Plavecsky's Ponderings By Jim Plavecsky
by Jim Plavecsky
March 10th, 2009

“30-30” Vision

The last several weeks have been a crazy time with all of the discussions regarding the Stimulus Bill, or the “30-30 legislation,” as many are now calling it. To sum up the reaction of the industry, the news was greeted with something like, “Fantastic, but how did they come up with these numbers?”

Just about everybody thinks that the idea of a tax credit for the installation of more energy-efficient doors and windows was a great idea. After all, economists are projecting that the stimulus legislation, which offers homeowners a 30 percent tax credit up to $1500 for installation of more energy-efficient doors and windows, will create an estimated $6 billion in remodeling work over the next two years! “This is just the shot in the arm that the replacement window industry needs!” However, many are scrambling around trying to decide exactly how they are going to get their window to qualify.

“Let’s see, I am close to a .30 U Value with my low-E glass and argon, but not quite there….what do I do next? Maybe I will foam fill my extrusions, or replace metal reinforcements with non-metal composite stiffeners. Or how about switching to a non metal spacer system?” Many found that they could get there just by switching glass type. “It will be an easy fix, but not without cost,” commented one window manufacturer. “I just need to change my low-e glass to a higher performance grade. But it adds an average of 10 dollars per window to my cost!” Everybody wants to hit the 30-30. The key becomes, “how does one do it with the least possible increase in manufactured window cost?”

Many window manufacturers in the Midwest and north central were shocked at the SHGC requirements. Quite a few remarked, “Does a SHGC of .30 even make sense in northern climates?” They were referring to the fact that solar heat gain can actually help contribute to lower energy bills in northern climates, where fuel bills correlate more to indoor heating as opposed to summer air conditioning costs. “Why do you think we have the zoned ENERGY STAr approach where U Value and SHGC requirements are fine tuned for various zones of the country?” It is as if the legislators, in a hurry to rush this thing into law, drastically oversimplified their approach as they focused upon putting something together as soon as possible!”

Perhaps they just had “30-30” vision?



5 comments
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  1. Jim, please address the effect this law will have on the skylight segment. It is supposed to be eligible, as it always has been on previous tax credit packages, but the 30/30 level has taken them COMPLETELY out of the game. They just didn’t have a clue when they lumped skylights (and TDDs, by definition) in with windows. The devil in the details in this case could irreparably harm the best option for natural daylight in homes.

  2. […] IG’s Jim Plavecksy, a DWM blogger (CLICK HERE for his blog), also is pleased that DOE went back to four […]

  3. Roger
    You have a valid point! It is a shame that TDD’s have been suspended from the Energy Star program. The savings that TDD’s can provide in lighting energy costs would seem to be quite significant!
    Jim

  4. I agree with the U-value number as I feel this is attainable by most manufacturers, although it does create an added cost to the unit.
    I do think that the SHGC should have been a regional type number as opening the blinds in a heating climate can save the consumer a few dollars on heating up a room. What’s the benefit of a tax credit if it will be eatten up over time by using the money to heat up the room?
    Hmmmmmm maybe these numbers were chosen by the oil industry????

  5. The end user (the homeowner !)is reaping the benefits of this new Tax Credit. Long after a contractors profit is spent, these people will realize continued energy savings. Let’s not forget increased home appreciation, less maintenance, a more comfortable home, easier cleaning and a host of other intangibles.

    We complain about the added cost to provide a better window. You need to simply charge more for you products, and justify why you have a better product.

    Most contractors are fighting a war to compete with the ”Chuck with a Truck’ competitors in their areas.
    Selling the difference will pay big dividends against the lowballer every time.

    The “Big Box” stores will continue to peddle inferior windows with a 0.49-0.50 U-Factor.

    There is a lot of money to be made if you work smarter instead of harder!

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