What Will Qualify?

Christina Lewellen
February 20, 2009
FEATURE ARTICLE | Sales & Marketing, Energy Efficiency

The tax credits included in President Obama's stimulus bill are causing quite a stir in the window and door industry. While most industry representatives are pleased with the $1,500 cap—as opposed to the previous tax credits of $200 for qualifying windows and $500 for qualifying doors—many are expressing concern about the wording of what products will qualify.

The wording of the stimulus bill (seen on pages 44-45 of this PDF) says qualifying windows, doors and skylights must have "equal to or below a U factor of 0.30 and SHGC of 0.30." This information is also outlined in a chart format on Energy Star's Web site; the program highlights that not all Energy Star-qualified products will qualify for the stimulus bill credits.

In response to this week's "Talk..." topic, many readers have voiced concern about whether the stimulus presents too high a bar to jump. One reader in Florida writes, "I don’t know about the rest of the nation but I am hard-pressed to find a window that achieves a .30 for U value, and if I do find it, $1500  might buy two or three of them. You will be forced to use multi-chambered PVC, fiberglass, or wood windows, low-E [glass packages] with super ultra extra special warm-edge spacers. And only the top performers of these will meet the .30 or lower U value."

Still, others believe the higher competitive hurdle will be good for business and are prepared to use to tax incentive to boost sales. "At our company, we believe that the tax credits will work," says a representative of an Ohio-based manufacturer. "We sell a higher-end product featuring triple glass with great warranties. The tax credit will enhance our presentation that better windows will help save the world. Now the government is helping you decide on windows that will not be obsolete in 2012."

If you'd like to offer your opinion about the stimulus bill, please see this week's Talk...

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.