Last week, the White House released its proposed 2018 budget. The reaction from a number of industries and organizations was swift. As of this writing, it appeared unlikely that the budget would pass as written, but it’s worth our attention.

As it relates to the fenestration industry, what caught my eye – and I’m sure many of yours – was the proposed elimination of the Energy Star program. There is little doubt that government spending needs to be reined in, and cuts are necessary to do that.

But The View From Here is that this budget goes too far in cutting programs like Energy Star, which has been instrumental in educating consumers about the importance of energy efficiency—not to mention the billions in energy savings stemming from the program over its 24-year history.

If you’ve been around this industry for as long as I have, you remember what the market looked like before the program was introduced in 1992. There were virtually no rules around reporting window performance, leaving consumers with no way to gauge how one product performed versus another.

Energy Star offered a way to do this, with a label applied only to products that have demonstrated proven performance. Not only did this offer a great, simple way for consumers to make more informed decisions about energy performance, but it’s been a powerful marketing tool for window and door manufacturers. It raised the bar for the fenestration, and many other industries.

And if anything, products that demonstrate proven energy savings are even more important today than in 1992. I personally do not want to return to a window and door market without Energy Star—and I don’t believe I’m alone.

Like any previous budget, the president’s proposal is a guideline and Congress may make changes. Let’s hope they reconsider eliminating Energy Star and protect consumers from misinformation.

What’s your View? Email me directly at eric.jackson@quanex.com.

 

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