[Washington DC] - A bipartisan group of 23 members of Congress have requested that the Obama Administration "reexamine the proposed ENERGY STAR specifications for windows, doors, and skylights to ensure that they are consistent with the guiding principles of the [ENERGY STAR] program."
"The ENERGY STAR program enjoys the support of consumers, retailers, and manufacturers," said Michael O'Brien, CEO of the Window & Door Manufacturers Association. "We're glad that a bipartisan group of leaders in the U.S. Congress share our concerns and are urging the Obama Administration to take a step back and fully understand the impact these proposed changes could have on the ENERGY STAR program."
The ENERGY STAR program has been successful in helping consumers identify energy efficient products that are affordable and provide a reasonable return on investment. But a proposed new standard for windows & skylights, Version 6, breaks with the ENERGY STAR program's original mission and guiding principles.
Raising concerns about the proposed new rules departing from the successful program's original mission, members of Congress pointed to the impact on the environment and consumers: "Historically, this program has been guided by a balance of energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and product performance ... If the ENERGY STAR program moves to a standard that fails to properly consider cost-effectiveness as criteria, we are concerned that the result could be significant cost increases, longer payback periods, and a missed opportunity to capture energy savings."
Pointing to concern for the program's continued viability, members of Congress stated: "We believe the new standards under development ... fail to consider the cost-benefit ratio and payback period for consumers. In short, the proposed standards would remove the economic incentive for consumers to purchase energy efficient products."
"This is a voluntary government program that has worked exactly as designed for two decades, saving consumers and businesses nearly $230 billion on utility bills and preventing more than 1.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions," O'Brien added. "Our members want to continue their partnership with the successful ENERGY STAR program and we don't believe the program can continue to succeed if a reasonable payback period is no longer a factor in deciding which windows, doors, and skylights qualify for the ENERGY STAR label."
The Congressional letter was drafted and circulated by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and co-signed by a bipartisan group of members of Congress from across the country and political spectrum, including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Ron Kind (D-WI), Tom Latham (R-IA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Billy Long (R-MO), Jim Moran (D-VA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), David McKinley (R-WV), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Tom Petri (R-WI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and Greg Walden (R-OR).