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3X Better Insulation: INOVUES Upfits Fixed & Operable Windows at The University of Minnesota

Discover how the University of Minnesota (UMN) Facilities Management Building achieved both energy savings and enhanced occupant comfort by partnering with INOVUES. Implementing our groundbreaking non-invasive window retrofit technology, UMN successfully upcycled their outdated windows, resulting in zero waste and improvements in energy efficiency and comfort.

summary of UMN retrofit results

Re-Energizing Operable Windows

Challenge: UMN's building portfolio consists of numerous structures with single-glazed windows, leading to energy loss and discomfort for occupants. Seeking sustainable solutions, UMN partnered with Grid Catalyst and INOVUES to explore new technologies and opportunities for advancement of its sustainability and decarbonization goals.

“The University of Minnesota and 3M were tremendous pilot hosts for the partnership with INOVUES, with both demonstrating their commitment to building efficiency and advancing smart, effective, and lower impact solutions to reduce carbon. We are proud to have such a stellar startup as part of our cohorts and adding to the innovation ecosystem in Minnesota" — Nina Axelson, Founder, Grid Catalyst

Retrofitted UMN building from the interior
University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Facilities Management Building 379 features original 1960s-era fixed and operable steel windows that are single-glazed. As many as 40% of all buildings today are still single-glazed; new buildings are designed with double and triple glazing for improved insulation.

Solution: INOVUES introduced our patented Insulating Glass Retrofit (IGR) system, applied from the interior of UMN operable and fixed windows without removing, replacing, drilling or altering any existing components. The revolutionary non-invasive retrofit technology significantly improves the thermal and acoustic performance of existing windows. It upgrades windows in place, eliminating the need for costly and disruptive demolition, abatements, and replacement.

demonstration of operable window with INOVUES retrofit
INOVUES transformed both fixed and operable single-glazed windows into double-glazed, using its patented Insulated Glass Retrofit (IGR) system. The system was applied from the interior of the building to maintain the operable window functionality.

“As seasoned installers, working with INOVUES' retrofit system has been a particularly rewarding experience. It brings a new perspective on how to enhance façade energy efficiency without messy and disruptive demolition. The INOVUES team was also with us every step of the way to help us overcome any challenges efficiently and effectively.” — Eric Jones, Project Manager, W. L. Hall

Benefits that Matter: A Transformation Like No Other

Improved Energy Efficiency: UMN's project marked the first-ever implementation of INOVUES' patented IGR technology on operable windows. It is also the first IGR application from the interior of the building (IGR are traditionally installed from the exterior). By transforming existing single-glazed steel-framed windows into Low-E coated, double-glazed windows, the retrofit tripled the insulating value of the glass and roughly doubled the performance of the entire window assembly. The effortless upfit was installed by W. L. Hall and resulted in reduced heating and cooling loads and the associated energy savings for the University.

Enhanced Occupant Comfort: The added glass lite with a Low-E thermal performance coating and the creation of an insulating air cavity through INOVUES’ IGR system deliver a more consistent and comfortable interior temperature and attenuate exterior noise.

Thermal Imaging Analysis: A 19° Difference

thermal imaging of INOVUES retrofit shows dramatic improvement
Infrared (IR) images show a 19°F temperature difference between the retrofitted window on the bottom (60.9°F) and the colder original window on the top (41.9°F). The retrofitted window is closer to the recommended thermostat set point of 68°F (per This demonstrates it is significantly better at reducing heat loss.

Sustainable Upfit: INOVUES' solution eliminates waste by reusing existing frames and glazing, minimizing material use by approximately 70% compared to window replacements. This results in significant embodied carbon savings and avoids the costs and risks associated with demolition, abatements, and materials disposal.

Financial Upside: UMN achieved improved energy efficiency at a fraction of the cost of full window replacements. INOVUES' solution offers comparable performance at approximately 30% of the price, delivering substantial financial benefits for organizations seeking cost-effective sustainable solutions.

Experience the Difference: University of Minnesota's Success Story

UMN's Facilities Management Building served as a demonstration project, showcasing the exceptional performance and benefits of INOVUES' retrofit technology. It enabled the university facilities team to witness firsthand the installation process and the resulting significant improvement in thermal insulation, efficiency, and indoor comfort.

"INOVUES has been an outstanding demonstration of what's possible when we create market pathways and partnerships for innovative technologies, particularly those that can decarbonize, improve buildings, and be resilient in our northern climate." — Nina Axelson, Grid Catalyst

The project resulted from the collaboration between UMN and Grid Catalyst, a leading climate tech accelerator, which introduced the university’s sustainability office to the innovative INOVUES climate technology.

“We want to keep more heat in the building during the cold winter months, and the number of options in that space is limited. We were really excited to learn about this retrofit technology and to have the opportunity to test it on our campus.” — Shane Stennes, Chief Sustainability Officer, University of Minnesota

Take Action: The Path to a Sustainable Future

40% of global CO2 emissions come from the built environment. Nearly 70% of all existing buildings have thermally inefficient windows, including 40% single-glazed windows, resulting in tens of billions of dollars in energy loss per year. The energy reduction and occupant comfort benefits of façade upgrades are irrefutable, but historically, they have been too costly and disruptive to contemplate.

thermal image showing heat loss from NYC skyline
NYC Skyline IR Photo © Tyrone Turner

INOVUES provides the only non-invasive retrofit solution in its class, which can transform existing facades to the latest energy-saving and smart-glass innovations without removal, replacement, or disruption. The patented technology has been featured in Forbes and Bill Gates' 2021 Breakthrough Energy Climate Action Playbook.

Drawing of INOVUES retrofit system - before and after
Patented non-invasive Insulating Glass Retrofit (IGR) system - before and after

INOVUES' high-ROI, low-carbon, multi-award-winning solutions address the twin energy and real estate crises by helping building owners save up to 40% on energy consumption, improve indoor thermal and acoustical comfort, and increase the value of building assets.

Join the growing community of organizations committed to sustainable buildings. Embrace the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and costs, while providing a better environment for your occupants.

Contact us today to start your journey towards energy efficiency, electrification, and decarbonization: 833-466-8837 (833-INO-VUES),


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