Volume 10, Issue 7 - September 2009

energy and environmental news

House Passes Climate Change Legislation

The House of Representatives recently passed the American Clean Energy & Security Act by a vote of 219-212. The bill would require a 30-percent reduction in energy use relative to a comparable residential structure constructed in compliance with the baseline code, effective January 1, 2015, if enacted.

Effective January 1, 2017, and every three years after, a 5-percent additional reduction in energy use will be required, up until 2030.

If passed, the legislation also will impact the Energy Star® program, and calls for the establishment and implementation of a rating system for products identified as Energy Star products “to provide consumers with the most helpful information on the relative energy efficiency, including cost effectiveness from the consumer’s perspective, and relative length of time for consumers to recover costs attributable to the energy-efficient features of those products.” This would be developed within 18 months of the enactment of the bill, “unless the Administrator and the Secretary communicate to Congress that establishing such a system would diminish the value of the Energy Star brand to consumers.”

The bill also would require a review of the Energy Star product criteria for the 10 product models in each category with the greatest energy consumption at least once every three years. Based on this review, the criteria would be updated and published for each category as necessary.

H.R. 2454 also would require periodic verification of compliance with the Energy Star criteria by products identified as Energy Star-qualified (including doors and windows).

The legislation requests the allotment of $5 million for fiscal year 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter for these changes.

The bill also would establish incentives for financial institutions that “develop loan products and flexible underwriting guidelines to facilitate a secondary market for energy-efficient and location-efficient mortgages on housing for very low-, low- and moderate-income families, and for second and junior mortgages made for purposes of energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements, or both.”

The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D. - Calif.) and Edward Markey (D - Mass.), is now being reviewed in the Senate.

WDMA Works to Get Voice of Industry Heard
Michael O’Brien, executive vice president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, along with his new Washington, D.C.-based legislative team, told DWM in mid-August that he and his staff are just finishing the WDMA’s position on the climate change legislation. He points out that the WDMA’s focus will be on the building code and energy-efficient provisions, rather than other items in the bill.

“While cap and trade is relevant we will really focus on those issues directly affecting the door and window industry,” he says. “There is so much attention placed on cap and trade [by various industry groups] that we need to get the other industry concerns raised to the highest level.”

That was the association’s focus during the August congressional recess—educating key staffers regarding these and other issues.

DOE Issues Transition and Tax Credit Labels
The DOE recently issued a transition label for use in transitioning to the new Energy Star® criteria for qualified doors, windows and skylights. The first phase of the criteria goes into effect on January 4, 2010. In addition, DOE has issued an optional, supplemental label for Energy Star qualified products that are eligible for the recently established tax credit.

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