Volume 38, Issue 10, October 2003

Energy&Environment

Window Industry Voices 
Energy Star® Concerns

The new Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Star criteria (see related story in the September 2003 USGlass, page 26) is drawing concern from aluminum window manufacturers. According to the new criteria, the U-factor requirement of <0.40 in certain areas will limit the areas in which aluminum windows will qualify for the Energy Star program.

In the September newsletter of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) Aluminum Materials Council (AMC), one member stated:

“[Energy Star has] based its energy results on the theoretical properties of insulating glass units and window framing materials. Ninety percent of the rest of Energy Star products [such as air conditioners and furnaces] use a performance-based standard. Why not windows?”

According to the AMC, since the new criteria were developed by testing standards based on design rather than performance, results in real energy savings, life cycling and code concerns were not considered. The council also noted that there are many factors, such as opening and closing windows, weather effects, weather-stripping performance and durability as well as the quality of installation, that can affect the window’s performance throughout its service life.

“Independent testing proves aluminum windows are vastly superior for long-term durability,” reported the council in its newsletter. “Vinyl cannot meet many building code requirements for Gulf and Atlantic coastal locations.”

While the Energy Star program currently is geared toward the residential market, some are concerned that these requirements will eventually apply to the commercial market as well.

“The new [criteria] jeopardizes the future success of our company,” said another member. “[These requirements] would eliminate more than 1,600 aluminum window products from the NFRC directory with the potential for putting 50 aluminum window manufacturers out of business.”

In response to these concerns, the AMC reported that the DOE has “expressed a desire” to look into a performance-based approach that would involve SHGC/U-factor tradeoffs in some areas, air leakage and product durability attributes. 

Info  visit www.govforums.org/e&w/index.cfm 

Briefly ...

Copper Sales Inc. of Anoka, Minn., has been named an Energy Star® labeled roof product partner and has obtained Energy Star listings for all UNA-CLAD® brand unpainted Galvalume roof products (www.unaclad.com) …


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