Industry Expresses Hope for New Government Energy Programs

December 18, 2009

Following a December 15 speech by President Obama detailing the need for nationwide energy-efficient home improvements, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association says it has high expectations that a newly-proposed government program will encourage consumers to invest in energy-efficient windows by applying appropriate criteria for these products.

"Moving forward, we see a need for additional tax incentives that are easily understandable and mutually beneficial to both manufacturers and consumers," says Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO. "Making energy-efficient retrofits and home improvements more affordable will encourage consumers to invest in changes that can help save money by cutting energy costs in the home."

Walker continues, "The legislation could boost sales for AAMA members if the appropriate parameters and homeowner incentives are established along with considerations for regional differences. Encouraging the purchase and usage of energy-efficient products also helps promote growth and rebound within the building industry and the economy as a whole. As the President said during his speech, 'energy efficiency is a perfect example of…a win-win.'"

The proposed program would not only apply to purchases of energy-efficient windows but also investments in improvements such as caulking air leaks, adding insulation and installing more efficient heating and cooling equipment in the home.

Mark Savan, president and COO of Simonton Windows and an AAMA member, was one of four industry leaders invited to a lunch with the President the same day as his speech at a Home Depot in Alexandria, Va. Savan says he stressed to President Obama the strong influence windows have in improving a home's energy efficiency. "There are not a lot of other products that will increase energy efficiency more than windows," he told the President.

“This was an exceptional opportunity to have a productive interaction with the President on the need for more energy-efficient products and homes in America,” Savan continues. “President Obama is clearly dedicated to the goal of energy-efficiency in America. He was eager to discuss programs and procedures that would help Americans make their homes more energy efficient.

“Additionally, we talked about the challenge of adding potential incentives that would rally homeowners to adopt energy-saving technologies and products. I was sincerely impressed by the President’s eagerness to gain a greater understanding of the issues related to energy from the people gathered in the room. From all indications, he will use yesterday’s meeting to support strong initiatives to make homes and buildings more energy-efficient in the future.”

Simonton strongly supports pending legislation that would shift the federal tax credit for windows and doors from the .30/.30 requirement to align with the newly-introduced 2010 Energy Star standards, Savan points out. “The shift of the tax credit from the artificial criteria established in the stimulus bill to the newest Energy Star label would help build on the success of the tax credit by providing consumers with the most energy-efficient window based on their particular home and the climate they live in,” he says. “At Simonton, we believe this legislation would be a positive step toward making it simpler for more Americans to participate in the federal energy tax credit program in 2010.”

According to Savan, the President is extremely interested in finding solutions that will put more people to work in our country while making homes more energy-efficient. “I believe the varied input from everyone at the meeting has helped provide President Obama with additional insights into both the manufacturer's viewpoints and the homeowner’s perspectives when it comes to energy-related home improvements.”