DOE Considers Funding of Program for Attachment Systems

January 16th, 2013 by Editor

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that it is requesting information and feedback from those interested in working on energy rating and labeling efforts for fenestration attachment products. The work on the possible efforts is being conducted by the DOE’s Building Technologies Program (BTP) Emerging Technologies Unit.

“DOE is considering a future Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) regarding this topic and seeks input from stakeholders on the appropriate scope and details regarding the potential FOA,” writes DOE in the announcement.

The goal of the rating and labeling program “is to encourage the development and purchase of more energy-efficient and affordable window attachment products,” according to the announcement.

“BTP anticipates that the fenestration attachment energy rating and labeling effort will develop certification standards for interior, between glazing, and exterior fenestration attachments, not attached to the fenestration at point of manufacture, for use in residential and commercial buildings,” writes BTP. “Attachment products to be rated and labeled include blinds, shades, shutters, storm panels and awnings.”

The report points out that this program would be separate from the currently existing fenestration rating programs.

“BTP does not intend for the certification and rating program to replicate the efforts of existing nationally recognized fenestration rating organizations. These ratings and labels are anticipated to provide end users with useful product comparison criteria when selecting fenestration attachments for specific applications and are expected to increase sales and market share of energy efficient fenestration attachments,” writes BTP. “The energy performance data on the label and in the certified product database is anticipated to also enable fenestration attachment performance to be accurately simulated in state-of-the-art building design and energy modeling software.”

In addition to the labeling program, BTP intends to “develop and maintain an electronic database of fenestration attachment product performance data that is publicly accessible. The database will enable improved understanding of fenestration attachment energy performance by publishing metrics such as U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and Visible Transmittance (VT).”

“Through efforts of the International Window Film Association (IWFA), the window film industry plans to be an active participant and supporter of this DOE initiative, and we applaud the department’s leadership in pushing this forward. Window film, although added to the glass itself, is quite different from many of these ‘attachment’ technologies and already has NFRC-certified (National Fenestration Rating Council) ratings,” says Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA.

“Once consumers have unbiased and technically based ratings on which they can make sound economic decisions on whether replacing a building component or simply adding an enhancement, such as an awning, shade or blind saves the most energy per dollar spent, then those who may not be able to afford full component replacements can still participate in an energy savings program,” adds Smith.

According to the announcement, DOE expects to contribute up to $1.4 million to the organization that oversees the project over a four-year period. “The selected organization will be required to provide a business plan for achieving self-sufficiency within four years, including how it plans to supplement cost share funding with membership fees, program participation fees, etc.,” reads the announcement.

Among the feedback DOE is seeking are questions such as the following:

–          “Are there any attachment products that have not been mentioned in this RFI and that should be considered?;

–          Should the proposed Fenestration Attachment Rating and Certification Agency support rating and certification of both residential and commercial products?;

–          What is the appropriate prioritization of rating certification procedures and programs to achieve the overall stated goals?; [and]

–          What are the most likely organizational barriers or conflicts between stakeholders that may arise, and what solutions should DOE consider?

Any questions about the recent announcement from DOE should be emailed to with the subject line “Question.”

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