What Do You Think of New Energy Star Criteria?
We know a little more about what the Environmental Protection Agency is thinking about the next set of Energy Star criteria, tentatively set to take effect in fall 2013. It issued a document last week, indicating U-value and SHGC performance levels it was considering for windows, doors and skylights.
What stood out for me is an apparent EPA decision not to go for an R-5 level of performance touted recently by the Department of Energy program, not even in the Northern climate zone. EPA does not seem to be pushing for triple glazing within Energy Star at this point in time. There is a significantly more stringent U-factor requirement for the Southern climate zone, but that number is in the 2012 IECC for that region already. Of course, there are some other important changes–notably air leakage rating and installation instruction requirements–with details still to be worked out.
With this week's poll, we want to know what you think of the proposals. Is EPA being too stringent with the new criteria? Should it raise the bar higher? What specific changes do you like? What don't you like. EPA issued its document to get feedback and we want to hear from you too, so email me or post your comment and let us know what you think.
Survey Results as of 10/24/2011:
EPA's proposals for the 2013 Energy Star criteria:
Are too stringent
Seem just about right
Should be more stringent
It would seem the industry has a divided opinion on the new Energy Star criteria proposals. Nearly half of our respondents see them as too stringent, but nearly a quarter of our respondents think they could be tougher. And nearly a third see EPA as "just about right."
One reader who voted that way was David Steele of the Window Gallery, a dealer based in Georgia and active member in the Window & Door Dealers Alliance. "The proposed standards are tough, but I suspect we can get there without unwarranted cost," he states. He favors EPA's decision not to push for triple-pane glazing. "It has its place, but it generally adds too much weight and, in my view, triple-pane windows will have high life cycle costs and will degrade our efforts to promote sustainability. High upfront cost, exponentially higher seal failure and increased maintenance cost off-set any gains triple pane offer in most regions," he writes. "I personally wish the standards were a bit tougher on the SHGC side."
Our other responses make clear that even if they don't necessarily require triple-pane glass, the new numbers could create challenges. Yes, many manufacturers will be able to meet them, but others are not ready yet. And given the current economic climate, it is not an easy time for manufacturers to make investments in upgrades.
Such arguments to seem to carry more weight in Washington these days. But in this case it seems likely that at least a portion of the industry will support EPA's efforts to strengthen Energy Star. It will be an interesting debate to watch unfold.