Members of Congress Urge Reexamination of New Energy Star Criteria

April 18, 2013

The Window & Door Manufacturers Association is applauding a bipartisan group of 23 members of Congress who have requested that the Obama Administration "reexamine the proposed Energy Star specifications for windows, doors, and skylights to ensure that they are consistent with the guiding principles of the program."  

Currently being finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency, Version 6 of the criteria is set to take effect early next year.  WDMA and others within the industry have expressed concerns about new U-value requirements for the Northern part of the country that might require some manufacturers to use triple-glazing or other higher-cost technologies. 

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) drafted and circulated a letter to President Obama expressing the concerns about the upcoming changes in Energy Star. It was co-signed by members of Congress from across the country, including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Billy Long (R-Mo.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), and Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

"Historically, this program has been guided by a balance of energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and product performance," the letter states.  "If the Energy Star program moves to a standard that fails to properly consider cost-effectiveness as criteria, we are concerned that the result could be significant cost increases, longer payback periods, and a missed opportunity to capture energy savings."

Pointing to concern for the Energy Star's continued viability, the letter continues: "We believe the new standards under development ... fail to consider the cost-benefit ratio and payback period for consumers. In short, the proposed standards would remove the economic incentive for consumers to purchase energy efficient products."

"The Energy Star program enjoys the support of consumers, retailers, and manufacturers," says Michael O'Brien, WDMA CEO. "We're glad that a bipartisan group of leaders in the U.S. Congress share our concerns and are urging the Obama Administration to take a step back and fully understand the impact these proposed changes could have on the Energy Star program."

Over the past two decades, the Energy Star program has helped save consumers and businesses nearly $230 billion on utility bills and have prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, O'Brien continues. "Our members want to continue their partnership with the successful Energy Star program, and we don't believe the program can continue to succeed if a reasonable payback period is no longer a factor in deciding which windows, doors, and skylights qualify for the Energy Star label."