Volume 46, Issue 2 - March 2011


DOE Adds Commercial Windows to Window Volume Purchase Program

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced on January 24 that Phase II of the Windows Volume Purchase Program—commonly referred to in the industry as the R-5 program since it was designed to increase the number of R-5 windows in the marketplace—will include commercial windows.

The R-5 program was launched in May 2010 by DOE with the goal of helping window buyers and manufacturers through the development of a market for energy-efficient products at affordable prices. Consumers can visit www.windowsvolumepurchase.org to purchase energy-efficient windows from qualified vendors. According to Terry Mapes, energy analyst for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the goal is to have the program available to all building owners.

Window Volume Purchase Program U-Factor Criteria

Product Type U-factor Requirement
for Fixed/Operable
Residential Products (residential and light commercial) 0.20/0.22
Commercial Products (heavy commercial) 0.24/0.27
Commercial Products (architectural windows) 0.27/0.32


“Phase I of the program was necessary to set up the foundation of operations and we chose to do so by establishing the program in the residential sector first,” Mapes says. “We now feel secure enough in those operations to expand to the commercial sector.”

Mapes says the program has received a moderate level of response on Phase II so far. There will be several different requirements for including commercial products compared to residential.

“Due to the more stringent requirements placed on commercial windows we allowed easier U-factor requirements for entry into our program,” Mapes says (see chart above).

As far as when this program is expected to be ready, a solicitation was released with a priority deadline of March 18 for inclusion in the first group to be processed (all later responses will be added to a second group).

“[We] would like to have the products available on the website in early May,” Mapes says. “The ultimate goal of the program is to make buildings nationwide more energy-efficient and this must be accomplished for both the residential and commercial sectors. The window industry understands that high performance products are the market of the future and we are hoping to accelerate the movement in this direction.”


USGBC Lawsuit Plaintiffs Add Further Allegations
Henry Gifford, an energy savings consultant with Fuel Saving Inc., is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that takes aim at the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system (see November 2010 USGlass, page 14). In court documents filed in February in a U.S. District Court in New York, Gifford and his co-plaintiffs allege that USGBC’s advertisements that buildings certified under its LEED program “are, on average, performing 25-30% better than non-LEED certified buildings in terms of energy use” are false. The complaint further alleges the claim that LEED provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built with energy savings is a falsehood. Gifford’s complaint contends that there is no “objective empirical support” for these claims.

The suit alleges that USGBC’s advertising misleads consumers and damages the plaintiffs by diverting customers to professionals accredited by USGBC and related parties.

Gifford further claims that USGBC has a large financial incentive to encourage LEED certification of buildings. “Although USGBC may technically have 501c(3) status [Ed: IRS tax code designation for a not-for-profit group], it is a big business and, in 2008, reported revenues of $64 million, ” says the complaint.

So what do the plaintiffs want? They request, among other things, that the court issue a permanent injunction ordering USGBC to stop advertising that LEED buildings use less energy than non-LEED certified buildings or that LEED certification is verification that the building was built according to plans. They also ask for all the profit USBGC has derived from the “unlawful acts,” and additional damages.

USGBC will soon file a response.

© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.