The U.S. Department of Energy launched its “Highly-Insulating R-5 Windows and Low-E Storm Windows Volume Purchase Program” with an event yesterday in Washington, D.C., held at the headquarters of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). The program was designed to pair manufacturers of these windows with potential large-volume purchasers in an effort to help manufacturers overcome the initial costs of producing such products.

Roland Risser, program manager for the Building Technologies Program, a part of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, spoke in support of the program and the benefits that it could generate.

“In order to achieve success, we need the technology and wider use in the market,” said Risser.

However, cost has to go down for R-5 windows to be widely used, he added.

“[The window] must meet the needs of the customer and one of those needs is cost-effectiveness,” said Risser. “ … At higher volumes, the costs and prices are lower.”

Fifty manufacturers applied to be a part of the program, and 32 proposals have been expected. A website highlighting the program also has been created. (CLICK HERE to visit the site.)

American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) president and chief executive officer Rich Walker also was on-hand and he pointed out that, during the day’s events, he heard the word “optimism” being used often.

“We’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and really this couldn’t come at a better time,” he said. “I think the incentives are extremely well-placed.”

He also saluted the DOE’s efforts for focusing the volume purchase program on the remodeling market.

“The potential for growth is there both in resident and commercial,” he said.

Walker pointed to three specific positives from the program:

  • It can help consumers save on energy costs;
  • It will help manufacturers rebound and bring jobs back; and
  • It’s good for the environment.

DOE says many of the products available through the program meet its target price of less than $4 per square foot. The program targets volume purchasers of windows, such as government agencies, builders, energy retrofitters, renovators and weatherization providers.

Habitat for Humanity representative Matt de Ferranti spoke as a possible volume purchaser of windows, and he advised his organization is now making an attempt to utilize ENERGY STAR® and energy-efficient products when possible.

“We have made a major commitment to building our homes at ENERGY STAR standards,” said Ferranti, who serves as director of federal agency relations for Habitat for Humanity International. “We’ve found the additional costs to meet ENERGY STAR standards are less than $3,000.”

CLICK HERE to learn more about the program.

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