When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a call for comments last week to examine how to best identify the top-tier of energy-efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR designation, windows weren’t part of the mix.

EPA and the Department of Energy say they are seeking feedback on a proposed new program element to identify and advance highly efficient products in the marketplace. The goal of this effort is to drive more energy-efficient products into the market more quickly. This proposal is part of both agency’s commitment to maintain the credibility and value of ENERGY STAR to the public.

Keeping the program goals and target audience in mind, EPA and DOE have made a preliminary assessment of the consumer product categories covered by the ENERGY STAR program and propose an initial focus on product categories typically promoted at higher performance levels by utility and state sponsored efficiency programs. This initial list includes the following product categories: clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, televisions, central air conditioners and heating equipment.

There was some surprise that windows were not part of that list as the EPA had talked of a top tier (Super Star) program for windows.

EPA representative Doug Anderson explained to DWM magazine the reason windows were not included.

“The initial product categories listed in the proposal are ones that are relatively easy to test for energy performance, have a clear performance ranking already in place and have an energy performance ranking that is not climate-dependant,” he says.

While he adds that EPA may consider a top-tier program for doors, windows and skylights in the future, it is not currently in the works.  

“EPA’s focus now is on the next specification revision for windows, doors and skylights,” says Anderson. “We have publically stated that we plan to release preliminary criteria for a new specification on windows, doors and skylights for stakeholder comment in August of 2011. Manufacturers who wish to participate in a high-performance window program right now should consider DOE’s R-5 Volume Windows Program.”

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