Doug Anderson, the project manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program for windows, doors and skylights, gave a presentation during the recent Northeast Window and Door Association (NWDA) winter meetings in Baltimore. He shared important information for fenestration manufacturers on the Version 7.0 specification, which is in  the early stages of development.

Version 6.0

Anderson said all criteria for Version 6.0 of the Energy Star specification are now in effect, and that all new product labeling should reflect that. He also said installation instructions must be available for all products, and certified products must have National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) air leakage ratings or certifications from an approved third party.

Additionally, Anderson said more companies are using trade-offs to meet the Northern Zone criteria.

Version 6.0 took effect on January 1, 2015, in the U.S. except in the Northern Zone, where the prescriptive and equivalent energy performance criteria for windows went into effect on January 1, 2016.

Next Steps on Energy Star Version 7.0

EPA plans to publish a framework document for Version 7.0 on the specification for windows, doors and skylights  in the coming months. Anderson said it will only present methodology, sources and issues for consideration and stakeholder comment. EPA will conduct technical and market research throughout the year. If that indicates that a revision is needed, a first draft would be proposed in the last quarter of 2017 or early in 2018, he said.

Verification Testing

Anderson said NFRC is testing 5 percent of Energy Star product lines in 2017. He also said that NFRC is reporting that thermal test results of fourth-surface (double-pane) products do not validate within NFRC tolerances in some cases. The NFRC Test Lab Group and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are working on the issue.

Most Efficient 2017 for Windows

The recognition criteria for Energy Star Most Efficient won’t change in 2017, Anderson said. The U-factor will remain at 0.20 in all climate zones. The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) stays at 0.20 in the Northern zone, 0.25 in the South-Central and Southern zones, and 0.40 in the North-Central zone. Anderson also said EPA is working with the Department of Energy (DOE) to consider criteria for products with automated dynamic glazing.

U.S./Canada Energy Star Alignment

According to Anderson, EPA and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) have met to discuss aligning the U.S. and Canadian Energy Star specifications. Canada’s program differs in performance and labeling criteria, definitions of climate zones, the use of an Energy Rating (ER) metric, and air leakage testing that’s based on infiltration and ex-filtration.

Storm Windows Framework Document

In January 2016, EPA issued a framework document to explore an Energy Star specification for storm windows. Comments were received from interested parties, and EPA’s response was released in August 2016.

Anderson said four issues require further research: product certification options, air leakage testing, low solar transmittance for the South-Central and Southern zones, and the impact of framing on product performance. He said EPA plans to release a criteria analysis report and a first-draft criteria in the next few months.

White Paper on Energy Star CPD Analysis

On January 4, EPA released a study on a methodology for analyzing the NFRC Certified Product Database (CPD). Anderson said the agency wants to find better ways to understand the technological pathways used to achieve different performance levels in fenestration products, with the goal of finding low-cost, routine was to assess them.

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