Makers Say .30/.30 Provision is a Big Challenge
May 18, 2009
While the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
of 2009 has raised concerns for many in window companies, they are
not only ones. Some skylight manufacturers have also found issues
with the .30/.30 provision. According to Roger LeBrun, product certification
engineer for VELUX America Inc., the bill was crafted from a windows
"There are no residentially designed skylights on the market
with an NFRC rating that will meet .30/.30," says LeBrun. "The
arbitrary U-factor limits for windows and doors were incorrectly
applied to skylights."
LeBrun explains that vertical windows are installed flush to the
wall, while skylights by code must project 4 inches from the building
in order to not be a hazard to those who may be working on the roof
"In addition, the NFRC rating says the skylight has to be
rated on a 20-percent slope, which induces thermal currents on the
insulating glass," says LeBrun. "If you take a window,
have it rated and it meets .30/.30, that same unit on a 20-percent
slope rates about 70 percent higher."
"There are fundamental differences between skylights and windows,"
adds Chris Magnuson, Wasco president and first vice chair of AAMA's
skylight council. "Skylights always tend to be overlooked."
In a statement from Velux regarding the possible negative impacts
this legislation could have on the skylight industry, company officials
wrote, "We applaud Congress on its support of the depressed
housing market. This stimulus bill can make an impact, but not with
requirements that cannot be achieved."
LeBrun adds, "The only way this can be reversed is through
amending the law; I'm sure that out of that entire document this
is not the only issue and I hope there is an opportunity for a technical
To that end, the company has initiated a grass-roots national legislator
letter writing appeal.
Wasco, located in Maine, is equally concerned and has also contacted
members of Congress including Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan
"Collins' office said they are working to change it while
Snowe's office sent a form letter, which didn't address any of our
issues," said Magnuson. "We've certainly spoken up to
AAMA as well," Magnuson added. "They are definitely aware
that we are in a different situation."
AAMA also initiated a grassroots letter writing campaign and one
of the letters addressed skylights specifically.
"This standard was arbitrarily set for skylights and is virtually
impossible to achieve, and no dual pane unit skylight sold in the
U.S. today meets the stated requirement," the letter stated.
While waiting to see what happens, Magnuson said Wasco is working
on new products.
"We're trying to scramble to come up with a triple-glazed
unit that would qualify," he says.
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