The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) flipped the switch on its Energy Star program Monday, instating new performance requirements for doors and windows. With that change, industry experts and program officials told [DWM] they expected the number of certified products in Energy Star’s Product Finder database to drop “significantly,” before slowly rising through first-quarter 2024. So far, the opposite has occurred.

According to program officials, an updated list of products was added to the Product Finder database October 23, reflecting changes associated with new Version 7.0 criteria. Between Thursday, October 19 (prior to Version 7.0 implementation) and Tuesday October 23 (after implementation), the total number of registered products in EPA’s Energy Star Product Finder database rose slightly—from 2,184 to 2,207.

At the same time, decreases occurred among products certified for the Northern and North-Central climate zones, where the steepest performance requirements were implemented. The Northern zone went from 2,090 products to 1,690. The North-Central zone dropped from 2,162 to 1,907.

In the more-than-yearlong period between the announcement of final criteria and deployment of Energy Star 7.0, manufacturers and experts agreed that to meet the new criteria, companies would need to employ better and more expensive glass and window components. In a recent survey conducted by [DWM], manufacturers estimated the added costs to be anywhere from an additional 5% to 40% over that of standard, high-performance windows, with the average estimate at an additional 23%. With those increases, companies were skeptical over whether or not homeowners will be willing to pay the added costs for an Energy Star label.

“Most will opt for a product that’s 99% as thermally-efficient, but costs 30% less,” suggested Mark Davis, executive director for Earthwise Group LLC.

Jeff Kibler, marketing manager for Weather Shield Windows and Doors, expects Energy Star-rated products to make up a small portion of sales going forward, absent incentives, such as tax rebates, or codes requiring equivalent performance.

That skepticism has some holding out for proof of concept before they invest in new products.

“We have to make sure it is working first,” says Noubar Yeremian, president of HMI Doors.

Whether or not the early results displayed through Energy Star’s Product Finder are accurate is yet to be seen. According to program officials, some “clean up” could be necessary.

For more details about the roll out, including the results of a survey showing industry reaction, look for [DWM]’s November-December print edition.

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