January 22nd, 2013
Window Testing and Innovation for 2014
Energy Star is in the process of redefining energy performance criteria and zones for 2014. And it is interesting to look back and see the impact Energy Star has played on our industry. Several years ago, R-values were the common tool measuring the energy efficiency of replacement windows. However, over the years, Energy Star changed all this and our industry has evolved over to U-value.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is one of the best known and most credible “third party” window rating system. Virtually all window companies adhere to the NFRC testing and apply an NFRC label to their respective window. Of course, there are other testing criteria that both dealers and homeowners are looking to, including the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) with their Gold and Silver labels. These recognized labels offer additional certifications and benefits.
But all the testing and all the labeling are incorporated to market the energy efficiency and performance of a respective window. Energy Star has introduced new criteria to meet the very well recognized Energy Star criteria and labeling. View the latest proposal.
I learned while meeting with many dealers around the country, especially in the “northern zone,” they want to meet or exceed the 2014 Energy Star requirements. They are insisting that their respective window-manufacturing partners stay ‘ahead of the curve’ in terms of the window product and rating.
As window manufacturers are being pushed for the 2014 Energy Star requirements, they are also becoming more creative and innovative in how the numbers are realized. Personally, I am excited about all the innovation being done to get “there.”
However, this innovation does come at an expense. Testing, redesigning and experimentation need to be done. And at a time where expenses are being closely managed, these numbers and this innovation could end up leaving some behind the curve instead of in front of it.
For window manufacturers to be successful in 2013 and 2014, sales and marketing will have to work closer than ever with production and engineering to come up with the most innovative ways to drive to the 2014 Energy Star requirements. All this said; let’s see if that fourth quarter momentum can carry us all the way through 2013.