Are You Satisfied with the Energy Star Version 6.0?

John G. Swanson
August 6, 2013
THE TALK... | Codes & Standards, Energy Efficiency

Version 6.0 of the Energy Star criteria for windows, doors and skylights is nearly finalized.  And some manufacturers are still disappointed with the numbers, particulary for the Northern climate zone.  There, a .27 U-factor requirement for windows could force some companies to go to triple-glazing, which many see as a less than cost-effective option.  

"Consumers expect to recoup the cost of Energy Star labeled products through energy savings in a reasonable period and they doubt the efficiency of products without the label," says Michael O'Brien, CEO of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. "Version 6.0 takes away reasonable payback periods for much of the country and will strip the Energy Star label from affordable energy efficient products that do offer a fair payback period."

Not all the industry would agree.  In 2012, our weekly poll asked what people thought of the first draft of Version 6.0. The majority of respondents actually suggested the numbers could have been more stringent.  So with EPA nearly ready to make a final decision, I thought we should poll readers about the new criteria one more time.  And, of course, we'd like to hear from you too.  Do the new numbers make sense?  Are you satisfied with the EPA process?  What would you like to see in Version 7.0?   Post a comment or email me and share your thoughts.

Survey Results as of 08/13/2013 :

What do you think of EPA's Energy Star Version 6.0 criteria?

They should have been more stringent.





They are too stringent.





They are just about right.





While survey respondents are relatively split as to whether or not the Energy Star 6.0 criteria is too stringent or not stringent enough, one respondent says the question doesn't go the heart of the issue.

"The problem is that, as industry professionals trying to deliver value to our customers, we all want to offer Energy Star windows with good payback. If this was the case, almost all windows would be Energy Star qualified," he said. " Energy Star doesn't care about payback. Also, Energy Star doesn't want us all to offer Energy Star windows! They want around 25 percent of all windows sold to qualify for their label. 

They will continue to raise the bar until enough manufacturers drop out, or are only able to sell some Energy Star-qualified windows to get the total market saturation close to 25 percent. On this basis, the issue of stringency isn't all that relevant."

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