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USGNN Original StoryZero-Energy Goal Set with Signing of Energy Independence and Security Act

Among the vehicle fuel and lighting efficiency standards included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which President Bush signed into law yesterday morning, the new law sets a goal for developing and disseminating "technologies, practices, and policies for the development and establishment of zero net energy commercial buildings for:

1) any commercial building newly constructed in the United States by 2030;

2) 50 percent of the commercial building stock of the United States by 2040; and

3) all commercial buildings in the United States by 2050."

Zero-net-energy commercial buildings are defined by the law as high-performance commercial buildings designed, constructed and operated:

1) "to require a greatly reduced quantity of energy to operate;

2) to meet the balance of energy needs from sources of energy that do not produce greenhouse gases;

3) in a manner that will result in no net emissions of greenhouse gases; and

4) to be economically viable."

Unlike the similar H.R. 3221, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007, approved by the House of Representatives, there are no specific references in the Energy Independence Act to windows or glass products. However, glass industry experts agree that to become zero-net-energy, reducing energy usage is the first step. As increased daylighting is one way of reducing the use of electric lights, highly efficient glass products will play an important role in creating zero-net-energy buildings.

"Low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) is something that is widely available on the market right now," says Serge Martin, vice president of marketing of AGC Flat Glass in Alpharetta, Ga.

"I think the next step in insulating value is probably going to come from triple-glazed [units]," suggests Mike Rupert, director of technical services for Pittsburgh-based PPG.

John Lewis, technical director of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, expects that "highly-efficient low-E glazing with gas filling" will become more commonly used to create zero-net-energy buildings. "Framing materials will be driven to provide less conductance to heat flow," Lewis adds.

For more information about the law, and how it will impact the glass industry, look for future issues of USGlass magazine.

CLICK HERE to read the White House announcement about the President signing the bill.

CLICK HERE to comment on the bill and how you expect it to impact the commercial glass industry.

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