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AAMA Responds to Latest ENERGY STAR® Criteria
April 16, 2009

The Department of Energy (DOE) revisions to the ENERGY STAR® program for windows, doors and skylight performance criteria were finalized April 7, 2009, and will take effect January 1, 2010. Prior to this announcement, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and its members provided comments to the DOE regarding the proposed revisions and offered recommendations regarding performance criteria, categorization and timing that aligned with current economic conditions.

"The DOE has made ongoing efforts to include the industry in the development of ENERGY STAR criteria and in particular to revisions made to the proposed criteria as a result of stakeholder feedback. AAMA members understand the fine balance between the promotion of superior energy performance, technology incentives and providing an affordable purchase option for the consumer," says Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO. "AAMA members also recognize that the ENERGY STAR for Windows program is a very effective vehicle for easy identification and understanding of energy-efficient products by the consumer. Our members are unanimous in their support of the more interactive approach, which encourages input from all industry stakeholders, clarifies DOE's goals and clearly fosters a cooperative effort."

He continues, "AAMA believes that a reaching, yet achievable elevation of energy-saving parameters will have the biggest impact and sustainable improvement. Setting the bar so high that it requires enormous investment in either technology or plant retooling could prolong a fragile economic recovery and delay the opportunity to replace the staggering number of leaky and energy-inefficient windows in the existing housing stock."

To facilitate understanding and promotion in the marketplace, AAMA encouraged DOE to consider changing the criteria to include three climate zones instead of four. However, four zones will continue to be used according to the recently released final criteria. AAMA also sought to align window Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) for Climate Zone 1 with the tax credit for doors and skylights at a value of 0.30.

In addition, AAMA's members requested that all doors be considered as one category, regardless of their operation; sliding glass doors will now be part of the door category.

In addition, AAMA requested a U-factor stretch of 0.03 for high altitude applications, where a breather tube may negate the thermal performance improvements provided by inert gas fill. DOE plans to compile data and determine whether this should be included in the Phase 2 proposal.

For the Northern Zone, the majority of AAMA members agreed that the alternative SHGC trade off criteria (>0.40) for a U-factor of 0.32 be reduced to a SHGC of >0.20 or >0.25 to allow for the use of higher-performing glass that is currently available. DOE chose to retain the criteria levels and limited tradeoffs as previously proposed.

"Through ongoing discussion with the DOE, our members and other industry leaders, AAMA will continue to push the envelope to ensure manufacturers are able to provide products that support the nation's energy-saving programs and achieve the intended economic and environmental goals," says Walker.

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