The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed final draft of the Version 6.0 specification for doors, windows and skylights today which includes a proposal to delay the implementation date. Meanwhile, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), criticizes the EPA for ignoring industry concerns.
EPA says it has reviewed the input submitted by commenters and discussed the implementation date proposed in Draft 2 with many stakeholders. Some organizations indicated that they could meet the proposed criteria in early 2014, while others requested that the implementation date be delayed. EPA is proposing to revise the effective date of the Version 6.0 specification to January 1, 2015, to allow more time for manufacturers to implement the proposed Version 6.0 specification.
Other changes include the fact that EPA has changed the U-factor maximum for skylights in the Northern and North-central zones from 0.47 135 to 0.48. Stakeholders informed EPA that a U-Factor maximum level of 0.48 would improve product availability for 136 all product types in both zones.
But the WDMA says it did not listen to manufacturers when it came to other aspects of the program. The association says the program has taken an unjustified and unprecedented step to target a deep cut in the share of Energy Star windows and skylights sold to average consumers. “Past revisions have focused on incremental gains in efficiency that still would promise a reasonable payback period for fenestration products carrying the Energy Star label,” says the WDMA in a statement released today. “In an earlier Version 6.0 draft, the program admitted it set the proposed standards for windows with a goal of reaching ‘a market share of less than 50 percent after the Version 6.0 specification takes effect’ from just over 80 percent. (Version 6.0 Draft 1 Criteria and Analysis Report, p8.)”
“Because of the program’s past success, consumers expect to recoup the cost of ENERGY STAR labeled products through energy savings in a reasonable period and they doubt the efficiency of products without the label,” says Michael O’Brien, CEO of the WDMA. “Version 6.0 takes away reasonable payback periods for much of the country and will strip the ENERGY STAR label from affordable energy-efficient products that do offer a fair payback period.”
The association also points to the Coalition for Home Energy Efficiency, a coalition of environmental and consumer advocates, manufacturers and retailers, who launched a petition to save the Energy Star program.
The petition has gathered more than 20,000 signatures, says the WDMA, who adds that a bipartisan group of 23 congressmen signed a letter asking the Obama administration to re-examine the proposed specification to ensure they are consistent with the guiding principles of the program.
The U-factor for windows in the North-central zone has shifted to .30 from .29. “But the area of greatest concern to consumers and the industry—the Northern zone criteria—remains unchanged. The Northern zone covers almost half of the country,” says the WDMA.
Written comments on the proposed final draft specification should be submitted to EPA at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday, August 21, 2013.
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