Fenestration: Up to Code

Manufacturers Meet Stringent Requirements for U.S. ENERGY STAR 7.0

By Kathy Krafka Harkema, U.S. Technical Operations Director for the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance

(Editor’s note: Kathy Krafka Harkema leads the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance’s (FGIA’s) U.S. technical operations team.  The team is responsible for development of FGIA’s regulatory and legislative advocacy, building codes positions, fenestration certification programs, standards and publication creation, and more on behalf of FGIA members.  A longtime window safety and energy-efficiency educator, she’s a versatile leader, negotiator and communicator.  She can be reached at kkrafka@FGIAonline.org, or connect with her on Twitter @KathyKrafka.)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR® program is designed to be a voluntary, above model code program to help drive greater energy savings by encouraging American consumers to purchase energy-efficient products that have earned the ENERGY STAR label.  Since 1992, the EPA estimates ENERGY STAR and its partners have helped American families and businesses save five trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, avoid more than $500 billion in energy costs, and achieve four billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.

         Supporting future energy savings, the ENERGY STAR 7.0 program for residential windows, doors, and skylights went into effect on October 23, 2023.  Many fenestration manufacturers now offer products that meet these new, more rigorous specifications.  In addition to residential windows and skylights, sliding glass doors and tubular daylighting devices also are included in ENERGY STAR 7.0. 

         Fenestration manufacturers seeking to have residential products certified to ENERGY STAR 7.0 have to meet additional requirements to comply with the new program, compared with earlier versions.  For example, to meet 7.0 requirements, residential fenestration manufacturers must now provide proof that air leakage reports are less than ten years old.

         The first way to meet proof of air leakage compliance for U.S. ENERGY STAR 7.0 is if the manufacturer uses a North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) certificate designation on their label for air leakage compliance, then a current NAFS certificate and a less than ten-year-old air leakage test report should be submitted to the FenStar site.  An Authorization for Product Certification by the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance and Associated Laboratories, Inc. (FGIA/AAMA/ALI) is one example of a NAFS certificate designation.

         The second way to meet proof of air leakage compliance for U.S. ENERGY STAR 7.0 is if the manufacturer labels their product for air leakage using only the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) temporary label, then a less than ten-year-old air leakage test report should be submitted to the FenStar site.

         NFRC FenStar staff have indicated they will continue to request the full air leakage test report from U.S. ENERGY STAR 7.0 participating manufacturer partners.  If the full report cannot be provided, NFRC staff says the minimum information of the test date, the test report number corresponding to the structural certificate, and the model name corresponding to the NFRC Certified Products Directory model name must be provided through a partial test report submission as well as the submission of the structural certificate.

         In October 2023, the EPA also released criteria for the 2024 U.S. ENERGY STAR Most Efficient program, which designates the most energy efficient products within various categories.  It’s important to note and to make sure that consumers understand that in 2023 through 2032, only ENERGY STAR Most Efficient windows, skylights, and TDDs qualify for U.S. tax credits, rather than the base ENERGY STAR units.  Products must be purchased and installed in the primary residence of Americans between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2032, to qualify for a given calendar year’s tax credits in that tax-filing year.  Tax credits only apply to the product cost and do not apply to installation costs.

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