I just talked to another customer today who admitted that he is no longer using National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels on his windows. He is a small fabricator who cites the complexity and high cost of achieving IG certification and labeling as the main issue.

“I was spending all that time and expense to obtain IG certification and NFRC labels, and I just didn’t see the payback,” he says. So is NFRC labeling and the Energy Star program losing its significance? Not hardly. It is still being done by the vast majority of window manufacturers. But what if fenestration fabricators had a little more help in terms of stimulating consumers to take notice and gravitate toward higher performance window systems?

Well, I was pleased to read that the Senate recently passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act (EPMA), which should help improve the energy efficiency of buildings.This legislation includes an amendment that affects FHA appraisal rule modifications, adding value to appraisals of homes with energy-efficient upgrades. Already in place are Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) programs, which enable prospective home buyers to obtain an energy assessment of a property they are in the process of buying, analyze utility savings of proposed energy saving upgrades to the property, and use these savings to qualify for a higher mortgage amount that rolls the cost of these upgrades into the mortgage itself with no additional down payment. Utility bill cost savings are used to qualify the homeowner for the additional financing. In these cases, the homeowner wins with a more comfortable home, the window manufacturer wins with additional sales and our nation wins with energy conservation.

EEM programs, combined with appraisal rule modifications provided by the EPMA, will really propel sales of the most energy-efficient fenestration products. It turns the purchase of a more efficient window into a true investment, resulting in higher homeowner equity values. The prospective homeowner hires an energy rater, looks at the NFRC labels, then purchases higher-performance windows (among other proposed upgrades) and gains equity in the home by investing in a property with a higher appraised value. This combination can really serve to propel the sale of higher-performance window systems, thereby making all the work and cost involved in achieving IG certification and labeling worth the pain that window manufacturers must endure.

The current energy legislation is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we will probably see in terms of future bills designed to make our nation more energy efficient so that we can, over time, slow down our consumption of non-renewable energy sources.

So, manufacturers of fenestration products, you have much to gain from this legislative trend. As a fenestration manufacturer thinking long-term and deciding which technologies to stake the future success of your business upon, superior energy efficiency should be near the top of your list.

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