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November - December 2002

High Energy

ENERGY STAR® Education 
New Market Data and Movement in the Northeast
by Kate Offringa

While most fenestration manufacturers selling in the Northeast are ENERGY STAR® partners, most retailers and wholesalers in New England, New York and New Jersey are not familiar with ENERGY STAR windows. According to a recent study commissioned by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships Inc. (NEEP), significant confusion exists among retailers regarding the differences among ENERGY STAR, state codes, manufacturer brands, National Fenestration Rating Council requirements and high efficiency techniques (e.g., low-E and Argon). NEEP has found that retailers are willing to educate its customers about ENERGY STAR, but the majority lack training.

In response to this situation, NEEP and its sponsors plan to develop and implement a regional ENERGY STAR® windows initiative in 2003. This new program will be based on the results of its 2002 market study.

Market Data
The study, funded through a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to NEEP, sought to characterize the residential windows market in the Northeast (six New England states plus New York and New Jersey). As part of this characterization, NEEP contracted Quantec to develop baseline market share estimates for ENERGY STAR windows for the Northeast region, and individually for the eight states in the study area. The overall regional penetration rate for ENERGY STAR windows based on manufacturer's data was estimated at 43 percent. Data for these market share estimates were collected primarily by D&R International as part of its work for DOE to develop a national market share estimate for ENERGY STAR windows.

The Quantec team completed two primary data collection efforts directed to upstream market actors. The first was manufacturer interviews where a sample of 11 manufacturers were interviewed. The second method was retailer/wholesaler interviews. In this method Quantec completed 100 telephone interviews with retailer and wholesaler representatives.

Preliminary results from the study show the total market size for windows in the area to be 5.4 million units. 

Program Development
Beginning in 2003, NEEP is planning to undertake a regional initiative with a two-year objective to increase the market share of ENERGY STAR windows to at least 70 percent in New England, New York and New Jersey. This regional initiative will be developed through a partnership involving rate payer-funded programs, window manufacturers and retailers and state energy offices.

NEEP plans to educate retailers so they can explain the energy and non-energy benefits of ENERGY STAR windows to their customers properly. The Efficient Windows Collaborative, a national market transformation initiative, will provide informational tools for incorporation into NEEP's educational programs.

NEEP may also consider a long-term goal of establishing energy-efficient/ENERGY STAR windows as the residential building energy code minimum for new and replacement windows in Northeast states. The specifics of the program approach depend in part on the participation of energy efficiency program administrators in the Northeast as well as the fenestration industry. 


Kate Offringa is a program manager at the Alliance to Save Energy in Washington, DC. There she works on several projects including the Efficient Windows Collaborative.


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