Energy Star Official Discusses Energy Star Phase Two and Most Efficient Label

April 12th, 2011 by DWM Magazine
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While the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Doug Anderson spoke at Fenestration Day to give an Energy Star Update, he educated attendees on many more issues affecting them, such as the NFRC’s blind verification program, IG testing and much more.

What’s in Store for Phase Two?

Anderson, who serves as the Energy Star Windows project manager, spoke regarding phase two of the changes in criteria for Energy Star windows.

“We’ve been watching the IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) and we will at least meet that level in phase two,” he said.

He added, “Currently, the IECC is more stringent than Energy Star levels in the South. We are doing that analysis right now and we will see how far we can go.”

The EPA also will likely mirror what the IECC stipulates in terms of an air leakage requirement, said Anderson.

He also stated that the EPA is looking at triples and would assume that if people are not using triples that they would use argon.

“Krypton prices are likely to go higher and we are very concerned about that as affordability is an issue,” said Anderson.

Additionally, regarding life cycle analysis, it’s going to take two to three years to get this data, and while the addition of structural requirements was discussed, this won’t happen in phase two. He also alluded to a few areas in which the EPA will conduct more research such as shading and a possible exemption of Energy Star products in hurricane regions.

“We will put out our initial criteria and see what the industry says [in terms of hurricanes],” he said.

The EPA will issue its initial phase two proposal in the fall, which Anderson joked goes until December 21. The EPA anticipates two rounds of comments, and a stakeholder meeting to be held in Washington, D.C.

“I promise you we won’t be faster than that but there could be delays. We will give 270 days before the final criteria goes into effect in the fall of 2103,” he said.

But until that time there is still more work to be done as he said the EPA hasn’t started to look at door or skylight criteria. He also pointed out that Department of Energy still is very involved in the process and that the two agencies work very close together.

Other Initiatives

Anderson also outlined for attendees why Energy Star now includes IG certification.

“We are seeing some failures and companies and people want to see the bar set high so this has confirmed for us that product testing is a good idea,” he said.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) recently unveiled its new Blind Verification Program, which it developed with EPA input.

“We will begin with some testing in the fall of 2011,” said Anderson. “We want to make sure that the product meets the levels originally intended and make sure it is built as designed.”

Most Efficient Products

While names such as Super Star and top-tier were used in the past, the EPA has finally settled on the Most Efficient Designation for top-performing products. While windows are not currently included as part of this program it is something that the EPA is still considering.

Why were windows not included initially with products such as appliances?

“It was easy to figure out with appliances in terms of energy performance which were top performers,” said Anderson. ‘We can’t do that with windows.”

“In the North you can point out some top performers,” he said. “In the South it is harder so maybe it doesn’t make sense for the South.”

Anderson also said there is not cost-effective criteria for the Most Efficient label and he is looking for the early technology adopters to get the technology “out there.”

“The type of numbers we are talking about are better than R-5,” he said.

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