Volume 2   Issue 3               Fall 2001


DOE Releases Energy Roadmap

The Department of Energy and the building envelope industry—which produces walls, floors and ceilings—have released a 20-year plan to make homes more energy-efficient and more comfortable and healthy for their occupants. In this project, the two have produced The Building Envelope Technology Roadmap to guide cooperation among researchers, industry and state and federal governments to make homes more energy-efficient. The guide addresses industry trends such as increased competition, consumer demands for lower-cost and lower-maintenance houses, reduced environmental impact, technological developments and market barriers to new innovations.

“While the Energy Department has invested in technologies that make buildings more energy efficient for many years, this roadmap reflects a new way of doing business. It is an industry-led effort, created by our industry partners,” said Spencer Abraham, secretary of energy. “This roadmap will help business and government better align our research, development and deployment priorities and leverage our resources for greater impact.”

By 2020, the industry predicts that building envelopes will be net producers of energy, with movable walls and rooms that adapt to changing needs and environmental factors. In addition, the building envelopes of 2020 are expected to adjust the interior climate based on the weather and provide naturally derived lighting and ventilation, according to the Department of Energy.

Canada Makes Energy Plans; Hopes to Institute Energy Star® Program

In October 2000, Natural Resources Canada’s (NRC) Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) issued a proposal to amend the Regulations of Canada’s Energy Efficiency Act to require testing, verification and labeling of factory-built fenestration products that are traded inter-provincially or are imported into Canada.

NRC received its final comments on the proposal on January 15, 2001, as requested from manufacturers of windows, skylights and door systems, trade associations, test and simulation laboratories, federal departments and provincial governments and standards-writing organizations. In response to these comments, NRC is considering the following actions:

• Delaying the implementation of minimum energy efficiency levels;
• Requiring labeling for energy efficiency values only;
• Modifying the requirement for independent third-party verification of energy efficiency values; and
• Introducing a Canadian Energy Star® high-efficiency program for windows, skylights and sliding glass doors.

NRC plans to issue a revised proposal early this fall and says it will continue to review these issues.

PGMC Promotes Low-E Legislation

The Primary Glass Manufactur-ers Council (PGMC) is leading an aggressive campaign to promote the use of low-E glass through federal policies developed by the Bush administration and in Congress. Several U.S. bills, now in their early stages, may include mortgage preference incentives or tax deductions for homes using low-E glass, tax credits for commercial buildings or homes using low-E glass, expanded application of federal initiatives such as the Energy Star® program and promulgation of minimum standards for glass products in local building codes. 

PGMC’s platform paper has been developed and already has been presented to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee. Plans are underway for additional presentations to a wide range of elected officials and their staffs involved in the policy development process. In addition, PGMC’s message was presented during a public hearing held on June 26 in Washington, D.C., on the administration’s new national energy policy.

Home Depot Shows Surge in Energy Purchases

Home Depot Inc., which is based in Atlanta, recently announced it has seen strong increases in sales of home energy consumption products for the first five months of this year. The company issued a statement saying that unit sales of a range of insulation products, energy-efficient lighting and solar-reducing window treatments have surpassed the previous year’s sales by approximately 25 percent. Home Depot calculated this figure based on the sales of items such as insulating windows, light-reducing window film and blinds. In addition, the company noted that home generator sales are up, particularly in California, where the store has seen more than a 100-percent increase.

Senate Bill 5 Under Consideration in Texas 

A bill presently being considered by the Texas State Legislature could make single-lite glass obsolete in most parts of Texas, is being considered by the state’s legislature presently. 

Senate Bill 5 gives the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission authority to establish programs that encourage emission reductions, primarily through incentives, with the expectation that Texas will become compliant with the Federal Clean Air Act by 2007.

“This may require insulating glass in most every installation [in Texas] with the exception of the panhandle,” said Virginia Lee of the Texas Glass Association. “This would pretty much be revolutionary to the industry,” she added. Other solutions, which comply with the mandate, such as window film and processes that reduce heat emissions and help conserve energy, are also acceptable.

Lee said local jurisdictions have until September 1, 2002 for adoption and organization of the code, and should be enforced by January 1, 2003.

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