Volume 13, Issue 5 - June 2012

Energy & Environmental News

ANSI Hosts Exploratory Meeting for Energy Efficiency Standards Panel

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) of Washington, D.C., hosted a meeting to explore the need for a potential ANSI Energy Efficiency Standards Panel on April 25 at the FHI 360 Conference Center in Washington, D.C.

The meeting included two panel discussions moderated by Jim Pauley, senior vice president of external affairs and government relations at Schneider Electric USA and chairman of the ANSI board of directors, and a moderated question-and-answer session.

During the first panel, federal agency representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) shared their perspective on the energy efficiency imperative, while speakers of the second panel discussed the current energy landscape of the country.

“Energy efficiency is a critical element in energy policies and public policies,” Pauley said. “But do the various interested stakeholders have an understanding of what’s going on in the energy spectrum? Is there an opportunity to harmonize in the different areas? Are there properly trained people in those areas? Should there be a standard on that?”

Pauley said organizers aimed the meeting to bring clarity on what’s available, where the gaps are and how those gaps can be filled. “The purpose of a standards panel is not to develop standards; that is up to the standards developers,” he said. “The objective is to promote standards solutions to move energy efficiency forward.”

During a question-and-answer session after the first panel, Pauley told the attendees that “there are snake-oil sellers out there, and we need to differentiate between them and the real sellers of energy-efficient products. There needs to be mechanisms in place to differentiate, and there needs to be standards in place. Where there’s demand for energy efficiency, there’s potential for standards.”

"There needs to be mechanisms in place to differentiate, and there needs to be standards in place. Where there’s demand for energy efficiency, there’s potential for standards."
— Jim Pauley, ANSI

Sara Hayes, senior researcher with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy in Washington, D.C., kicked off the second panel with her presentation “Energy Efficiency: the U.S. Outlook.”

“The EPA has a sweep of regulations coming up that will affect a whole bunch of power sector segments between 2015 and 2017, and this comes along with the hike in gas prices,” Hayes said. There is a 3- to 5-percent gap between demand and what’s available, according to Hayes. “Energy efficiency is the right response to that, because there is lots of it and it is quickly deployed,” she said.

Energy efficiency investments can save consumers trillions of dollars, and the EPA has recognized that energy efficiency is a low-cost reform, she said. However, “there is a real lack of information on energy-efficiency opportunities out there,” Hayes said. “Dialogue and training needs to be improved between states’ energy offices, air regulators and utility regulators. Programs to help people overcome the upfront costs, such as financing and loan programs, need to be in place. Financial incentives have to be aligned, and technical assistance to states, including tools to include energy efficiency in air quality plans, need to be implemented.”

Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation in Washington, D.C., also spoke. “There are a whole bunch of ratings and disclosures and they are not all compatible, some share the same anchors, some do not,” he said. “Ratings and disclosure mandates in the U.S. are not even and are a gathering trend.”

When performance is measured, performance improves, Majersik said, and when performance is rated and reported back, improvement accelerates.

Adoption of 2012 IgCC Will Mean Stricter Performance Requirements for the Industry
With the release of the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) “the [fenestration] industry will need to comply with increasingly more stringent energy performance requirements around U-value and solar heat gain coefficient,” says Valerie Block, senior marketing specialist at DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions in Wilmington, Del. “We are seeing insulating glass units specified more frequently in South Florida–one of many examples where the glass configuration is changing to exceed the minimum energy requirements of glazing.”

However, the impact of the code on the industry will depend on how broadly it’s adopted, says Jeff Inks, vice president of code and regulatory affairs at the Window and Door Manufacturers Association in Washington, D.C.

Right now the IgCC is not widely adopted, says Inks. “That could or will change depending on how broadly it’s eventually adopted and how it is applied,” he says. “For example, as an option for meeting other high-performance objectives that a state or local jurisdiction may have in place, or as a mandatory requirement for some or all buildings in a jurisdiction.”

In the immediate term the 2012 IgCC probably has a more substantial impact as a codified benchmark for green construction requirements, especially for energy, Inks says. “For fenestration, that’s 10 percent more stringent than the 2012 IECC under the prescriptive path,” he says. “The performance path is much less predictable and more varied from project to project. The type of fenestration that will be required or specified will be based on predictive modeling for whole building energy use. So it will vary from building to building.”

The IgCC can be used in conjunction with the other I-codes for new and existing buildings, according to Block. “While the new ‘green’ code does not replace the other I-codes, it incorporates the basic focus areas of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system into code language that can be enforced by building officials,” she says. “As state and local jurisdictions adopt the code, we are likely to see more and more emphasis on sustainable building design.”

Industry Weighs in on New Energy Star Document
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the comment response summary for the Energy Star Windows, Doors, and Skylights Version 6.0 Product Specification Framework Document. Many companies and associations in the door and window industry participated in the comment period, providing their views, comments and concerns on the development of the new document.

The feedback from AAMA, for example, was based on both individual member comments as well as the position taken by AAMA as an association representative of the fenestration industry as a whole.

AAMA supported the requirement of full NAFS certification for windows and unit skylights and strongly believes that the current network of laboratories are fully-equipped and capable of any additional testing. It also supports NAFS/NFRC 400 requirements for doors, but “we question the validity of EPA’s statement that “less than a quarter of Energy Star’s partnership base currently participates in NAFS certification,” said the comment.

The WDMA also submitted comments on the new document, noting that it supports the inclusion of new provisions in the Version 6.0 criteria that would require window, skylight and sliding door products to be tested and certified to the applicable structural requirements in the NAFS in order to be Energy Star qualified.

WDMA suggested that the Energy Star program should, therefore, also require water penetration resistance, in addition to air infiltration resistance requirements for these products in accordance with or consistent with NAFS.

Along with AAMA, the WDMA also questioned the accuracy of the program’s reference to how many Energy Star products are NAFS certified.

The WDMA writes, “Regarding the agency’s concern that new requirements for NAFS certification could lead to a backlog at testing facilities and inundate WDMA resources, we believe such concerns, while appreciated, may be greater than warranted … We believe the Agency’s concern is based on a significant underestimation of the number of Energy Star products that are already NAFS certified.

“While WDMA and the AAMA are the leading NAFS certifiers there are other accredited entities that also certify products to NAFS. Although we do not know the actual numbers, we believe the 25 percent the agency has cited as being certified through WDMA’s and AAMA’s programs are not an accurate representation of actual Energy Star fenestration products that are NAFS certified. Regardless of the actual numbers, we believe NAFS certification should be required for the reasons stated above.”

EPA says it plans to contact stakeholders once the Draft 1 Criteria and Analysis Report is ready for review in July 2012.


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