Energy Star Created For Exterior and Interior Storm Windows

September 6th, 2018 by Drew Vass

On September 5th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shared the final Energy Star Version 1.0 Exterior and Interior Storm Windows Specification. Throughout this process, the EPA has taken into account comments and feedback from various Energy Star stakeholders. The EPA summarized their responses to the stakeholders in a letter, and provided a schedule for certifying products for inspection.

This is the first time Energy Star has certified the category of storm windows. The EPA believes that labeling storm windows will help customers identify the most energy efficient products, and reduce energy spending. The EPA also hopes that the Energy Star label will allow an affordable option for homes where full window replacement is not possible. This would be homes such as lower-income households, low-rise multi-family households, households working with HUD or weatherization programs and households in historic preservation districts. The EPA estimates that homeowners could save an average of $50 on their annual energy bills with Energy Star certified storm windows. They estimate that these savings would pay back the cost of Energy Star certified windows in about six years.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) expressed concern that the EPA is only establishing a program to distinguish between low-E and non-low-E storm windows. They also asked the EPA to consider requiring plant inspections for storm window manufacturers.

“While we appreciate EPA’s acceptance of WDMA comments to improve the consumer checklist as the checklist is critical to ensuring consumers make informed choices with respect to energy efficient improvements to their homes, we remain greatly concerned EPA is establishing a program to simply distinguish between low-E and non-low-E storm windows. We also remain concerned the program lacks provisions for requiring plant inspections for storm window manufacturers wishing to have their low-E storm window products Energy Star qualified,” comments the WDMA in their statement to the EPA.

The EPA responded to WDMA noting that the specification includes solar transmittance and air leakage as additional differentiators, as well as requirements for moisture management features and better installation instructions.

“EPA thanks the commenter for their concern, however, as the commenter also noted, the proposed specification does include solar transmittance and air leakage as additional differentiators. There are also requirements for moisture management features and better installation instructions. Therefore, EPA believes that the specification will differentiate Energy Star certified storm windows from other storm windows in a variety of ways,” says the EPA.

The EPA added in regard to plant inspections, it does not require plant inspections for any of its programs.

“(EPA) reiterates that Energy Star does not require plant inspections for any of its programs. Instead, Energy Star requires certification and verification based on product testing. Certification bodies may independently choose to require plant inspections or other requirements as part of their own certification and verification procedures, independent from Energy Star program requirements,” according to the EPA in their letter.

Another stakeholder suggested that the Energy Star label should include product performance information.

“(EPA) reiterates that the Energy Star program, across all product categories, does not require the actual certified performance values to be included on the label. Building codes may require performance information on other fenestration products, but this is not a requirement of the Energy Star program,” responds the EPA.

The Energy Star Exterior and Interior Storm Windows Version 1.0 specification went into effect on September 5th, 2018.

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