The Window Film Industry Responds to Obama’s Better Buildings Initiative

February 4th, 2011 by Editor

President Obama unveiled on February 3 a five-point “Better Buildings Initiative” intended to make commercial buildings 20-percent more energy-efficient by 2020 by catalyzing private sector investment through a series of incentives that promote energy-efficient building upgrades.
Window film companies, manufacturers and groups have been sharing their thoughts and outlook on what this initiative could mean for the window film industry.

“The Better Building Initiative from Obama would likely have a great impact on our industry. Any energy efficiency upgrade to commercial buildings should consider retrofitting existing glazing with window films,” says Lewis Pitzer, special projects coordinator for American Standard Window Film in Las Vegas. “Our industry offers excellent, durable, high performance films that deliver measurable reductions in energy consumption providing a very reasonable pay-back period. Products from our industry also offer the additional benefits of enhancing appearance, increasing safety and improving the interior environment. I am confident that products from our industry would figure prominently into a Better Building Initiative and that our industry is prepared to meet the increased demand that will likely result from this program.”

“Incentives and especially financing are critical in the retrofit market because most people are already convinced that they need to make improvements to their buildings, the problem is that they just do not have the available cash to do so. This initiative is a great idea but as with all ideas and politics, a lot of details can change from the time of inception to actual implementation so we will have to see how this all plays out,” says Rob Oranges, business development manager for Vision Quest Distributing in Sparks, Nev. “There is no doubt though that huge potential exists for the window film industry. Retrofit is our primary market and now the Federal Government is proposing to incentivize it like never before. As an industry I feel that there is nowhere for us to go but up as far as rebates, incentives, and financing are concerned.”

“The announcement by the President is very encouraging news for the window film industry. We know that the use of energy control window films is one of the most readily available, technologically proven, cost effective, and environmentally friendly measures which can be taken to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings,” read a statement from the International Window Film Association (IWFA) issued February 4. “However, in the past several years there have been many well-intended programs which either have not come to fruition due to inadequate funding, difficulty in implementation, or else did not get enough political consensus to get Congressional approval. For these reasons, until we can see the details of an actual funded program ready to go, it is hard to gauge the real value of such a proposal by the President. It does show that the issue is still on the minds of the country’s leadership and should get much press coverage and discussion, even if there are no other results. As an industry, we will be tracking progress on these types of programs closely.”

Companies do have concerns about the proposed initiative. Some are worried about window film lacking an ENERGY STAR® rating while others are concerned whether the initiative will apply to retrofitting.

“I think it’s a great idea however, with the way the economy is going, if you are a small fish in this big pond and competing with the big companies, you need to make sure you are in with an energy performance company in order to be able to work things,” comments Chris DeLuca, owner of All Pro Window Tinting in Canton, Ga. “It’s kind of broad. If someone puts in high-efficiency glass then there is no sense in installing window film. It all depends on if it’s retrofitting or just new products. If it’s retrofitting than it can work for window film.”

“The lack of an ENERGY STAR rating is the reason that window film does not qualify for the 2011 residential tax credit under the windows, doors and skylights category* and I fear that it could possibly keep window film out of other programs such as the Better Buildings Initiative or even HOMESTAR®,” adds Oranges.

President Obama stressed in his speech the importance of energy-efficiency to both the environment and the economy.

“Making our buildings more energy-efficient is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, combat pollution and create jobs right here in the United States of America,” said President Obama in his speech yesterday at Penn State University.

“The problem for both homeowners and businesses is they’ll recover the money that they make by lowering their utility bills, but they may not have the cash upfront,” continued President Obama. “And, if we can provide the American people an incentive, you’ll recover that money. You’ll get it back. And in the meantime, we’re making our entire economy more efficient. So steps like these also can boost manufacturing and private sector jobs.”

Stay tuned to for more updates on the Better Building Initiative.

*Editor’s note: There are some limited combinations of window film and glass that qualify under the insulation category.

This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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