Will the economic stimulus package help the industry?

Christina Lewellen
February 18, 2009
THE TALK... | Sales & Marketing, Energy Efficiency

Survey Results for 02/18/2009:

I think the economic stimulus bill will impact the window and door industry:

Neutrally—the credit may help but there are confidence and financing issues to resolve too

  

 

44%

Positively—the bigger tax credit will help boost sales

  

 

30%

Negatively—this credit is unlikely to get things moving

  

 

26%

 

 

First of all, I apologize for any confusion we may have caused with wording that Energy Star products would qualify for the tax credits. The initial bills in the House and Senate included such language but the actual wording of the final bill compromise bill that was signed into law states that, in order to qualify for the incentive, windows, doors and skylights will need to have a u-factor at 0.30 or below and SHGC at 0.30 or below. These numbers stir up some pretty polarized opinions in this industry:

 

"The original proposal for this bill was to have any windows that met Energy Star qualifications be eligible for the revised tax credit. In the eleventh hour, this was changed to a minimum of 0.30 U-factor and 0.30 SHGC. This immediately excluded many windows and manufacturers from offering the new tax credit. More importantly, it rendered many years of research by the DOE on the Energy Star program worthless as it now shows total disregard for the climate zones in the ES program and their respective performance requirements. We now have a 'one size fits all' requirement for SHGC and U-factor. What type of performance can be expected by window with a SHGC of 0.30 in North Dakota, where passive solar gain is important and certainly a low solar gain glass is not needed?? This will indeed inhibit performance and fuel savings for the northern climates.
"It also totally eliminated all aluminum windows from obtaining this tax credit as the 0.30 U-factor is out of reach. We all know that in hot climates, where solar gain is more important than conductive heat transfer, improving the insulating value of the frame material can be much less important than using a higher performance glazing system.
"This tax credit requirement needs to be re-visited and re-worked as it now shows total disregard to the existing ES climate zone map and their performance requirements. There will be job losses as a result of this new bill that was rushed into law and fewer new jobs will result because of this poorly thought-out standard."

"At our company, we believe that the tax credits will work. 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. What we are most excited about though is that many of our competitors will raise their prices, (which also means that they may not be closing so often). Higher prices are always the result of tax credits."

"Finally, all the people selling price, not quality, will have to step up or get out."

"We found out this morning that the rebate is for the cost of the products only and installation is not included. Most contractors do not provide line item invoices and justifiably so. Now they will be pressured to do that in some fashion for homeowners to get their maximum rebate.
It would be helpful to all of us in the industry to fully understand and be able to fully communicate the exact parameters of this rebate program."

"The bar is set too high. U-factor for a window .30!! "It sounds like the same idea for the auto industry with the 35-mpg standard. It is set too high for the current economic situation. Maybe the government should take a look at the industry and see what is out there; But then again, it is the government we are talking about. They shouldn’t make a standard on a window that does not exist."

"I received an attachment today that took all of the wind out of my sails--or do I spell that sales (sorry)! The way I read the window and door requirement is that they meet a U-value of .30 and a SHGC of .30. I don’t know about the rest of the nation, but I am hard pressed [in Florida] 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."

"It will help our industry if and when credit is flowing back into the system."

"I’m sorry to say I don’t think the incentives in the stimulus package will have much if any effect considering that the package is generally anti-business and does very little to reduce taxes. The net result is more people will be out of work for a longer period of time and people will not be spending money on their home maintenance/upgrades like they ordinarily would have, even if they are still working."

"A 30 percent credit at a maximum of $1,500 is an improvement over the past energy credit. However, to achieve the maximum credit of $1,500 only requires a $5,000 energy home improvement.

"This is not a large amount considering the cost of a new furnace, insulation and door window replacement will probably average twice that amount."

 

With additional thoughts or comments, please send me an email.

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

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