16. The method of claim 11 wherein arranging comprises fixedly attaching the material to a casing of the window.

17. The method of claim 11 wherein arranging comprises providing an actuator that selectively substantially removes the material from view.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the material is rollable and providing an actuator comprises providing a window shade roller.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein the material is predisposed toward collapsing and providing an actuator comprises connecting at least one line to a bottom edge of the material, providing a pulley, receiving the line over the pulley, and selectively lifting and lowering the bottom edge with the line, thereby selectively folding and unfolding the material.

20. A collision deterrent window arrangement comprising at least two spaced-apart panes mounted in a frame, a reflection disruptive material disposed in proximity to at least one of the panes, thereby disrupting a reflection ordinarily visible from an exterior of a structure in which the window is installed.

21. The arrangement of claim 20 further comprising a plurality of dowels mounted in and across the frame substantially parallel to the panes, the material being wrapped over alternate sides of the dowels to impart a substantially sinusoidal cross section to the material.

22. The arrangement of claim 20 wherein the reflection disruptive material comprises a reflection disruptive distortion embossed thereon.

23. The arrangement of claim 20 further comprising an anti-reflection coating disposed on at least one of the panes.

24. The arrangement of claim 20 further comprising a circular polarizing material disposed in an interior of the window.

25. The arrangement of claim 20 wherein the material comprises acetate.

26. The arrangement of claim 20 wherein the material comprises Mylar®.

27. The arrangement of claim 20 further comprising a roller mounted in and across a top of the frame, a bottom edge of the material being biased toward a bottom of the arrangement, and a top edge of the material being secured to the roller so that the material can be selectively rolled and unrolled on the roller, thereby selectively moving the material substantially in and out of interposition between the panes.

28. The arrangement of claim 20 further comprising a batten mounted across a bottom edge of the material, a line connected to the batten and to a pull, and a pulley over which the line is received, so that pulling the line raises the batten and folds the material, substantially removing the material from interposition between the panes, and subsequently releasing the line lowers the batten and unfolds the material, interposing the material between the panes.

29. The arrangement of claim 28 wherein the material comprises pleats to enhance folding.

Description:

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

Embodiments relate to windows for edifices, such as houses and office buildings. More particularly, embodiments relate to windows incorporating arrangements to reduce the likelihood of birds flying into and colliding with windows. Additionally, embodiments relate to windows incorporating arrangements to reduce thermal load on a structure.

In order to improve the energy efficiency of traditional glass windows, a semi-transparent, semi-reflective coating, or tinting can be incorporated, which significantly improves the thermal insulating properties. However, that arrangement exacerbates the already serious problem of bird collisions, which unintentionally cause millions of unnatural deaths and injuries every year, which is a serious concern to many people.

Embodiments thus contemplate an arrangement of glass and/or plastic and a semi-reflective material arranged to reduce the likelihood of a bird colliding with a window using embodiments while still reducing thermal load on the structure in which such a window is installed. In embodiments, a window includes at least one layer of semi-reflective material, such as Mylar® or acetate with a metallized coating, imbued with a distortion. The layer can be hung between and/or adjacent window panes, can be a coating on one or more of the panes, or can be a shade or drape mounted in, on, or adjacent the window.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments will be described with reference to the accompanying Figures.

FIG. 1 is a schematic front view of a picture window incorporating an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross section of the window of FIG. 1 taken along the line 2-2.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show an alternate implementation of the window of FIGS. 1 and 2 in which the semi-reflective layer can be moved.

FIG. 5 is a schematic front view of a window incorporating an embodiment of the invention using a different distortion.

FIG. 6 is a schematic cross section of an alternate implementation of the window of FIGS. 1-4 in which an alternate distortion induction method is used.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The description that follows and the accompanying FIGS. deal with a picture window, but many other types of windows can use embodiments, including, but not limited to, casement windows, double-hung windows, sliding glass doors, French doors and windows, and louvered windows. Further, while the description and FIGS. deal with double pane windows, triple and other multi-pane windows can employ embodiments, and even single pane windows can employ aspects of embodiments.

Beginning with FIGS. 1 and 2, embodiments are employed in a window 10 with a frame 11 and a casing 12, and preferably including at least two panes 13, 14. The panes are preferably glass, but can be plastic or any other suitable material. Further, not all of the panes need be of the same material(s). Embodiments incorporate a semi-reflective material 15, such as metallic coated Mylar® or acetate, that is imbued with a distortion so as to confuse the apparent reflected image, while leaving the transmission characteristics essentially unaffected. For example, the material 15 can be intentionally distorted, warped, or embossed, or otherwise imbued with an image confusing distortion or the like. Preferably, the material 15 takes the form of a thin layer of material hung between the panes 13, 14 or applied to one of the panes 13, 14. When employed in the typical situation where external illumination is significantly greater than inside ambient light level, outward viewing is transmission dominated, while the view from the exterior would seem mostly reflective. Confounding or confusing the reflected image breaks up any natural scene that might be seen from an exterior of a building in which the window 10 is installed, which can prevent wildlife from inadvertently interpreting the window as an open passage. Embodiments could also be useful in architectural situations where intense non-diffused reflections are undesirable, or in such applications as “one-way” security mirrors.

