New Document Examines Potential Energy Star Revisions

March 9, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a summary of comments to its initial proposals for changes in the criteria for the Energy Star windows, doors and skylight program. In a letter to stakeholders, the agency also released a revised timeline for changes to program requirements, setting a new January 2014 effective date for the new criteria.

EPA issued its initial proposals for new Energy Star criteria in a "Framework Document" last fall. The new summary document suggests divided opinions among stakeholders in a number of areas. In the area of U-factor requirements, for example, EPA reports "While several stakeholders felt that the proposed specifications are achievable and reasonable, others felt the criteria were too aggressive. Still others felt the criteria could/should be more aggressive."

Requirements for structual testing and certification were not part of EPA's initial proposals for changes in the Energy Star program, due in part to "concerns that requiring NAFS certification at this time may result in a backlog at labs and inundation of AAMA and WDMA resources." The new summary document, however, highlights comments from stakeholders supportive of such requirements, who also provided information on other independent sources for such testing and certification. "In light of the additional information EPA has received regarding the number of agencies certifying structural performance, EPA plans to take a closer look at the possibility of including a structural requirement in the draft criteria," it now states.

The summary document outlines comments received by EPA in numerous areas, such as new air leakage criteria, requirements for manufacturers to provide installation instructions, and door performance  

The next step in the process for EPA is further analysis and the issuing of the Draft 1 Criteria and Analysis Report, expected to be out later this summer, according to the stakeholder letter written by Douglas W. Anderson, EPA's Energy Star program manager.  After that document is released, there will be a second comment period and EPA will host a stakeholder meeting. 

A second draft is planned for year end, with the final criteria to be announced in March 2013.