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USGNN Original StoryIndustry Reps Speak Before DOE

Several industry representatives spoke before representatives from the Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday, October 26, about the upcoming changes to the criteria for ENERGY STAR® windows.

Among these representatives were Margaret Webb, executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), and John Lewis, technical director for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). Webb presented electronically via the web for an hour and a half.

"They wanted information on insulating glass [IG] certification, which of course the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is looking at," she says. "It's basically the same presentation and the same results the task group that NFRC had offered. It's not like this is new and they haven't had this information before."

In addition, she provided an overview of what IG certification is and the various roles it plays.

"For the most part it was just an overview of IG," Webb says. "They wanted information from the 25-year field correlation study."

Along with representing IGMA, Webb, who originally was supposed to only speak for 20 minutes, also presented on behalf of the Insulating Glass Industry Durability Advisory Group (IGIDAG), a group that IGMA administers.

"There had been some back and forth between IGIDAG and DOE and I addressed the questions that we could and some of the information I couldn't provide because it doesn't exist," she says. "They wanted an exact number of windows that are manufactured without certified insulating glass units [IGUs]."

Webb says this number is one that hasn't been discovered as far as she is aware.

"The NFRC conducted a survey of their members. They sent out 400 surveys and got 106 back and at that point they estimated that 40 percent of manufacturers don't purchase or fabricate certified IGUs. But [the survey] doesn't consider volume of the manufacturers."

She notes that most large window manufacturers do utilize certified IGUs, and if they're the ones that responded to the survey that they do-then the percentage of total windows that utilize certified IGUs (as opposed to manufacturers) could be much higher.

"Typically we find large window manufacturers do use certified IGUs and the survey didn't differentiate between residential and commercial," Webb says. "Most of the large residential manufacturers do use certified IGUs, [but] smaller companies may not."

She says IGIDAG has requested this information from NFRC, but hasn't received a response.

Webb says the DOE was also looking for information about the failure rate of non-certified IGUs, but that there are currently no field studies available about non-certified IGUs.

The DOE was looking for information on the energy loss of IGUs that fail and was hoping that IGIDAG might undertake research into this topic.

"[We suggested that] the DOE could request this work from a national lab," she says. "[IGIDAG] is an advisory group, not a group that undertakes research."

Replacement costs (and therefore the energy involved) were also an issue.

"The replacement cost could be based on the sale price, but you'd also have to take into account the labor cost," she says. "If it was a curtainwall in a 100-story building and the failure occurred on the 70th floor, all of a sudden you've got to get staging and all that, to have to order it after the fact, that would also make the cost to replace it quite high. So what we recommended to DOE is that they conduct a market survey in various regions to provide baseline estimates."

Lewis said the DOE's main interest from AAMA was how its members responded to the group's initial letter to industry stakeholders about the upcoming changes to the program.

"We took that letter and distributed it to the membership and we discussed this at length at our Orlando conference," he says. "They agreed that updating the ENERGY STAR requirements was something that needed to happen, but my message was from the members to the DOE was that we wanted to be sure that this is done in kind of a phased approach and that any of the changes that would be implemented could be done without total re-design of the fenestration systems."

Overall, Lewis says the meeting was successful as far as he was concerned.

"[The DOE representatives] were quite interested in what the opinions were and we got some feedback as far as the timelines," he says. "I think it was a positive meeting. Some of their thoughts were on a phased-in approach. We had some things we posed that piqued their interest and we'll have to see where this goes."

Stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for further updates.

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