Business Notes

Storms Inspired the PolyWin Protector Window Panel

By MARIA SCANDALE | Nov 28, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

A Ship Bottom couple invented a protective panel for windows that homeowners can install for high-impact-rated resistance at a lower cost than existing hurricane windows, and is more practical than nailing on plywood. Diane and Gerard Buonpane say the patented Polywin Protector was “developed by homeowners for homeowners.”

That’s a reference to the role storms played in its creation. The couple lost their home to Superstorm Sandy; the next year they got the idea for the protective window panel when another storm threatened the coast with high winds.

“It’s made of two different types of plastic, and what it does is protect glass from breaking or shattering from flying debris in high-velocity windstorms,” summarized Gerard Buonpane. “It can also be used against unwanted forced entry, for protecting homes from people trying to get in through the garage or at ground level.”

The lightweight panel consists of solid and multi-wall polycarbonate combined. It is designed for double-hung tilt wash windows.

The difference between this polycarbonate panel and others out there, said Buonpane, who is a pharmacist by trade, “is that this panel gets installed from the inside of the house.”

“It goes into screen tracks, and then there’s a strapping system that wraps around the upper sash and a strapping system that wraps around the lower sash, and you can fasten these straps on the inside of the home,” he explained.

“Once you do that, the panel has withstood a pressure load – what they call structure load testing – up to the equivalent of 150 mile-per-hour winds, without any cracking or breaking or any dissociation of any kind.”

The product to prevent window glass from shattering is marketed as an alternative that its developers estimate will cost an average of one-third less than hurricane-rated windows, which are no longer mandated in new construction in New Jersey.

“For people who could not afford to buy hurricane-resistant windows, this panel is a more cost-effective option,” Buonpane said.

Diane Buonpane was watching the weather forecast in October 2013 when she realized the windows they had in their rebuilt house would not stand up to what was forecast. After they had experienced the effects of Sandy, the outlook against a doubled wind was foreboding.

“It was almost a year to the day, and I remember lying in bed saying, ‘I am not going to go through this again. I do not think these windows are strong enough,’” she said. “So I said to him, ‘We need something that we can do ourselves, not rely on people to do for us.”

They had not been able to find a contractor to come out and nail on plywood in time, and they did not want the issue of later removal and repairs anyway.

They started discussing ideas – he said it would need to go in like a screen. “So I had the initial idea of it, and he took it and ran with the technical part of it,” Diane said. “Finding the plastics, figuring out how to put these two plastic products together, and then we did research on the strapping and the buckles. He found a fabricator in Central Jersey so everything would be made here locally.”

Testing was done at a certified testing lab in York, Pa., where national and international testing is done for window manufacturers and for government entities such as Miami-Dade County.

The panels withstood uniform positive and negative structure load tests of 57.6 pounds per square foot, the equivalent of 150 mph winds, without cracking, breaking or dissociation of any kind.

External positive wind pressure (outside to inside) causes windows to shatter and allows internal negative wind pressure (inside to outside) to push on walls and roof systems.

PolyWin Protector is expected to be on the market for orders next year.

“We received the patent in September, and right now we are working with our fabricator on costing out window sizes and looking at manufacturing to begin in 2019,” Buonpane said.

“It’s a brand-new product; we have just started talking to most of the architects and builders on the Island to make them aware of it.”

The couple have been year-round Ship Bottom residents for the past eight years and have been coming to LBI since the 1990s.

A website will be operative by spring, complete with a video showing simple installation of PolyWin Protector. To contact the developers, phone 732-841-0019 or email 






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