Volume 33, Number 5, May 1998


Star Glazing

Gaining Consumer Acceptance of the Energy Star Program

by William Noel

EDITOR'S NOTE: The new ENERGY STAR Windows program, a valuable tool for window manufacturers and retailers, helps consumers identify the most energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights at a glance, and it's coming to stores this spring. In addition to working with program partners to provide a labeling system for identification of qualifying products, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have launched a public education program to inform consumers of the benefits of energy-efficient windows.

Communicating the Benefits

"ENERGY STAR takes the pain out of buying windows," said Dan Reicher, the DOE's assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Reicher is a home remodeler himself. Even he developed a headache when trying to choose new windows, given the many styles, shapes and construction materials available. Calculating the potential energy costs of those windows is even more confusing for consumers.

ENERGY STAR, a public-private partnership between the DOE, the EPA, major manufacturers, retailers and utilities, is a labeling program designed to help manufacturers and retailers position the most energy-efficient products for consumers. If homes and businesses purchased only ENERGY STAR qualified products during the next 15 years, DOE estimates that the nation would reduce air pollution by the equivalent of cutting gasoline consumption by 120 billion gallons, or a taking 17 million cars off the road or preserving 142 million acres of trees.

"Many ENERGY STAR labeled windows are as energy-efficient as walls in new construction," said Reicher. "The Department is proud that manufacturers, utilities and retailers have volunteered to help consumers identify these ENERGY STAR qualified products. It's a great way for the average person to have a real impact in helping this country meet our climate goals."

The ENERGY STAR Windows program was developed with input from window, door and skylight manufacturers, glass and framing material manufacturers, as well as utilities, designers, government representatives and public interest groups. Top members of the glass industry have joined as partners to manufacture and promote ENERGY STAR Windows (see opposite page).

With the average household spending more than 40 percent of its annual energy budget on heating and cooling, energy efficiency should be a big concern for consumers. Proper selection of windows, doors and skylights can significantly affect how much money they spend every year on keeping homes bright and comfortable. In fact, DOE and EPA estimate that by installing ENERGY STAR labeled windows, doors and skylights, households can reduce annual energy bills by 15 percent.

Tailored to Fit by Climate Region

Because a good window in Florida isn't necessarily the best choice in Minnesota, ENERGY STAR performance criteria are tailored to fit the energy needs of the country's major climate regions—Northern, Southern and Central. The ENERGY STAR window label and Climate Region Map give consumers clear guidelines for matching the most appropriate window products with the area in which they live.

These cutting-edge, premium windows are available in a variety of styles, sizes, framing materials and every operator type (single or double-hung, casement, horizontal slider, picture windows and patio sliders). The message of the ENERGY STAR program is clear: no one has to wait or settle for less than their dream window when building or renovating. Your consumers can enjoy lower energy bills right away, with no sacrifice of versatility, style or comfort, while also helping the environment.

William Noel if ENERGY STAR program manager, U.S. Department of Energy

The Partners

Major players from the glass and fenestration industry have joined as partners to manufacture and promote ENERGY STAR Windows: Accu-Weld; Andersen Corporation; Cardinal IG; Crystalite, Inc.; Empire Pacific Industries; Gilkey Windows; Insulate Industries, Inc.; Jeld-Wen, Inc.; Marvin Window and Doors; Merzon Industries; Mikron Industries, Inc.; Milgard Manufacturing; PPG Industries, Inc.; Spectus Systems; Superior Window Products; TruSeal Technologies; Viking Industries, Inc.; and Windowmaster Products.

Spectus Systems of Winnebago, IL, is one company taking advantage of the program's promotions. By continuing to certify its products to NFRC standards, "we encourage our fabricators to NFRC certify their finished products so they're able to utilize the ENERGY STAR label," said Sam Wright, vice president of sales and marketing. "We are also encouraged by the marketing efforts shown by the DOE and EPA to educate consumers. . ."

Many of the partners are optimizing the program's consumer-education efforts with tie-ins to their own marketing communications programs.

Andersen Windows, Inc. is an example of a manufacturer that views the ENERGY STAR message as an opportunity for assimilation into all of its communications efforts. According to Stacy Einck, manager of brand public relations for the Bayport, MN-based company, "We're looking at (our partnership in the program) as an overall concept and integrating it into our marketing communications mix."

Einck said Andersen is using the ENERGY STAR distinction in its sales, marketing and promotion areas. These communications include an extensive media kit sent to media contacts, print ads targeted to building contractors and radio ads targeted to consumers.

Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries is another company that is taking a broad approach in promoting its participation in the ENERGY STAR program. "We'll market all the way down the distribution chain, from our window manufacturing customers to the homeowner," said Patrick Kenny, the glassmaker's marketing manager, window and door flat glass products.

As the manufacturer of another "raw material" for windows and doors, TruSeal Technologies of Beachwood, OH, sees the ENERGY STAR program as an opportunity to promote the energy-efficiency of its Swiggle Seal® warm-edge spacer. "We're using the ENERGY STAR logo in our literature, advertising and potentially, our packaging," said Jim Doell, marketing manager. He said the company directs its promotional efforts in support of the windows and doors that use its product, as well as through news releases and articles targeted to consumers. "These efforts go downstream to the end-consumer, so hopefully when they make their purchase, they'll look for windows and doors that use our product," said Doell.


Just the Facts

All ENERGY STAR Windows must be rated, certified and labeled for both heat loss (U-factor) and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) by the National Fenestration Rating Council.

ENERGY STAR Window Criteria:

ENERGY STAR qualified products include windows, doors, skylights, home appliances, office equipment, TVs and VCRs and residential lighting. For more information, window retailers and manufacturers can call 202/586-6149 or visit ENERGY STAR online at www.energystar.gov. Consumer information is available through the ENERGY STAR Hotline at 800/363-3732.

USGOpenings News

Fiberlux Releases Series 1800 Data Sheet

Fiberlux, Inc. of Purchase, NY, has released a data sheet describing the Series 1800 window lines. The sheet includes installation details and features of the system. According to the company, the series 1800 features beveled frames, 3/4-inch insulated glass and 1-1/4-inch cross-hatched nailing fins to ensure an easy installation and seven different window variations.

Wegoma® Offers Level II Equipment Courses

Wegoma, Inc. of Twinsburg, OH, offers level II equipment courses taught by Wegoma field service engineers to train maintenance and staff personnel in the use of Wegoma equipment. The courses, which include classroom instruction and hands-on training for each machine, provide information on proper operation, maintenance, support and repair of Wegoma equipment. The DMS/F-16 double miter saw course will be held June 29-July 1 and December 14-16; the WSA four point welder course will be held July 27-29 and October 26-28; the WP-IS-CNC auto disc weldseam cleaner course will be held August 24-26 and November 23-25; and the DMF-20 automated fabrication center cause will be held September 28-30.

AAMA Approves ABS/ASA as Certifiable Material

Complast, Inc.®, in cooperation with GE Plastics® and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), has announced that ABS/ASA has met AAMA specifications, though a recognized AAWA category for the product does not exist. According to Complast, the ABS Extrusions Task Group approved the document, AAMA 304, in the AAMA Winter Committee Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, FL, one year after certification efforts began.

Glaverbel Controls Russian Glassmaker

When Russia's biggest window-glass producer, Borsky, began a $100 million reconstruction program, Glaverbel, a Belgian Asahi concern, agreed to exchange necessary assets onto a close-to-control interest in the company. It was only at the company's general meeting that shareholders learned that the non-Russian interest had taken over the plant. Borsky's new board of directors appears to consist of nine foreigners and just four Russians.


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