Speaking before members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA)
at the association's annual technical conference in Chicago in May, Mark LaFrance,
technology development manager for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced
a change to the DOE's ENERGY STAR program.
The DOE has implemented a performance-based rating system for the South and
South/Central (excluding California) areas of the United States, thus allowing
trade-offs in these areas. According to LaFrance, trade-offs deliver equivalent
average energy performance when integrated over the specific region. He added
that the DOE's rationale for this announcement includes the following:
LaFrance noted that the rationale excludes the Northern and North/Central zones,
which allow no latitude for trade-offs. He also pointed out that California is
excluded from the South/Central because viable trade-offs did not work when it
was included. Additionally, California has very large populations living in moderate
LaFrance also added that this change offers equal or greater average energy
savings than the current perspective criteria, while providing greater flexibility
in U-factor performance ratings. It also meets or exceeds prescriptive building
energy codes in the applicable regions, while enhancing the value of the program.
While the changes made by DOE appear to result in equivalent energy savings,
many WDMA members believe that the ENERGY STAR changes will complicate the otherwise
simple rating system, and cost more energy by allowing lower performing products
to claim ENERGY STAR ratings.
"The products actually labeled as ENERGY STAR often exceed the required
minimum values," said Jeff Lowinski, WDMA's acting president. "Using
the new trade offs, some WDMA members are concerned that the minimum product may
be allowed to be used, instead of the higher-efficiency product."
Lowinski acknowledges, however, that ENERGY STAR trade-offs may be needed in
the future to give credit for dynamic glazing systems.