The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final Energy Star Version 6.0 Residential Windows, Doors and Skylights Specification requirements earlier this month. This week, Doug Anderson, program manager, traveled to Connecticut to break down the requirements for members of the Northeast Window and Door Association during its winter meeting.  The implementation date remains at January 1, 2015, with the exception of the Northern Zone criteria for windows which was revised to January 1, 2016.

“Some stakeholders expressed concerns about the industry’s ability to have cost-effective, qualifying windows available in the Northern Zone by the originally proposed effective date,” said Anderson. “EPA believes that providing additional time will allow the industry to increase product availability and identify cost-saving measures to further reduce incremental costs for consumers.”

The U-factor window makers in that region must meet by January 1, 2016, is 0.27. “This provides a payback for low cost and average cost products at 10 years or less in most markets,” said Anderson. “It also offers a shorter payback period than other considered U-factor criteria.”

Manufacturers can use a variety of equivalent energy performance ‘trade-offs’ to meet the criteria with products at U-factor levels above 0.27. Many proven technologies are readily available to help manufacturers meet the proposed specification (better glass, frames, and spacers).

“Triple-pane glass packages are not necessary to meet proposed specification,” Anderson said. He added that the Final Version 6.0 will allow the program to:

• Differentiate better performing products that are cost-effective for consumers;

• Ensure that consumers have choices; and

• Keep Energy Star relevant in the marketplace.

EPA will begin the process of updating partnership materials to reflect the Version 6.0 changes in 2014. The agency will also begin working with stakeholders in 2014 to evaluate the criteria revision process for windows, doors and skylights.

Anderson says the process will start with a public stakeholder meeting, either in person or via webinar, in the second half of the year.

For the next criteria revision, EPA hopes to:

• Encourage greater industry participation and collaboration,

• Make the process clearer and more predictable, and

• Enhance the transparency of the analytical approaches used and the way in which the proposed criteria are developed and modified.

Anderson also offered an update on the EPA’s Most Efficient program for windows.

More than 370 product lines have been recognized by more than 40 manufacturers in varying materials of wood, vinyl, fiberglass and composites.

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