Windows research in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Berkeley Lab is aimed at developing new glazing materials, windows simulation software and other advanced high-performance window systems.
Windows research in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Berkeley Lab is aimed at developing new glazing materials, windows simulation software and other advanced high-performance window systems.

WASHINGTON, DC - Keep ENERGY STAR-rated windows and skylights affordable for the average American consumer -- and don't make energy-efficient options difficult to identitfy. That is the call this week to President Obama from fenestration industry leaders and the Coalition for Home Energy Efficiency. The partners are launching a broad consumer-education campaign, starting with a Change.org petition to Mr. Obama and the U.S. Congress opposing proposed changes to the ENERGY STAR program.

"The ENERGY STAR program enjoys the support of consumers, retailers, and manufacturers," said Michael O'Brien, CEO of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. "We think it's worth saving and that's why our association is supporting the Coalition's efforts."

WDMA says its members are united in their concern about an apparent change in direction for the ENERGY STAR Program away from identifying cost-effective energy efficient products for a broad consumer market. WDMA counts many past and current winners of ENERGY STAR Partner Awards among its members, proof of the industry's long-standing commitment to the program.

For more than 20 years, ENERGY STAR has offered consumers an easy choice: Buy ENERGY STAR and know that you will protect the environment and save money through lower utility bills. Families and businesses have saved nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the past two decades by choosing the ENERGY STAR label, according the Environmental Protection Agency. More than 80% of Americans recognize the label and its meaning.

Now, there is a proposal in Washington that would set the requirements for ENERGY STAR windows and skylights at a point where the products would become so expensive, the average consumer would not be able to recoup the additional cost in a reasonable amount of time. The proposed version 6 criteria would change required energy-performance ratings for windows and skylights in large parts of the country, making triple-paned products or the use of expensive technologies the most viable ways for manufacturers to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.

Most ENERGY STAR windows sold now are more affordable, double-paned products. Energy efficient double-paned windows still would be widely available to consumers, but shoppers would need to decipher U-factors, solar heat gain coefficients, and other such data on their own to decide which windows are a good value. The proposed new rules would effectively strip average consumers of the "easy choice" upon which they've learned to rely, say ENERGY STAR supporters.

Learn more about the Coalition and the Save ENERGY STAR campaign at www.CoalitionforEnergyEfficiency.org.

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