Trade Organizations Critical of EPA's Initial
Efforts to Expand the Lead; Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program
Rule to Commercial Buildings
July 8, 2010
A recent notice of proposed rulemaking from the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) could have an impact on commercial window contractors.
The EPA issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM)
to expand its Lead; Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program (LRRP)
to commercial and public buildings. A coalition of building industry
associations, including the Window and Door Manufacturers Association,
Associated Builders and Contractors and Associated General Contractors,
are critical of this proposed rule and have submitted comments to
the EPA against the efforts.
In its comments the coalition notes that the "EPA must consider
a variety of factors in any rulemaking efforts related to RRP activities
in commercial and public buildings. For example, the Agency should
take into account the fact that [renovation, repair and painting]
RRP activities in commercial and public buildings may present very
different patterns of exposure to lead-based paint hazards than
the [renovation, repair and painting] RRP activities in residential
settings on which the Agency has previously focused."
The coalition adds that the EPA should consider "the very
limited use of lead-based paint in commercial buildings since 1978
[and] the potential impacts that the imposition of regulatory
requirements may have on other national priorities such as increasing
Looking at the issue of energy efficiency specifically, the coalition
says, "According to the Department of Energy, the commercial
buildings sector accounts for 46 percent of total building energy
use in the United States. The Pew Center on Climate Change recently
reported that lack of funds and financing, especially due to the
recession and frozen lending market, is the single greatest impediment
for capital investments in energy efficiency. In response to such
circumstances, there are multiple federal initiatives that are intended
to encourage and provide financial incentives for commercial building
owners and managers to renovate and remodel their assets to increase
These examples demonstrate that the Obama
Administration, leaders in Congress, and state and local governments
have all emphasized that increased energy efficiency in our public
and commercial buildings is a compelling public policy objective.
Based on the information provided in the ANPRM, EPA has not sufficiently
considered how such energy efficiency initiatives will be impacted
by contemplated RRP regulations on lead-based paint in commercial
and public buildings."
The coalition continues, "There is a clear relationship between
energy efficiency projects and commercial renovation lead-based
paint rules. More than 75 percent of buildings that exist in urban
areas today will still be standing in 2030, and these are the exact
buildings that will benefit the most from energy retrofit projects
in terms of reduced and more efficient energy consumption. But such
building rehabilitations are also the same projects that are likely
to trigger the potential exterior and interior RRP rules currently
contemplated by EPA. These RRP rules could likely impose regulatory
costs that are so high they would nullify any financial incentives
offered for energy efficiency projects, and thereby discourage building
upgrades designed to lower power consumption, reduce greenhouse
gas emissions, and create jobs as part of a new energy economy."
Jeff Inks, WDMA vice president of codes and regulatory affairs,
adds, "As we stated in our comments, WDMA and the coalition
do not believe that the EPA has the authority under the Toxic Substances
Control Act to impose the new regulations they are considering for
public and commercial buildings. We also believe that EPA has much
more work to do before it can reasonably conclude these regulations
are necessary." He continues, "We're very concerned that
these regulations would unduly discourage needed building improvements
in public and commercial buildings, especially the replacement of
windows and doors, without providing a clear benefit."
Some companies in the window replacement industry also have concerns
about the proposed rules. Tom Wright with Sound Glass Sales in Tacoma,
Wash., says his company has had to add about 25 percent in additional
costs to the customers.
"This is hurting sales. Not to mention that there are a lot
of companies not following the program and they our under cutting
us," says Wright. "They [the EPA] put in all kinds of
regulations without any plan or thought of how to regulate them.
All this is doing is creating stress for the contractor and customer."
In addition to its ANPRM, EPA announced it will extend the comment
period for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Lead; Clearance
and Clearance Testing Requirements for the Renovation, Repair, and
Painting Program rule until August 6 (CLICK
HERE to read the notice). Under this proposal, the current regulations
would be expanded to require renovation firms to perform more regimented
dust wipe sampling after certain renovations including replacement
of door and window frames, and for the samples to be tested by an
EPA accredited lab.
HERE to read the coalition's comments.
Need more info and analysis about the issues?
HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.