New Campaign Opposes Energy Star Version 6

Window & Door
April 15, 2013

The Coalition for Home Energy Efficiency, formed by industry manufacturers and others, is launching a consumer education campaign this week focused on a petition to the President and Congress opposing "proposed changes to the Energy Star program that would price Energy Star-rated windows and skylights out of reach for average consumers and make affordable energy-efficient options harder to identify."  The petition, which has received more than 15,000 signatures, says the proposed version 6.0 of the Energy Star criteria for windows, doors, and skylights, tentatively set to go in effect in early 2014, breaks with the mission of the program.

"Rather than offering cost-effective energy efficient options for consumers, the proposed new Energy Star standards would increase the cost of efficient products too much," the petition states. "As a result, in most parts of the U.S., it would take consumers many years to recoup their investment and begin seeing real cost savings."

"The Energy Star program enjoys the support of consumers, retailers, and manufacturers," says Michael O'Brien, CEO of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. "We think it's worth saving, and that's why our association is supporting the Coalition's efforts."

WDMA members are united in their concern about an apparent change in direction for the Energy Star program away from identifying cost-effective energy efficient products for a broad consumer market, he continues.

According to the coalition website, the proposed version 6 criteria would change required energy performance ratings for windows and skylights in large parts of the country, making triple-paned products or the use of expensive technologies the most viable ways for manufacturers to qualify for the Energy Star label.  Now, it states, most Energy Star windows sold are more affordable double-paned products.

If Version 6 takes effect, energy efficient double-paned windows would still be widely available to consumers, but shoppers would need to decipher U-factors, solar heat gain coefficients, and other such data on their own to decide which windows are a good value, the coalition asserts. "The proposed new rules would effectively strip average consumers of the 'easy choice' upon which they've learned to rely. If these proposed changes move forward, who knows which products will be next?"

The petition, which asks the President and lawmakers to "save Energy Star," points out that replacing single-pane windows continues to be the “low-hanging fruit” when retrofitting a home for greatest energy efficiency gains. "Significant energy savings can be achieved by the replacement of these windows with higher efficiency models. Over the last 15 years, Energy Star windows have become the industry standard for helping consumers identify energy efficient products that provide a reasonable return on investment."