The Window Film Industry Speaks
Members of the Window Film
Community Comment on the President’s “Better Buildings Initiative”
Earlier this year, President Obama unveiled a five-point
“Better Buildings Initiative” intended to make commercial buildings 20-percent
more energy-efficient by 2020 by catalyzing private sector investment
through a series of incentives that promote energy-efficient building
President Obama stressed in his speech, at Penn State University on February
3, the importance of energy-efficiency to both the environment and the
“Making our buildings more energy-efficient is one of the fastest, easiest
and cheapest ways to save money, combat pollution and create jobs right
here in the United States of America,” said the President in his speech.
“The problem for both homeowners and businesses is they’ll recover the
money that they make by lowering their utility bills, but they may not
have the cash upfront,” continued the President. “And, if we can provide
the American people an incentive, you’ll recover that money. You’ll get
it back. And in the meantime, we’re making our entire economy more efficient.
So steps like these also can boost manufacturing and private sector jobs.”
Window film companies, manufacturers and groups have been sharing their
thoughts and outlook on what this initiative could mean for the window
What is the “Better
The proposed program features five points that will strive
to make commercial buildings 20-percent more energy-efficient by 2020.
The five points consist of:
1. New tax incentives for building efficiency: A redesign of the
current tax deduction is proposed for commercial building upgrades, changing
the current deduction to a credit that is more generous and that will
encourage building owners and real estate investment trusts to retrofit
2. More financing opportunities for commercial retrofits: To address
gaps in access to financing, the Small Business Administration is working
to encourage existing lenders to take advantage of recently increased
loan size limits to promote new energy efficiency retrofit loans for small
3. “Race to Green” for state and municipal governments that streamline
regulations and attract private investment for retrofit projects.
4. The Better Buildings Challenge: The President is challenging CEOs
and university presidents to make their organizations leaders in saving
energy, which will save them money and improve productivity.
5. Training the next generation of commercial building
technology workers: Using existing authorities, the administration
is working to implement a number of reforms, including improving transparency
around energy efficiency performance, launching a Building Construction
Technology Extension Partnership modeled on the Manufacturing Extension
Partnership at Commerce and providing more workforce training in areas
such as energy auditing and building operations.
For more information on the “Better Buildings Initiative” see page
Chris DeLuca, owner, All Pro Window Tinting in Canton, Ga.
"I think it’s a great idea however, with the way the economy
is going, if you are a small fish in this big pond and competing
with the big companies, you need to make sure you are in with an
energy performance company in order to be able to work things. It’s
kind of broad. If someone puts in high-efficiency glass, then there
is no sense in installing window film. It all depends on if it’s
retrofitting or just new products. If it’s retrofitting than it
can work for window film."
Kathryn Giblin, vice president of global marketing, Bekaert Specialty
Films in San Diego, Calif. "We are … excited to
see Obama’s ‘Better Building Initiative’ align with our goals to increase
the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of buildings
across the United States. As the only window film manufacturer to
register an Environmental Product Declaration based on a full Life
Cycle Analysis of our energy saving architectural solar control window
films, Solar Gard is uniquely positioned to assist small businesses,
commercial buildings and universities meet their energy goals. We
are proud to offer a carbon-effective and cost-effective energy solution
and look forward to the opportunities the ‘Better Buildings Initiative’
will provide the window film industry."
Steve Mank, owner, American Window Tinting
Inc. in Denver, CO "On the surface, it appears
that these measures would be a boon to the film industry. However,
his incentives amount to government subsidies, which I am opposed
to. The only way many of these measures will be fiscally attractive
to the private sector is through significant government subsidies
which cost taxpayers inordinately more than the subsidies save. After
all the dust settles, we’ll likely find that all the program served
to do is artificially inflate industry sales ... see the Carter admin
oil shale subsidies."
Rob Oranges, business development manager, Vision Quest Distributing
in Sparks, Nev. "Incentives, and especially financing,
are critical in the retrofit market because most people are already
convinced that they need to make improvements to their buildings,
the problem is that they just do not have the available cash to do
so. This initiative is a great idea but as with all ideas and politics,
a lot of details can change from the time of inception to actual implementation.
We will have to see how this all plays out. There is no doubt though
that huge potential exists for the window film industry. Retrofit
is our primary market and now the Federal Government is proposing
to incentivize it like never before. As an industry I feel that there
is nowhere for us to go but up as far as rebates, incentives, and
financing are concerned."
Lewis Pitzer, special projects coordinator, American Standard Window
Film in Las Vegas "The Better Building Initiative
from Obama would likely have a great impact on our industry. Any energy
efficiency upgrade to commercial buildings should consider retrofitting
existing glazing with window films. Our industry offers excellent,
durable, high performance films that deliver measurable reductions
in energy consumption providing a very reasonable pay-back period.
Products from our industry also offer the additional benefits of enhancing
appearance, increasing safety and improving the interior environment.
I am confident that products from our industry would figure prominently
into a Better Building Initiative and that our industry is prepared
to meet the increased demand that will likely result from this program."
Alison Schell, vice president of 3M energy conservation, 3M Renewable
Energy Division in St. Paul, Minn. "The
Administration’s recently announced building energy efficiency initiatives
will enhance the deployment of energy efficient technologies, while
also assisting manufacturers in advancing technologies to improve
the energy performance of windows. 3M has been actively investing
in the development of transformational window films, striving toward
even more advanced game-changing technologies. The funding support
we received last year from the Department of Defense and Department
of Energy has assisted us in this effort. In addition, we are excited
to be a part of the Penn State Center for High Performance Building
Systems (CHiPBS) that is working to push the envelope towards developing
zero energy buildings in both the retrofit and new construction markets.
We believe that window film manufacturers and the entire nation could
benefit from these efforts to help our country realize its energy
Darrell Smith, executive director, International Window Film Association
(IWFA) "The announcement
by the President is very encouraging news for the window film industry.
We know that the use of energy control window films is one of the
most readily available, technologically proven, cost effective, and
environmentally friendly measures which can be taken to improve energy
efficiency in commercial buildings. However, in the past several years
there have been many well-intended programs which either have not
come to fruition due to inadequate funding, difficulty in implementation,
or else did not get enough political consensus to get Congressional
approval. For these reasons, until we can see the details of an actual
funded program ready to go, it is hard to gauge the real value of
such a proposal by the President. It does show that the issue is still
on the minds of the country’s leadership and should get much press
coverage and discussion, even if there are no other results. As an
industry, we will be tracking progress on these types of programs
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