Volume 43, Issue 7 - July 2008

Energy & Environment

DOE Representative Forecasts Future Changes for Industry 

“I’m from the DOE and we are here to help you,” said Marc LaFrance in a variation on a familiar refrain. LaFrance, manager for building envelope and windows research and development programs for the Department of Energy (DOE), faced a skeptical audience during his presentation entitled “US DOE R&D Activities, Energy Star® and Beyond” during the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) Summer Meeting, in June. 

LaFrance talked about what types of changes to expect from DOE in the future. “You’ve seen the ‘Efficient Windows’ program for residential windows,” he said. “We are moving toward something similar in the commercial arena.” LaFrance said that while the original proposal for the revised Energy Star criteria was expected to include three phases, DOE is now reducing that to two phases. He also mentioned that it is being developed under the assumption that “krypton gas is not available,” citing the recent shortage of the gas in industrial markets. 

“I realize that some of the things we propose increase costs,” he said, “but if those things are mandated, then it’s better, because it applies to everyone.”

LaFrance mentioned that the preliminary updated Energy Star criteria for skylights did not show much improvement over the last version. “I don’t know why skylights can’t do better,” he said, adding that he expects changes in other areas as well. “There is no reason you can’t add insulating glass criteria to the codes,” he said. 

LaFrance also noted, “DOE has recognized that you shouldn’t use the same glass in Maine that you use in Texas, and you’ll see that reflected [in the revised criteria].” 


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