ES_maprevisedAfter months of revisions, feedback and comments, today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Energy Star Version 6.0 Residential Windows, Doors, and Skylights Specification.

The new guidelines will take effect January 1, 2015, with the exception of the Northern Zone prescriptive and equivalent energy performance criteria for windows, which will take effect January 1, 2016.

EPA revised the implementation date for the Northern Zone window criteria in response to concerns expressed by some stakeholders about the industry’s ability to have cost-effective, qualifying windows available in the Northern Zone by the originally proposed effective date. EPA says providing additional time will allow the industry to increase product availability and identify cost-saving measures to further reduce incremental costs for consumers.

Based on additional data provided by stakeholders, EPA has also revised the U-factor maximum for skylights in the Northern Zone to 0.50. EPA received a number of specific examples documenting the potential incremental costs to achieve the U-factor originally proposed in the final draft criteria. The revised final criteria will improve product availability for both curb- and deck-mount skylights.

EPA has also revised the U-factor maxima for skylights in the North-Central Zone and South- Central Zone to 0.53. The agency revised these criteria based on commenter feedback indicating that a U-factor maximum of 0.53 will allow more venting curb-mount skylights to qualify, thereby improving product availability. In addition, aligning the South-Central U-factor maximum with the U-factor maximum in the North-Central Zone simplifies the specification, allowing manufacturers to qualify a single product over a larger geographic area.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) says Version 6.0 “includes significant improvements from earlier drafts that increase ENERGY STAR qualification requirements of windows, doors and skylights while keeping those products more affordable for homeowners purchasing them. Further, the agency acknowledges the need to improve the process for future updates to the ENERGY STAR program to make the process more transparent and encourage greater industry participation.”

“While the final requirements for Version 6.0 are not everything that we sought, WDMA worked diligently over the past year with EPA and our supporters on Capitol Hill to achieve a middle ground that will increase energy efficiency, allow manufacturers time to prepare, and provide consumers with a reasonable payback period,” says Michael O’Brien, WDMA president and CEO.

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