Fenestration: A Smart Choice
ENERGY STAR Windows, Doors, & Skylights
by Jeff Inks, senior vice president of advocacy, Window & Door Manufacturers Association
With the ever-increasing focus on reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, more consumers, homebuyers, and homeowners want to do their part to help. To do this, they are turning to ENERGY STAR® products when purchasing appliances, electronics, lighting, and building materials, including windows, doors, and skylights. Beginning with computers and displays in 1992, the ENERGY STAR program now includes more than 70 product categories. Most households in the United States now recognize the ENERGY STAR label and what it means. In fact, results from the latest United States Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR awareness survey show that: 91% of households recognize the ENERGY STAR label when shown it; 75% of households have a high understanding of the ENERGY STAR label, and another 9% have at least a general understanding of the label; among all households, 45% knowingly purchased an ENERGY STAR-labeled product within the past 12 months of the study; overall customer satisfaction with ENERGY STAR-labeled products remains high, scoring a 4.2 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being very satisfied; and of households that recognized the ENERGY STAR label, 65% feel that a product with an ENERGY STAR label is energy efficient.
The ENERGY STAR program has become a well-known guide in the United States for easily selecting products proven to be among the most highly energy-efficient within a product type. This is particularly true for windows, doors, and skylights, which, unlike other ENERGY STAR-certified products, must also be selected according to one of four ENERGY STAR climate zones for the United States. Understanding the complexities of selecting the right U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient, and visual transmittance values for each of these zones is otherwise very challenging.
ENERGY STAR-certified windows, doors, and skylights meet significantly more stringent energy efficiency requirements than those of national model energy codes, and they must meet a robust third-party independent certification through the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), and ongoing periodic verification through NFRC’s FenStar™ Certification Program. In addition, ENERGY STAR windows, doors, and skylights provide increased indoor comfort, protection against UV damage to valuables, lower the cost of heating and cooling, and ease the energy consumption burden on the environment.
Builder, remodelers, and architects that select or specify ENERGY STAR windows, doors, and skylights, can be assured they are providing the right high-performance, energy-efficient products for your customer’s location. Additionally, because of the wide recognition of the ENERGY STAR label and what it means, customers can feel reassured they’re doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint.