Commercial Windows Included in Phase II of Window Volume Purchase Program
February 1, 2011

The Department of Energy announced last week that Phase Two of the Windows Volume Purchase Program, commonly referred to in the industry as the R-5 program, will include commercial windows. According to Terry Mapes, energy analyst for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the goal is to have the program available to all building owners, both residential and commercial. 

“Phase I of the program was necessary to set up the foundation of operations and we chose to do so by establishing the program in the residential sector first,” says Mapes. “We now feel secure enough in those operations to expand to the commercial sector.”

Mapes says they have so far received a moderate level of response so far.

“But one year ago we released the solicitation for Phase I and anticipated five to 20 responses. Ultimately we received 62 responses and we therefore understand how difficult it is to gauge the number of parties who have not yet made us aware of their interest.”

He adds that there are some currently certified vendors who also sell commercial windows, though not through this particular program. 

“We will not know exactly how many vendors will participate in Phase II until late March,” he says.

There will be several different requirements for including commercial products compared to residential.

Window Volume Purchase Program
U-Factor Criteria
The following indicates the U-factor requirement for windows by classification type:
Product Type
Fixed/Operable

Residential Products
(Residential and light commercial)

0.20/0.22
Commercial Products
(heavy commercial)
0.24/0.27
Commercial Products
(Architectural windows)
0.27/0.32

“Due to the more stringent requirements placed on commercial windows we allowed easier U-factor requirements for entry into our program,” says Mapes (see chart).

As far as when this program is expected to be ready, Mapes says a solicitation has been released and they have issued a priority deadline of March 18 to be included in the first group to be processed (all later responses will be added to a second group).

“We will verify the product information and would like to have the products available on the website in early May,” says Mapes. “The ultimate goal of the program is to make buildings nationwide more energy efficient and this must be accomplished for both the residential and commercial sectors. The window industry understands that high performance products are the market of the future and we are hoping to accelerate the movement in this direction.”

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