Volume 33, Number 3, March 1998


Issue At Hand

Windows of Opportunity

by Regina Johnson

Our managing editor, Regina Johnson, attended the inauguration of the highly anticipated Energy Star program on March 6, 1998. I think you’ll find her report interesting. -Deb

Window, door and skylight manufacturers from across the country were on hand in Washington, DC, March 6 for launching of the Energy Star Windows Program, a voluntary partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the fenestration industry. The event followed months of speculation by the industry, which has awaited the official unveiling since last May when the program was first described publicly by DOE.

A reception honoring industry partners of the program kicked off celebrations the evening of March 5. Speakers including assistant secretary for energy efficiency Dan Reicher, Kurt Heikkila of Bayport, MN-based Anderson Corp., Stephen Sullivan of AAMA and David Nemtzow of the Alliance to Save Energy congratulated the industry for its hard work to bring the program to completion. The reception was attended by approximately 40 industry representatives and employees of DOE and EPA.

At a press conference the following day attended by approximately 75 people, secretary of energy Federico Peña and Heikkila were joined by industry representatives at a suburban home featuring Energy Star-rated windows and patio doors from Anderson®. The event highlighted the program’s goal of educating consumers on the economic and environmental benefits of energy-efficient windows, skylights and doors.

Peña emphasized that the program simplifies the purchasing process for consumers, adding that "manufacturers and retailers are eager to take part because of the consumer drive for environmental (solutions)."

The program offers partners innovative marketing tools to support their own promotions, including a window labeling system, consumer education, national program promotion and financing for qualifying products. To date, there are 18 window program partners.

Ray Bjerrum of Merzon Industries in Fresno, CA, said, "I believe in this so much because, especially with California’s summer-side climate, using this glazing in windows will save consumers $40 to $60 per year, according to my conservative calculations."

To obtain an Energy Star rating, a product must be rated, certified and labeled for both U-factor and solar heat gain by the National Fenestration Rating Council. Participating manufacturers sign a Memorandum of Understanding to use the program logo in marketing materials; label qualified products accordingly; and train staff on the advantages of energy-efficient products.

Several attendees commented on the impressive turnout. "Three-fourths of the manufacturers are here," estimated Debra Brunold of Summit Window and Patio Door in Kent, WA. She noted that many products on the market have been meeting the program’s levels of energy efficiency for years. "This (program) will allow manufacturers to communicate to consumers and they’ll understand the advantages easily," said Burnold.

"The goal is to make it very simple for the consumer—no thought required," agreed Chuck Gilderman of Mikron Industries, Inc., Kent, WA.

As Heikkila stated, the program is a win-win-win situation: "The industry wins, the consumer public wins and the country as a whole wins by becoming less dependent on energy sources."


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