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USGNN Original StoryDOE's Karney Gives a Few Insights Into ENERGY STAR, Phase Two; Possible Commercial Program
April 27, 2009

A commercial ENERGY STAR program could be on the horizon, reported Richard Karney, program manager for the Department of Energy's (DOE) ENERGY STAR program, during the Northeast Window and Door Association's (NWDA) Educational Seminar and Fly-In, which took place last week in Washington, D.C. Karney also offered some insights regarding ENERGY STAR including a few hints at what the program may look at for the yet-to-be-finalized Phase 2 section of the program.

"We are looking seriously at a commercial windows program," says Karney. "Am I waiting for the National Fenestration Rating Council to get its Component Modeling Approach in use? Yes." He adds that DOE is waiting for funding as well.

"I've always said that a commercial program is a totally different beast than residential."

He also added, "Marc [LaFrance from DOE] and I joke that on the commercial side we should just mandate low-E. The industry tap dances around that."

Speaking about the current program, Karney addressed the final criteria for Phase 1, which was released recently. (CLICK HERE for related story.) He reiterated what the DOE has been saying throughout this process.

"ENERGY STAR has to provide meaningful differentiation," he says. "The label doesn't mean anything anymore."

According to Karney, approximately 60 percent of new construction windows qualify for ENERGY STAR while 90 percent qualify on the remodeling side.

"The label no longer demonstrates superior efficiency."

According to Karney, the new ENERGY STAR criteria will add up to 9.21 trillion BTUs in annual energy savings.

"I'm quite pleased about the energy that will be saved through the new criteria," says Karney.

Giving some insights into the final criteria, he says the DOE didn't want to go higher than a .32 U factor in anticipation of possible code changes in 2012. According to Karney, ENERGY STAR's goal is to exceed code.

Although the new criteria goes into effect on January 4, 2010, and the transition period ends March 31, 2010, Karney says he'd like to see these windows produced right away.

"I'd like to see manufacturers start making these windows now," he says.

Phase 2 of ENERGY STAR has not yet been finalized and the DOE won't look at that phase until the fall of this year.

He says the objectives of the second phase include addressing issues raised during phase one, such as looking at exceptions for products installed in high-altitude areas.

"I felt uncomfortable making that exception [in Phase 1] but it is something we will look at," he says.

Manufacturers are also asking that the DOE consider life cycle analysis and embodied energy considerations in Phase 2, as well as credits for recycling. Karney says all of this will be considered in the second phase, though he admits, "I don't know where it will lead us."

Karney also says that some individuals have made comments requesting a separate program for new construction and remodeling. "Maybe we will look at this as well," he says.

As far as other new initiatives, Karney says the DOE is looking at working with Ducker Research to collect door and window shipment data.

"That shipment data will help us [collect data] from an overall energy savings perspective," he says.

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