An office within the Department of Energy (DOE) that does extensive work with fenestration and glazing technology could be facing massive cuts under a proposed Trump administration budget plan.

The news comes the same week in which plans were revealed to “closeout or transfer” the Environmental Protection Agency’s popular Energy Star program.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), currently funded at $2.1 billion a year, could see its budget slashed by $700 million to $1.4 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg that cites three people briefed on the plans who requested anonymity.

“It would be a very, very significant cut,” Dan Reicher, who led the office during the Clinton administration, told Bloomberg. “Clearly this would have some very serious impacts on some very important programs.”

Jack Spencer, a vice president at the conservative Heritage Foundation who was a member of President Trump’s DOE transition team, told Bloomberg that EERE’s mission interferes with the functions of a free market.

“EERE’s objectives boil down to using taxpayer dollars to purposefully distort energy markets by picking winners and losers,” he said. “This should not be the role of government, and Washington should have more faith in the American people.”

EERE manages many programs related to doors and windows, such as Zero Energy Ready Homes, which are verified by a qualified third party and are at least 40 to 50 percent more energy efficient than a typical new home. They require high-performance windows as part of the building envelope.

In 2016, EERE funded research into a prototype of a portable window energy meter that measures the thermal and optical properties of windows in their actual settings.

In 2015, EERE’s State Energy Program (SEP) offered up to $5 million in grants to U.S. states that develop innovative approaches and solutions to boosting energy efficiency and renewable energy.

In 2013, EERE helped fund a research project showing that it takes two decades or more for triple-pane windows to pay off financially based on utility-bill savings.

In 2009, DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), on behalf of the EERE, awarded GED Integrated Solutions Inc. a Production Engineering and Commercialization of Residential R-5 Highly Insulating Windows research and development grant. The grant aimed to assist in the company’s effort to design and develop a high-volume automated manufacturing system that results in a high-performance R-5 value window system, and will enhance the industry’s ability to provide homeowners with affordable, highly-efficient residential windows at minimal cost.

 ‘Closeout or Transfer’ of Energy Star

A White House budget proposal could dismantle or privatize the Energy Star program, ending a popular federal project that certifies the energy efficiency of thousands of products, including doors, windows and skylights.

The plan would cut Energy Star’s budget down to just $5 million “for the closeout or transfer of all the climate protection voluntary partnership programs,” according to a report from E&E News. Energy Star currently spends about $57 million a year, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

“EPA should begin developing legislative options and associated groundwork for transferring ownership and implementation of Energy Star to a non-governmental entity,” E&E News reports, citing a source who’s viewed the document.

The White House and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which administers Energy Star, are still debating which programs to cut under a wide-ranging overhaul of the agency. According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration wants to reduce EPA’s $8.2 billion budget by 24 percent and eliminate 38 programs.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) expressed support for Energy Star.

“WDMA is aware of very preliminary discussions in the Trump administration about possible cuts to the Energy Star program, although specifics have not been released,” said WDMA president and CEO Michael O’Brien. “While we believe there could be programmatic improvements, the Energy Star program has been very successful in promoting high-efficiency windows, doors and skylights that have saved consumers billions over the years. We will be working with the administration and Congress to work through these budget issues over the coming months.”

About 300 fenestration companies are listed as partners on the Energy Star website. Most heavily promote their participation in the program in advertising material and press releases.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which provides the U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient ratings used in the Energy Star program for doors, windows and skylights, also hopes it survives.

“As a government-backed program, Energy Star has significant credibility with U.S. consumers,” said NFRC CEO Deb Callahan. “It helps them make sound decisions when purchasing windows, doors and skylights intended to reduce their energy bills, and we encourage its ongoing operation.”