Government Initiatives Update

Ric Jackson, director of external affairs and government relations for Quanex, provided an update on government activities, which have definitely had an impact on the fenestration market and are worth watching in order to be prepared for future changes.

DOE programs impacting our industry were listed as: Roadmap for Emerging Technologies (for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) Better Buildings program – aims to make commercial and residential buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade. Zero Energy Ready Homes – offers builders labeling and marketing initiatives to promote the program.It requires ENERGY STAR® compliant windows and doors. Over 14,000 ZERH homes have been built since program introduction with 140 builders certified.

  • Home Energy Score – analogous to a mpg rating in a new car, this program calls for an assessor to score a home on a 1-10 scale and offer recommendations for improvement.
  • Funded Projects, such as dynamic windows, vacuum insulating film and dynamically responsive IR coatings.
  • The Building Technologies Office (BTO) has developed a roadmap to achieve a 50 percent reduction in building energy use for heating and cooling by 2020. Technology priorities include R10 residential windows with Visible Transmittance greater than 0.6 and R7 commercial windows with Visible Transmittance greater than 0.4.

    With regard to ENERGY STAR, Jackson observed that EPA is driving consumer demand and has learned a lot from the version 6.0 review process. The agency seems committed to improving the process for Version 7.0 and appears to be working to take stakeholder comments into consideration. No proposed schedule has been offered, but EPA plans to monitor the version 6.0 rollout in the northern zone for 12 to 18 months before developing the framework document.

    Jackson also highlighted three energy-related bills working their way through Congress:

    • S720, Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2015. Given a 50-50 chance of passing, the bill features enhanced DOE technology R&D work with manufacturers, assistance to help states adopt stronger model building codes and inclusion of energy savings in provisions for federally-backed mortgages.
    • S535, Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, promotes commercial building energy use disclosure and establishes a “Tenant Star” program to promote energy efficiency in rental property.

    HR2328, Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act, would reintroduce the “Opt Out” provision so that families with older children and no pregnant occupants could skip mandatory testing. It also resets the mandatory age of homes requiring testing to 1960 or older vs. the current 1978 or older.

    600450 Government Initiatives Update

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