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DOE Officially Announces that it is Reviewing Energy Star® Criteria

The Department of Energy (DOE) sent a letter to stakeholders on October 9 announcing officially that it is beginning a criteria review and revision process for Energy Star qualified doors, windows and skylights (for more on this story see the October issue of DWM magazine).

The DOE says there are three reasons it is pursuing a criteria change:

  • Improving energy efficiency is a national priority.
  • IECC 2003 and 2006 have prescriptive requirements for windows that are the same as Energy Star for either solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) or U-factor in all states; 28 states have already adopted these codes.
  • Energy Star is meant to provide product differentiation, but Energy Star windows now make up more than 50 percent of the market; Energy Star has a target market share of 25 percent for all products.

DOE is considering a variety of changes including:

  • A substantially lower U-Factor in northern zones (initial target range: 0.20-0.30);
  • Capture winter solar gain using a minimum SHGC in the north;
  • Substantially lower SHGC in southern zones (initial target range: 0.20-0.30);
  • Require IGU certification;
  • Add minimum VT criteria to ensure adequate light;
  • Bring the Energy Star climate zones into closer alignment with the IECC 2006 climate zones;
  • Divide Northern zone in two corresponding to IECC Zones 5 and Zones 6+7;
  • Allow SHGC/U-Factor trade-offs in both the north and south to expand range of products;
  • Explore emerging technologies such as dynamic glazings;
  • Establish installation procedures to ensure performance; and
  • Maintain display unit and product labeling.

The DOE will publish the results of its analysis in December 2007, will hold a meeting with stakeholders in February 2008 and will announce finalized criteria in March 2008. According to DOE, the earliest effective date of the new criteria would be January 1, 2009.

The DOE says it welcomes feedback from the industry. This can be directed to Emily Zachery at 301/588-9387 or at ezachery@drintl.com

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