Proposed ENERGY STAR® program revisions for fenestration products were discussed when the Schaumburg, IL-based American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) met with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last year. The two groups agreed that improving energy efficiency is a national priority.
John Lewis, AAMA's technical director, says, "The DOE estimates that ENERGY STAR windows now make up over 50 percent of the market; this degree of market penetration would not have been possible without the direct participation of the fenestration industry." He adds that "it is imperative that the public understands that the U-factor and SHGC (solar heat gain coefficient) values required by the program are not absolute guarantees of performance, but benchmarks against which apples-to-apples comparisons between different products can be made."
Toward the goals of informed consumers and improved energy efficiency, AAMA's recommendations for revisions to the ENERGY STAR program include:
- The development of a two-tier ENERGY STAR program, which would leave the current program intact and allow for a more aggressive program to target a smaller segment of the market.
- If the two-tier program is not feasible, then AAMA could support increasing the stringency of the current single-tier program by a reasonable amount, such as a U-factor reduction on the order of 10 percent.
- For any revisions, AAMA supports a phased-in implementation of changes over a multi-year period which provides the opportunity to monitor several key factors such as product availability in the marketplace, capacity to re-simulate and re-test all new and revised products, market demand for the products, and code adoption of the revised ENERGY STAR program.