DOE Considers Expanding R5 Window Volume Purchase Program, According to Recent Webinar
August 2, 2010

The Department of Energy is considering expanding its R5 volume purchase program to include a commercial aspect, according to a recent webinar on the topic.

"We're considering adding different window types, windows for more commercial building applications," said Graham Parker of Pacific Northwest Laboratories, who was one of several speakers.

He added that the commercial component mainly would focus on high-rise buildings-those above three stories.

In addition, Parker advised his company, which has worked with DOE on the program development, is looking at raising the structural performance grade required by the program, "as suggested by window vendors and buyers."

DOE also is considering changing some of the specifications required of the windows included, Parker said-for example, the possibility of adding a regional solar heat gain coefficient to the program.

Jason Bogovich, manager of Energetics Inc., said he thinks the program fits in perfectly with some of the others under consideration, including possible Home Star legislation.

"The timing couldn't be much better with what's happening in policy and in products-the Home Star program, which is still under consideration, the Better Building Initiative and also the energy tax credit," he said.

He added, "We kind of want to make everyone aware of this window of savings that is currently available."

Bogovich described the process the group is using to promote the program as "boots on the ground strategy."

"We want to use [our] relationships to really get down to the local level," he said. Targeted audiences of the R5 program include homebuilders, contractors, weatherization agencies, apartment owners and operators, non-profit agencies and state and local governments.

"A large part of this is regional workshops," he explained.

Christian Kohler, who is with the windows and daylighting research group of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, explained that one goal of the program is to reduce carbon emissions, "starting with buildings."

"The window is responsible for 15 to 17 percent of energy use," he said. "That represents $13 billion a year in energy costs."

Nils Peterman of the Alliance to Save Energy, a program led by the University of Minnesota, explained that one important aspect of the R5 program is the breadth that it covers.

"Another important aspect is that all the different components of the window are being accounted for-it's not just the glass or frame system," he said.

CLICK HERE for more information on the program.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.