[Washington DC] - Fenestration industry leaders have partnered with The Coalition for Home Energy Efficiency to launch a broad consumer education campaign this week, starting with a Change.org petition to the President and Congress opposing proposed changes to the ENERGY STAR program that would price ENERGY STAR rated windows and skylights out of reach for average consumers and make affordable energy-efficient options harder to identify. The petition calls on the President to Save ENERGY STAR.
"The ENERGY STAR program enjoys the support of consumers, retailers, and manufacturers," said Michael O'Brien, CEO of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. "We think it's worth saving and that's why our association is supporting the Coalition's efforts."
WDMA members are united in their concern about an apparent change in direction for the ENERGY STAR Program away from identifying cost-effective energy efficient products for a broad consumer market. WDMA counts many past and current winners of ENERGY STAR Partner Awards among its members, proof of the industry's long-standing commitment to the program.
For more than twenty years ENERGY STAR has offered consumers an easy choice: Buy ENERGY STAR and know that you will protect the environment and save money through lower utility bills. Families and businesses have saved nearly $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the past two decades by choosing the ENERGY STAR label, according the Environmental Protection Agency. More than 80% of Americans recognize the label and its meaning.
Now there's a proposal in Washington that would break this promise by setting the requirements for ENERGY STAR windows and skylights at a point where the products would become so expensive, the average consumer would not be able to recoup the additional cost in a reasonable amount of time. The proposed version 6 criteria would change required energy performance ratings for windows and skylights in large parts of the country, making triple-paned products or the use of expensive technologies the most viable ways for manufacturers to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.
Most ENERGY STAR windows sold now are more affordable double-paned products. Energy efficient double-paned windows still would be widely available to consumers, but shoppers would need to decipher U-factors, solar heat gain coefficients, and other such data on their own to decide which windows are a good value. The proposed new rules would effectively strip average consumers of the "easy choice" upon which they've learned to rely. If these proposed changes move forward, who knows which products will be next?
The Coalition is a group of citizens, manufacturers, and retailers who want to preserve and protect the ENERGY STAR program and its promise of an easy choice for consumers.
Sign the Save ENERGY STAR petition at Change.org. Learn more about the Coalition and the Save ENERGY STAR campaign at www.CoalitionforEnergyEfficiency.org.