Are You Ready for Phase Two?
Pricing Changes and Commercial Products
Added to DOE High-Performance Windows Program
by Terry Mapes
Phase one of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) High-Performance Windows
Volume Purchase Program concluded this spring and some significant changes
have been included for phase two. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
(PNNL), which manages the program for DOE, has prepared a number of changes
for the transition to the next phase, which began in May 2011. While the
foundation of the program remains relatively unchanged, PNNL is employing
several new strategies to continue the momentum built during the program’s
first full year of implementation. The program helps buyers and manufacturers
develop a market for highly insulating windows and low-E storm windows
at affordable prices and thereby
overcome the principal barrier of cost.
Adding Commercial Products
Among the additions being made to the program are the inclusion of commercial
products. While these products were never explicitly excluded, the specifications
in phase one were designed specifically with residential windows in mind,
and resulting U-factor requirements precluded most commercial windows
Under the new specifications residential (R) and light commercial (LC)
windows will have the same U-factor requirement as phase one (0.20 for
fixed/0.22 for operable windows) while commercial windows (CW: U= 0.24/0.27)
and architectural windows (AW: U= 0.27/0.32) will have less stringent
requirements due to their higher structural integrity. As a result of
these changes, DOE has decided to discontinue the use of the term R-5
in the program’s title, but understands that the term likely will continue
to be used colloquially throughout the industry for residential products.
Also, a condensation resistance (CR) requirement of 50 has been added
for all windows, and this number was chosen specifically to ensure that
double-pane products would perform according to consumer expectations.
Finally, storm window products now will need to be included in a certification
program in the same way as primary windows. DOE officials always have
felt that these certification programs are a key component to raising
the overall expectations of window performance beyond simply manufacturing
a product with a lower U-factor. Several organizations contacted DOE during
phase one and relied on the program’s quality assurance installments to
develop their own lists of eligible vendors from whom to buy products.
The phase one solicitation brought 40 qualified vendors into the program
and resulted in more than $650,000 in sales for these products through
February 2011. All of the participating vendors are listed on the windows
volume purchase website (www.windowsvolumepurchase.org).
Interested buyers have been able to use the website to obtain links to
the vendors’ own websites and also view a range of prices, from lowest
to highest, for a given product.
"Those who use the
site will be able to make direct comparisonsof prices between vendors
andwill be able to use this factor in making their final decisions. "
A Website Makeover
In response to numerous buyer comments, DOE is making several phase two
website updates that are designed to make the site more efficient and
convey necessary information to the buyer more effectively.
One of the most significant changes comes in the way vendor prices are
displayed; the website now will reveal individual prices by company, rather
than a range of prices for all companies in a given product group. Those
who use the site will be able to make direct comparisons of prices between
vendors and will be able to use this factor in making their final decisions.
The website’s format also is being modified. A filtering/sorting tool
will be added, and this will allow users to enter criteria about the windows
they’re trying to find and obtain an immediate list of vendors who meet
those criteria. A sorting feature will be a part of this tool, and a descriptor
box will appear whenever a vendor’s name is chosen. The descriptor box
will include a picture of the products, brief bullet-point information
about the vendor and products, a list of brand names of qualified windows
and a link to the vendor’s website. DOE will require vendors to maintain
links to their respective websites that will allow buyers to quickly find
information about the qualified products and streamline the process for
ordering those products. This requirement is designed to keep traffic
flowing toward the desired information and enhance the overall purchaser
the additions being made to the program
are the inclusion of commercial products. While these products were never
explicitly excluded, the specifications in Phase I were designed specifically
with residential windows in mind, and resulting U-factor requirements
precluded most commercial windows from qualifying."
Public outreach will be key to communicating the program’s benefits. Based
upon initial, positive construction industry economic indicators, DOE
believes the time has never been better to ramp up our efforts to reach
anyone and everyone who can benefit from the program.
Program team members will continue to attend trade shows, conferences,
exhibitions and conduct regional workshops. We will work with important
buyer groups such as builders, contractors, housing authorities and architects
to spread news of the program to all corners of the building industry.
The team also is working in collaboration with utilities and market transformation
organizations such as Long Island Power Authority, American Electric Power,
the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, the Northwest Energy Efficiency
Alliance and the Energy Trust of Oregon in an effort to help create utility
incentive programs that specifically target high-performance windows and
low-E storm windows.
March 18 was the first and priority processing deadline for vendors to
enter the program’s next phase. The team officially launched phase two
at the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building
Conference and Exposition in Salt Lake City, May 3. Vendors who are unable
to meet the priority deadline still will be allowed to apply to enter
the program until September 18, and all proposals received will be processed
in the order they are received.
Terry Mapes is an energy efficiency engineer at PNNL
and the principal investigator for the program. DOE’s High-Performance
Windows Volume Purchase Program is supported by DOE’s Building Technologies
Program and managed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
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