A particular example according to embodiments, as seen in FIGS. 2-4, includes the semi-reflective material 15 in the form of a membrane or film suspended between two separated window panes 13, 14, effectively forming a triple glazing. Standard glass panes can be mounted in the frame 11 or the casing 12 about, for example, 20 millimeters apart, while the material 15 can be hung between the two panes 13, 14 or otherwise attached to the casing 12 between the two panes.

With regard to the coating, deposition of a material, such as chrome or silver, on some optically desirable material, such as a glass pane or a plastic film like Mylars, acetate, or the like, would likely be appropriate. Thinner films or materials will likely work better and should preferably provide about equal transmission and reflection; some absorption loss may occur, likely on the order of about 30%. Multi-layer coatings are also contemplated in embodiments inasmuch as they can be more efficient and can offer colored films. Additionally, chemical treatments of the optical material, as well as sprayed on coatings, might be used.

To achieve the desired reflection confusing or altering effect, the material 15 is imbued with a distortion 16, such as a wavy distortion. One way to effect the distortion 16 is to treat the material 15 so that is has a “natural” set or warping that causes it to hold a wavy surface when suspended. For example, embossing, crinkling, or otherwise imposing a shape memory into the material 15. Alternatively, the material can be wrapped over a plurality of rods 60 or the like, such as dowel pins, along the sides of the frame, as seen, for example, in FIG. 6. For example, 10 mm diameter dowel pins can be arranged on 20 mm centers to create membrane waves with a 40 mm period and 10 mm amplitude, which would tend to appear like a series of odd-looking horizontal bars. Additional embodiments can employ a warped pattern embossed in the film to distort the reflected imagery, where various patterns or textures or diffusive characteristics could be offered.

The particular pattern or distortion used can vary as desired and will have an aesthetic variable in the decision. “Wavy lines” are easy to implement and suffice, but a circular pattern or distortion, such as that shown in FIG. 5, may be preferred by others, and other, more intricate patterns or distortions could be used, too.

In embodiments, it is also advantageous to tint the internal transparent window pane. Such tinting can reduce the reflective properties of the glass when viewing from inside outward, since reflected light would have to pass through the attenuating tint twice, compared to once for the transmitted light, thereby effectively reducing the reflective appearance. Other typical anti-reflection methods can also be employed, such as a circular-polarizing anti-reflection film, which would nearly eliminate the inside reflective component. Additionally, standard anti-reflection coatings on the flat glass surfaces can also reduce the unwanted specular reflections from treated flat transparent surfaces, although the warped semi-reflective component would tend to overwhelm such reflections. Such circular-polarizing and other anti-reflective films and/or coatings can be had from many vendors, such as American Polarizers, Inc., of Reading, Pa.

Alternative embodiments can employ the semi-reflective plastic film as a window shade, such as Roman blinds, a zigzag or fan-fold form, or a wavy form like ribbon candy pierced by cords, which could be retractable like typical accessory shades for standard windows. In such embodiments, a typical roll shade would also be possible, if the material is made to automatically assume a non-flat profile. An example of an embodiment employing a folding film is seen in FIGS. 4 and 5. The reflection disruptive material 15 is affixed at its top edge to the casing 12 or frame 11. A folding system 30 includes a line 31 extending from the exterior of the window 10 over a pulley 32 through the material 15 to a batten 33. The batten 33 in the bottom edge of the material to serves as a downward biasing element as well as an attachment point for the line 31. By pulling the line 31, the batten 33 rises, folding the material 15 up out of the way—substantially out of interposition between the panes 13, 14 as seen in FIG. 5.

Embodiments could further use a distorting semi-reflective surface embedded within a glass or plastic window pane, or even a composite structure such as safety glass. With the external surfaces flat and the index of refraction constant, the transmitted imaging would be optically faithful, while reflection off the embedded layer would be intentionally confused. Such an embedded layer could be achieved, for example, by forming one of the panes 13, 14 as a composite pane having end portions and the middle embedded layer. The end portions would each have a planar surface and complementary wavy surfaces. One of the wavy surfaces would support the embedded layer, as by static, gluing, coating, or the like. The other wavy surface would then be affixed, yielding a composite pane with two planar surfaces and a semi-reflective embedded layer.

The claims, as originally presented and as they may be amended, encompass variations, alternatives, modifications, improvements, equivalents, and substantial equivalents of the embodiments and teachings disclosed herein, including those that are presently unforeseen or unappreciated, and that, for example, may arise from applicants/patentees and others.