DOE Adds Commercial Windows to Window Volume
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced on January 24 that Phase II of
the Windows Volume Purchase Program—commonly referred to in the industry
as the R-5 program since it was designed to increase the number of R-5
windows in the marketplace—will include commercial windows.
The R-5 program was launched in May 2010 by DOE with the goal of helping
window buyers and manufacturers through the development of a market for
energy-efficient products at affordable prices. Consumers can visit www.windowsvolumepurchase.org
to purchase energy-efficient windows from qualified vendors. According
to Terry Mapes, energy analyst for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
(PNNL), the goal is to have the program available to all building owners.
Purchase Program U-Factor Criteria
|Residential Products (residential and light commercial)
|Commercial Products (heavy commercial)
|Commercial Products (architectural windows)
“Phase I of the program was necessary to
set up the foundation of operations and we chose to do so by establishing
the program in the residential sector first,” Mapes says. “We now feel
secure enough in those operations to expand to the commercial sector.”
Mapes says the program has received a moderate level of response on Phase
II so far. There will be several different requirements for including
commercial products compared to residential.
“Due to the more stringent requirements placed on commercial windows we
allowed easier U-factor requirements for entry into our program,” Mapes
says (see chart above).
As far as when this program is expected
to be ready, a solicitation was released with a priority deadline of March
18 for inclusion in the first group to be processed (all later responses
will be added to a second group).
“[We] would like to have the products available on the website in early
May,” Mapes says. “The ultimate goal of the program is to make buildings
nationwide more energy-efficient and this must be accomplished for both
the residential and commercial sectors. The window industry understands
that high performance products are the market of the future and we are
hoping to accelerate the movement in this direction.”
USGBC Lawsuit Plaintiffs Add Further
Henry Gifford, an energy savings consultant with Fuel Saving Inc., is
the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that takes aim at the U.S. Green Building
Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
certification system (see November 2010 USGlass, page 14). In court documents
filed in February in a U.S. District Court in New York, Gifford and his
co-plaintiffs allege that USGBC’s advertisements that buildings certified
under its LEED program “are, on average, performing 25-30% better than
non-LEED certified buildings in terms of energy use” are false. The complaint
further alleges the claim that LEED provides third-party verification
that a building was designed and built with energy savings is a falsehood.
Gifford’s complaint contends that there is no “objective empirical support”
for these claims.
The suit alleges that USGBC’s advertising misleads consumers and damages
the plaintiffs by diverting customers to professionals accredited by USGBC
and related parties.
Gifford further claims that USGBC has a large financial incentive to encourage
LEED certification of buildings. “Although USGBC may technically have
501c(3) status [Ed: IRS tax code designation for a not-for-profit group],
it is a big business and, in 2008, reported revenues of $64 million, ”
says the complaint.
So what do the plaintiffs want? They request, among other things, that
the court issue a permanent injunction ordering USGBC to stop advertising
that LEED buildings use less energy than non-LEED certified buildings
or that LEED certification is verification that the building was built
according to plans. They also ask for all the profit USBGC has derived
from the “unlawful acts,” and additional damages.
USGBC will soon file a response.
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