Are You Ready for New Energy Star Criteria?

John G. Swanson
January 12, 2010
THE TALK... | Codes & Standards

Survey Results for 01/13/2010:

With the new Energy Star criteria in effect, my company is:

100 percent changed over.




not planning to carry the new label.




still in process, but we'll be ready by end of transition period.




probably not going to be ready by the transition deadline.




It looks like the vast majority of companies planning to be involved with Energy Star products carrying the new labels expect to be set in time for the deadline.  More than half of that group is 100 percent changed over, it appears, and another large percentage said they'd be there. 

"We were ready for the transition at the first of the year in order to allow us the time to prepare for the new Canada Energy Star criteria that will take effect this summer," reports Kyle Hendren, director of marketing at Amsco Windows.  "I would say the Federal tax credit has taken a priority over Energy Star criteria with consumers. Our customers are asking more about whether our products meet the tax credit than if they meet any Energy Star qualifications. Until the Federal tax credit runs it course through this year, I don't think you'll see Energy Star qualified products as the driving decision for consumers. They are seeking the Federal tax credit first and foremost."

Hendren agrees with numerous other manufacturers—as well as the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association—in suggesting any future tax legislation be tied directly to Energy Star criteria. "The one-size-fits-all .30/.30 criteria of the 2009-2010 Federal tax credit didn't take into account the disparate needs of the different climate regions of the nation," he explains. 

Like many of us also, he's not clear on what the shift of the Energy Star windows, doors and skylights program from DOE responsibility to EPA will mean. On that issue, he's taking a "wait and see approach."

It seems, in some ways, that what much of the industry is doing.  In the past, Energy Star was a topic many in the industry used to comment on when we discussed it in the Talk.  It did not generate much response this week.  It wasn't too long ago–2008 to be exact–that there was siginificant debate about what the exact criteria should be for 2010 and we even talked about proposals for 2013 or 2014.  I understand the flaws of the tax credit criteria, but it is interesting to me that as an industry, we seem almost nostalgic now, as we ask legislators to bring Energy Star back. 

I haven't heard much talk at all about what the next set of numbers should like like (or what year manufacturers will have to deliver them).  We should continue to pay attention however.  Energy Star is likely to rise again as the benchmark for energy performance.  And I suspect, while the industry appears to be transitioning to the 2010 criteria fairly smoothly, we could see numbers again in the future that will be challenging.

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