Might Russian, Bright Russian
The Challenge of Changing the Marketplace in Russia
by Alison Tribble
As the third largest energy consumer in the world, energy efficiency and conservation have become priorities for Russia. This is good news for window manufacturers interested in expanding their businesses.
According to a report published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy¹ (ACEEE), Russia produced approximately 8 million square meters of windows in 2000. Wood frames dominated 60 percent of the market, while vinyl and aluminum products accounted for 25 percent and 15 percent respectively. In the past ten to 15 years, the Russian window market has made the first technology leap to insulating glass units (IGUs) with the result that vinyl and aluminum products are now only available with IGUs.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), demand for efficient window products in Russia exceeds current domestic capacity. Russia is experiencing a construction boom and its government is working to ensure that this construction includes efficient technologies. The government has established the “Housing Restructuring” program, which will support the upgrade or replacement of 700 million square meters of windows at a rate of 40 million square meters per year.
Additionally, President Vladimir Putin has initiated a program to increase home ownership in the nation.
The advent of building energy codes in Russia is also influencing its move toward more efficient window products. Over the past decade, the nation has been developing and implementing building energy codes designed to reduce the energy consumption of buildings. The ACEEE report estimated that the number of regions in the country that have adopted these codes has doubled in the past three years, accounting for 70 percent of new construction and renovation in Russia. Compared to buildings built in 1995, the new codes account for a 40-percent reduction in energy consumption for new and renovated buildings.
The new codes also require the use of a statement of energy performance for a building called the Energy Passport. It is intended as a device for quality control in the design and operation of a building and to provide verification of code compliance.
The window market has also responded to a successful U.S. partnership with Russia. This partnership was formed under the auspices of the United States/Russian Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation, and it is now part of the United States-Russian Energy Working Group, which was adopted by Presidents George W. Bush and Putin in May 2002.
The partnership has been supported strongly by the DOE. Through cooperation and information/technology transfers, Russia has laid a solid foundation for market transformation in the window market.
The Efficient Windows Colla-borative participated in a recent series of workshops held in Russia this past May. Sam Taylor at the DOE worked to involve critical organizations and companies in this event, including NFRC, ASHRAE and a number of research institutes. The workshops were designed to help identify the next steps to market transformation and it created a platform for U.S. manufacturers to describe new technologies for efficient fenestration products.
Russia has made significant strides in transforming its window market to more efficient products. However, the market still has a long way to go. There are great opportunities for manufacturers and component suppliers to help Russia transition to more efficient fenestration products.
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