Efforts Continue to Include Curtainwall, Storefront in Building STAR
May 27, 2010

Earlier this week the High Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC) hosted a luncheon in Washington, D.C., to discuss how Building STAR legislation can bring both energy savings as well as job creation for the commercial construction industry (CLICK HERE for related article). The Building STAR legislation has also seen support from a number of industry associations, as it offers a number of opportunities for the glass and glazing industry.

"Commercial construction is in rough shape. Industry unemployment is averaging 25 percent and is above 50 percent in some markets," says Kurt Shickman, director of research for the Energy Future Coalition, a non-partisan energy policy coalition, funded by the U.N. Foundation, aimed at bringing diverse stakeholders together behind the issues of clean energy, energy efficiency and energy security. "Building STAR rebates are designed to not only create jobs, but to do so quickly after passage. We estimate that Building STAR will create 150,000 to 200,000 jobs, primarily in construction, by the end of 2011. These are high-skill, homegrown jobs that pay good wages."

According to Shickman, Building STAR includes a two-tiered rebate for punched-hole windows that meet climate-specific efficiency levels.

"We were careful not to take a one-size-fits-all approach to setting the window performance levels that qualify for a rebate. Rebates for Tier 1 windows are $150 per window. More stringent Tier 2-qualified windows would earn $300 per window in rebates (CLICK HERE for more information and details on all the rebates in this document).

However, one concern that has been raised regarding the Building STAR legislation is the fact that curtainwall and storefront products were not included. Shickman says steps are being taken to address this concern.

"The Building STAR coalition has been working with a number of glass industry groups and experts to develop a rebate for curtainwall and storefront windows. We expect that there will be opportunities for further consultation with Congress before passage, and we will work in good faith to get the results of that collaboration included in the legislation," says Shickman.

Groups, such as AAMA, have taken an active part in working to advance the use of high-performance glazing materials, which can help create energy-efficient buildings.

"According to the Energy Information Agency, buildings account for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and more than 70 percent of electricity use," says Rich Walker, AAMA president and chief executive officer. "As an active participant in the National Institute of Building Science's - High Performance Buildings Council, AAMA has worked with our allies in the building community to raise awareness of these issues to policymakers, building owners and the public."

Walker adds, "Congress first addressed high-performance buildings in Section 914 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. NIBS brought together approximately 100 private sector and governmental organizations in a High Performance Buildings Council to perform an assessment of existing and new high performance building standards. Task forces examined the state-of-the-art of buildings and how to improve buildings in the areas of cost effectiveness, safety and security, sustainability, accessibility, functionality, productivity, historic preservation and aesthetics. NIBS then prepared a report to Congress on next steps and tasked its High Performance Buildings Council to carry forward the work in concert with the building industry (CLICK HERE to read that report)."

Walker says AAMA strongly supports efforts by Congress to authorize and appropriate funding to allow more progress through energy efficient products, including the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition.

CLICK HERE to read more about Building STAR.

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