Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Faces Huge CutsMarch 9th, 2017 by Editor
An office within the Department of Energy (DOE) that does extensive work with fenestration technology could be facing massive cuts under a proposed Trump administration budget plan.
The news comes a day after plans were revealed to “closeout or transfer” the Environmental Protection Agency’s popular Energy Star program.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), currently funded at $2.1 billion a year, could see its budget slashed by $700 million to $1.4 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg that cites three people briefed on the plans who requested anonymity.
“It would be a very, very significant cut,” Dan Reicher, who led the office during the Clinton administration, told Bloomberg. “Clearly this would have some very serious impacts on some very important programs.”
Jack Spencer, a vice president at the conservative Heritage Foundation who was a member of President Trump’s DOE transition team, told Bloomberg that EERE’s mission interferes with the functions of a free market.
“EERE’s objectives boil down to using taxpayer dollars to purposefully distort energy markets by picking winners and losers,” he said. “This should not be the role of government, and Washington should have more faith in the American people.”
EERE manages many programs related to doors and windows, such as Zero Energy Ready Homes, which are verified by a qualified third party and are at least 40 to 50 percent more energy efficient than a typical new home. They require high-performance windows as part of the building envelope.
In 2016, EERE funded research into a prototype of a portable window energy meter that measures the thermal and optical properties of windows in their actual settings.
In 2015, EERE’s State Energy Program (SEP) offered up to $5 million in grants to U.S. states that develop innovative approaches and solutions to boosting energy efficiency and renewable energy.
In 2013, EERE helped fund a research project showing that it takes two decades or more for triple-pane windows to pay off financially based on utility-bill savings.
In 2009, DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), on behalf of the EERE, awarded GED Integrated Solutions Inc. a Production Engineering and Commercialization of Residential R-5 Highly Insulating Windows research and development grant. The grant aimed to assist in the company’s effort to design and develop a high-volume automated manufacturing system that results in a high-performance R-5 value window system, and will enhance the industry’s ability to provide homeowners with affordable, highly-efficient residential windows at minimal cost.