DOE Moves into Phase Two of Windows Volume Purchase Program

The Department of Energy announced this week that it is now moving into Phase Two of the Windows Volume Purchase Program, commonly referred to in the industry as the R-5 program.

The Phase II Request for Proposals (RFP)  for vendors who would like to participate has been released and all responses must be electronically sent no later than 4 p.m. Pacific Time on March 18, 2011 in order to be considered in the first round of proposals.

Terry Mapes, energy analyst for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, spoke at the the Northeast Window and Door Association meeting this week and offered more details on the program. While many in the industry are familiar with phase one of the program, which has been in existence for about a year, Mapes points out that there a few significant changes that will take place in phase two. This includes the addition of commercial products to the program, a database that will allow website users to enter criteria to filter results, certification of storm window products and tier pricing for large quantities.

Additionally, vendor prices will now be shown on the website. This has been a subject of debate as many manufacturers did not want to see prices listed. In fact, during the meeting an attendee asked why price would be listed.

“90 percent of users said it didn’t amount to more than a Google search,” says Mapes. “They wanted the price shown.”

One manufacturer in the room who did not participate in phase one told Mapes the company had refrained from the program due to pricing and the fact that there are different prices in different geographic regions. The manufacturer asked about a list price and Mapes confirmed that if a manufacturer wants to publicize a list price that is acceptable.

Mapes also talked about the future of the program and how long-term it will extend beyond R-5.

“Our long range goal is R10,” says Mapes. “We realize this will take a considerable amount of time to get there.”

“ENERGY STAR did a great job of taking the industry from single pane to double pane,” he adds. “What we’re trying to do is take the industry to the next era.”

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