Welcome to the third blog in a series about the DOE’s Roadmap for Emerging Technologies and its potential impact on the future of the fenestration industry. In case you missed the first two, you can find them here:

As discussed in my last blog, the DOE’s Building Technology Office (BTO) has outlined a three-phase approach to achieving aggressive 50-percent reductions in residential and commercial buildings energy demand by the year 2030. The phases include: 1. Research and Development; 2. Market Stimulation; 3. Codes and Standards. Fenestration will be a major focus.

Today, we’ll dive a little deeper into the Codes and Standards phase.

Locking in the Savings

According to the Building Energy Codes home page, 75 percent of U.S. buildings will be new or renovated by 2035 – and building codes will ensure they use energy wisely.

They’ve already been on a path toward greater efficiency as evidenced by these stats taken from the May 2014 Building Energy Codes Fact Sheet:

  • Today’s energy codes are providing savings of more than 30 percent compared to codes of less than one decade ago;
  • Energy cost savings to consumers from building energy codes are estimated at about $5 billion annually as of 2012, and total about 4 quads cumulatively, with more than $44 billion in cost savings since 1992; and
  • Annual carbon savings reached 36 million tons in 2012 with about 300 million tons cumulatively since 1992.

But the DOE realizes to achieve its energy efficiency goals it will not be enough to just create awareness and demonstrate new technologies. Building codes must be enforced to “lock in the savings.” According to the Roadmap for Emerging Technologies, the DOE’s statutory directives include:

  • Supporting the adoption of economically justified energy-efficient measures; and
  • Providing state-level technical assistance to increase and verify compliance.

In short, with the stricter rules will come stricter enforcement. The DOE recently opened a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0000953 for $6 million to develop strategies to increase residential energy code compliance rates and measure results. For more information, check out the transcripts from the DOE’s webinar, Strategies to Increase Residential Energy Code Compliance Rates and Measure Results.

The view from here is that this will put more pressure on building components to change and improve in terms of energy efficiency over the next 15 years. In turn, our industry can expect greater demand for more efficient products – and greater opportunities for growth.

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What do you think fenestration technologies will look like in 2030? Leave a comment here or email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

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