Remember how annoying it was when your neighbor blasted Katy Perry at 3 a.m.? Now just imagine if his windows were literally melting the side of your house off. Low-E insulating window panes look like they're doing just that.

The incredible Low-E technology imbues glass with insulating properties on par with a thick brick wall, thanks to a thin vacuum layer between panes. This manages to save homeowners a nice chunk of change on heating bills. But what else does Low-E do? It looks like it might be concentrating sunlight like big magnifying glass, reflecting scorching heat toward neighboring properties and causing serious damage to vinyl siding.

A local news report out of Boston has highlighted the problem, interviewing shocked residents now faced with expensive repair jobs. An employee of Infrared New England, a thermal imaging firm, observed "this looks like someone took a blow torch to it," adding that "we had temperatures that were 248 degrees Fahrenheit." Ouch!

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Inhabitat argues that the Low-E coating isn't to blame, but rather the curvature of replacement windows, which these days are pervasively of the high-efficiency variety. At any rate, it's probably only a matter of time until infuriated neighbors begin a passive aggressive arms race, placing mirror shields between their homes in what will surely end in the fiery destruction of the Greater Boston area. [ArchPaper via Inhabitat]