Jim Devine believes in the power of plastics.
The native Irishman, now a resident of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., is peddling a framing system whose primary material is PVC film. The framing system is used to insulate existing windows in historical homes, commercial structures and municipal buildings.
It's a market traditionally untargeted by plastics. Now, Devine's firm, Windo-Therm LLC, has doubled its space in Hoosick Falls to 6,000 square feet, including extra space for assembly and staging.
The company, which employs six, also is working with two parties interested in forming joint ventures in Europe and Canada.
Stateside, Devine said, two major heating companies are interested in the technology, which can triple the insulation value of windows, offering an alternative to replacement windows.
The system, marketed as Windo-Therm, is patented in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the United States. It uses an aluminum frame mounted on the indoor side of an existing window or sliding door. Weatherstripping seals the window to eliminate drafts and create a thermal barrier.
It's not a permanent system, but it can be, Devine said, keeping structures cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Devine said the product beats requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program.
Windo-Therm gets its film from an outside vendor. It handles assembly in its facility.
Windo-Therm is listed as a business partner in the Department of Energy's Rebuild America program. The program highlights companies that save energy and improve building performance.
The panels have been installed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Devine uses PVC film designed for clarity and long life.
``There have been tremendous obstacles, including people's perception of plastics,'' Devine said in a May 27 telephone interview.
``But I step out there, I'll go into a room, I'll show them a panel against a window of light, and it's more clear than their glass window.
``It's stronger, lighter and a better insulator than glass. ... We know we have to overcome this mental block that plastic brings to mind,'' he said.
``The truth is, it takes a while to get to prove yourself. How do you reprogram the minds of people who are used to windows being glass?''