AAMA Seeks Delay in Implementation of New Energy Star Criteria

April 1, 2009

Citing the weak market and the new tax credit criteria for windows and doors, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association is asking the U.S. Department of Energy to delay implementation of new criteria for the Energy Star program for windows.  In submitting comments on the latest DOE criteria, AAMA has also asked for a number of other changes based on input from its membership.  

According to Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has played a significant role in influencing the parameters of the new criteria. As a result, AAMA members are concerned about timing of the new criteria, and when polled, asked to delay the implementation date. "Due to severe economic conditions and confusion with the stimulus tax credit, there is consensus that the implementation should be delayed until the tax credit is out of play," explains Walker.

In a letter submitted March 25, AAMA encouraged DOE to consider changing the criteria to include three climate zones instead of four; align window solar heat gain coefficient for Climate Zone 1 with the tax credit for doors and skylights at a value of 0.30; and consider all doors to be in the same category, regardless of their operation.

In addition, AAMA requested a U-factor stretch of 0.03 for high altitude applications, where a breather tube may negate the thermal performance improvements provided by inert gas fill. For the Northern Zone, the association recommended that the alternative SHGC trade off criteria (≥0.40) for a U-factor of 0.32 be reduced to a SHGC of ≥0.20 or ≥0.25 to allow for the use of higher-performing glass that is currently available.

AAMA members within the commercial segment of the market have also expressed concerns about the changes. Manufacturers of primarily commercial, storefront and curtain wall fenestration prefer multiple disclaimers associated with the criteria to specifically explain that it is residential criteria and that it does not apply to nonresidential applications.

"AAMA members recognize that the Energy Star for Windows program is a very effective vehicle for easy identification and understanding of energy-efficient products by the consumer. Our members are unanimous in their support of the more interactive approach which encourages input from all industry stakeholders, clarifies DOE's goals and clearly fosters a cooperative effort," says Walker.

AAMA credits the DOE for its ongoing efforts to include the industry in the development of Energy Star criteria and in particular to revisions made to the previous proposed criteria as a result of stakeholder feedback. AAMA members understand the fine balance between the promotion of superior energy performance, technology incentives and providing a logical purchase option for the consumer, Walker adds, noting "We believe that continued active participation between AAMA and DOE will yield the best program possible." 

DOE issued its final draft for new Energy Star critieria on March 11.  Following a two-week review and comment period from the public, DOE set a goal to finalize the criteria by April 3. The new critieria are scheduled to go in effect January 1, 2010.