EPA Releases Draft 1 for Energy Star 7.0 for Windows

July 7th, 2021 by Chris Collier

Officials for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released Draft 1 on July 7, 2021 for the upcoming Energy Star 7.0 revision for windows, including currently proposed changes to performance requirements and details for how the program evaluated the impacts of various changes. Window film dealers will want to know about the efforts of the EPA to make requirements more stringent. Will this mean more or less window film sales? Only time will tell.

All of the info may be found on the Energy Star website.

In the current iteration (which remains open for comment and will be followed by Draft 2), new criteria are proposed across all climate zones. For windows, EPA proposes lower U-factors in all four ENERGY STAR climate zones. EPA also proposes lower SHGC levels in the two most Southern Climates zones and setting a minimum SHGC of ≥ 0.17 in the Northern zone.

For sliding glass doors, EPA proposes changing the criteria to have the same criteria as windows. For swinging doors, EPA proposes lowering the U-factor for both > half-lite doors and ≤ half-lite doors. The SHGC levels are also lowered for all ≤1/2-lite doors and >1/2-lite doors in the Southern parts of the U.S.

Other changes include additional tradeoff options for the Northern climate zone, which would allow door and window manufacturers to employ one of four combinations of performance criteria to fulfill program requirements.

A 38-page criteria analysis report details how program developers arrived at currently proposed changes. An EPA official says the new process used for developing Version 7.0 includes “better” cost and performance data, as well as market analysis of currently available products and their performance ranges. In addition to replacing RESFEN (the application and data set used for developing prior versions of the program) with Energy Plus, the process now includes an expanded database for products and their ratings, officials say.

Program officials also spoke with a range of door and window manufacturers, they report, to gather data about the costs for adding various technologies to windows in order to improve their performance, and calculated baseline costs to determine impacts to the costs for manufacturing and pricing for consumers. A baseline product of around 0.35 U-factor was used for payback analysis, officials say. “Mystery shopping” was also used to gather pricing and to check analysis. While previous revisions focused on payback periods of around 20 years, analysis for 7.0 aimed for 13-year paybacks.

The EPA asserts in its Criteria Analysis Report that EPA concluded that the proposed windows criteria can provide meaningful savings for consumers, paying back incremental price premiums in a reasonable period of time. The criteria can be met through multiple technical pathways, do not require proprietary technology, and do not negatively impact the non-energy performance of the product. Products meeting the criteria are available for sale and provide a clear differentiation over standard products in the market.

EPA’s analysis also indicates that the proposed criteria for the Northern Climate Zone can already be met by more than 50% of the product lines. Based on the market response to the Version 6.0 criteria, EPA believes that manufacturers may introduce new product lines and options in response to this criteria change, and the number of product lines with a qualifying option will increase by the effective date.

Following the published Draft 1 and responses to prior comments, a discussion period follows, after which Draft 2 will be introduced, officials say. The goal, they say, is to finish the process by January 2022, after which there will be a period of at least nine months before the enactment of any new requirements.

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