Volume 47, Issue 10 - October 2012

Energy&Environment


DOE Explores Attachments as an Added Way to Offer Energy-Efficiency


Department of Energy (DOE) officials say they want all building owners and consumers to have access to more energy-efficient windows, yet Marc LaFrance, outgoing building envelope and windows research and development manager for the DOE, says he “knows that is unrealistic.” However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options that can work alongside window systems, such as attachments, which can help building owners and consumers reduce their energy usage.

“We are aiming to provide other options,” says LaFrance. Exploring these alternatives was the topic of the recent Technical Analysis Workshop for Window Attachments held in Washington, D.C., in August.

LaFrance explains that the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) provides ratings for window film, and that future ratings could include those for low-E storm windows, solar shades, exterior blinds, interior blinds, awnings and highly insulating cellular shades.

“The main ones we are looking at are exterior shading and that is a high priority for hot climates,” he says. “DOE’s mission is to help promote those products to consumers. We want them to have other options.”

Toward that end, LaFrance says the DOE, working with other interested parties, has been busy analyzing these products in the lab to move this along. The main purpose of the workshop was to give representatives of the national labs, consultants and contractors an opportunity to lay out the technical game plan as far as priorities.

 

FTC Issues Warning to Glass Manufacturer and Window Companies

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned Cardinal Glass Industries, along with 14 window manufacturers, that they may be making unsupported energy savings claims.

A statement issued by the FTC says the warning letters “are part of an FTC effort to ensure that environmental marketing is truthful and based on solid scientific evidence.”

The letters were sent to Cardinal and window manufacturers Acadia Windows & Doors Inc., Nationwide Window & Siding Corp., Newpro, Pace Window & Door Corp., Pal Windows, Ringer Windows, Sierra Pacific Windows, SureGuard Windows, SwissShade & Security Inc., Thompson Creek Window Company, Value Windows & Doors, Vytex Windows, Weather Shield (and its glassmaking component), and West Window Corp., according to a statement from the FTC.

Each letter states that the FTC reviewed the company’s website and found claims that consumers will save more than 30 percent on their energy or heating and cooling bills by installing replacement windows.

“The FTC has asked that we review our heating and cooling savings claims,” Bowie Neumayer, vice president of sales and marketing for Cardinal IG, told USGlass magazine in a recent interview. “Our data was generated from nine test houses in three regions. We are communicating with the FTC and expect to have this cleared up.”

Greg Ringer, president of Ringer Windows, based in Pflugerville, Texas, disagrees with the FTC’s decision, but took down the language the FTC cited, nonetheless.

“We completely disagreed with what they said as we think we properly qualified the claims on our website but that wasn’t good enough [for the FTC],” he says. “We decided it wasn’t worth fighting the federal government so we voluntarily took everything down they didn’t like.”

He adds that the FTC’s reasoning is that many consumers may not look at the disclaimers.

Harry Fahl, sales and marketing representative for Acadia Windows and Doors, in Baltimore, also said he removed the statements from the website after receiving the FTC letter.

The letters also state that the FTC has made no determination whether the companies are violating the law, but urge the recipients to review their marketing materials and keep in mind that they must back energy-saving claims with scientific evidence; be specific about the type of savings consumers can expect; and other items.


USG
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