Earlier this month, the EPA and third-party expert D+R International held a webinar to introduce the first draft of the Energy Star  for Exterior and Interior Storm Windows criteria. While the target seems to be the clear-glass segment of the existing storm window market, we all need to be aware of the proposal, its potential impacts on the window market and how to provide comments by the August 31 deadline if you feel compelled.

A little background: The proposed program is said to help consumers easily identify cost-effective, energy-efficient storm window products that incorporate low-emissivity coatings. The primary audiences, according to the criteria draft cover letter, are low-income households, low-rise multifamily households, households working with HUD and other weatherization programs, and households in historic preservation.

How will this impact the window industry?

Over the past few years I have had numerous discussions regarding the impact attachments are likely to have on window sales with manufacturers. Most industry experts agree that any impact will be negligible. Window manufacturers and storm window manufacturers are targeting different consumers.

When it comes to replacements, most consumers are looking for all-new windows because of mechanical function, aesthetics or maintenance. Energy only becomes important once the selection process begins.

On the other hand, those looking to add storm windows do so because they are financially unable to invest in replacements, but want to achieve greater energy efficiency.

The View from Here is that while we are playing in different sandboxes for the most part, there will be some crossover – and even some questions asked by consumers: why wouldn’t I just add storm windows? So, we need to be prepared.

I encourage readers to browse the criteria and provide comment by the deadline if you have concerns. In my review, I found that the proposal has some rough edges that need to be smoothed out prior to launch. And I believe many of you will agree.

Visit the Energy Star for Exterior and Interior Storm Windows website to view all the available materials, including the webinar deck, Draft 1 Version 1.0 Specification, Criteria Analysis Report and Consumer Checklist.

You can also get instructions on how to provide comment. Remember: the deadline is August 31.

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

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