WDMA criticizes direction of Energy Star

The Washington, D.C.-based Windows & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) criticized the Energy Star Program for what the WDMA described as a lack of “balance,” among other things. 

The complaint was lodged at the final draft of Version 6.0 program requirements for residential windows, doors and skylights, released July 31.

“The Energy Star Program marked a sharp departure from its past practice of collaborating with industry partners to balance consumer accessibility against the need to raise efficiency standards over time,” wrote the WDMA in a press release. 

When reached for comment, officials at the U.S. EPA defended the draft, and said that market share for windows typically remains strong after criteria revisions. 

"The Final Draft Version 6.0 criteria will allow the Energy Star Window, Door, and Skylight program to remain relevant in the marketplace by helping consumers differentiate better-performing, cost-effective products," the EPA said via e-mail. "The Final Draft criteria will also ensure that consumers continue to save energy and continue to have a variety of manufacturers, product types and styles, and cost levels (low to high) to choose."

One concern of the WDMA is that the Energy Star-labeled products may find their way to a smaller audience -- from more than 80% market share of windows and door sales to less than 50%. These stats were sourced to an earlier version of the Version 6.0 draft.

Consumers have reason to doubt the efficiency of products that don’t bear the label, according to WDMA CEO Michael O’Brien. “Version 6.0 takes away reasonable payback periods for much of the country and will strip the Energy Star label from affordable energy-efficient products that do offer a fair payback period,” he said in a statement. 

He added that the final version of the rules made some concessions to the industry, but overall described it as a “major setback.”

“Any changes to the program’s mission should be discussed openly and stakeholders should play a role in that discussion,” O’Brien said.