House Bill on Energy Efficiency Could Impact Commercial Glass Usage

The United States House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 3221, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007 on August 4. Some of the bill's proposals aimed at modernizing the country's energy infrastructure could eventually have an impact on the use of glass in commercial buildings.
According to information from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the bill would require:

  • A 30-percent reduction in energy use from the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential buildings and from the 2004 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard 90.1 for commercial buildings by 2010;
  • A 50-percent reduction of the same by 2020; and
  • That 100-percent of all commercial building be zero-net energy by 2050.

Part 4, section 9044 establishes the zero-energy commercial buildings initiative. The goal of the initiatives is to "periodically study and refine a national goal to reduce commercial building energy use and achieve zero-net-energy commercial buildings."

Part 4 also establishes that a high-performance green building is a building that "improves indoor environmental quality, including reducing indoor pollution, improving thermal comfort, and improving lighting and acoustic environments that affect occupant health and productivity …"

Among several high-performance green building practices, the bill recommends further research into the relationships between health and occupant productivity and natural daylighting, among other things.

The bill also lists incentives to improve commercial building energy efficiency. Among the incentives suggested are trade-in programs for the early retirement of low-efficiency commercial building system components, including windows.