Volume 12, Issue 2 - March 2011

Energy and Environmental News

DOE Moves into Phase Two of Windows Volume Purchase Program
Department of Energy officials say they are now moving into phase two of the Windows Volume Purchase Program, commonly referred to as the R-5 program. During a recent meeting of the Northeast Window and Door Association (NWDA), Terry Mapes, energy analyst for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, pointed out that there a few significant changes that will take place in phase two. This includes the addition of commercial products to the program, a database that will allow website users to enter criteria to filter results, certification of storm window products and tier pricing for large quantities.

Additionally, vendor prices will now be shown on the website. Their inclusion has been a subject of debate in the past, as many manufacturers did not want to see prices listed. In fact, during the meeting an attendee asked why price would be listed.

“Ninety percent of users said it didn’t amount to more than a Google™ search,” said Mapes. “They wanted the price shown.”

One manufacturer who did not participate in phase one told Mapes his company had refrained from the program due to pricing and the fact that there are different prices in different geographic regions. The manufacturer asked about a list price and
Mapes said that if a manufacturer wants to publicize a list price that is acceptable.

Mapes also talked about the future of the program and how far it will extend beyond R-5.

“Our long range goal is R-10,” said Mapes. “We realize [it] will take a considerable amount of time to get there.”

“Energy Star® did a great job of taking the industry from single-pane to double-pane,” he adds. “What we’re trying to do is take the industry to the next era.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the high-performance windows program, be sure to mark your calendar for Fenestration Day™ on April 7, 2011, in Indianapolis. The event is sponsored by DWM magazine. (See page 32 for more details).

DOE and HUD Announce
Energy-Efficient Improvement Programs

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the launch of the Home Energy Score pilot program. The Home Energy Score will offer homeowners reliable information about their homes’ energy efficiency, according to a DOE announcement.

The report provides consumers with a home energy score between 1 and 10, and shows them how their home compares to others in their region. “The report also includes customized, cost-effective recommendations that will help to reduce their energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes,” said the DOE announcement.

Under this voluntary program, trained and certified contractors will use a standardized assessment tool developed by DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to quickly evaluate a home and generate useful, actionable information for homeowners or prospective homebuyers. With only about 40 inputs required, the Home Energy Scoring Tool lets a contractor evaluate a home’s energy assets. For each specific improvement, the estimated utility bill savings, payback period, and greenhouse gas emission reductions are included.

The Home Energy Score initially will be tested with local government, utility, and non-profit partners in ten pilot communities across the country. After the pilot tests conclude in late-spring 2011, DOE expects to launch the Home Energy Score nationally later next year, based on the findings from the initial programs.

In addition, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced a new pilot program that will offer credit-worthy borrowers low-cost loans to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these new FHA PowerSaver loans will offer homeowners up to $25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, including the installation of doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels and geothermal systems.

At press time, pilot tests were scheduled to be held in ten communities across the country, and the national program was expected to launch late in 2011.



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