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W&D Weekly
November 19, 2014
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The Talk

By Jim Snyder

With the activation of Energy Star Version v6.0 just around the corner (Jan. 1, 2015, for all but the Northern Zone), we will be pulling up new qualifying criteria tables for U-factor, SHGC and now Air Leakage. For anyone who has not yet read the new version, the meat of it is in these tables. Beyond that, is much else new?

Indeed. New for Energy Star v6.0 is Section 3D: Installation Instructions. Wait. What? When I first learned about this, I thought, this doesn’t belong here.

I am the first to agree, teach, and promote that installation can impact the energy efficiency of fenestration. However, we already have many generic and brand-specific sources of installation instruction from the best industry resources. Why would Energy Star v6.0 provide and require its own installation instructions—especially for dozens, if not hundreds, of installation scenarios?

Those who have read the Installation Instruction section of v6.0 know that my initial reaction was unjustified. Section 3D in no way includes installation-specific instructional material. In a nutshell, it simply requires that Energy Star qualifying products “shall have installation instructions readily available online or packaged with the product.”

There are more requirements (eight in all) but the expectations are reasonable and acknowledge, “…the manufacturer cannot write installation instructions for every situation… .” This is an important disclosure.

During the v6.0 development, I read much of the stakeholder comments. In the original framework document, the proposed installation instruction criteria were much more stringent and, in my opinion, not very realistic. Fortunately, thanks to the stakeholders’ feedback, I think we ultimately reached an acceptable, happy place.

In fact, prior to the release of the final version earlier this year, if manufacturers already had installation instructional material in place, they were nearly ready for this requirement of v6.0. All that remained were a few details they might have had to add to their existing instructions such as, “A list of hardware and tools…, Proper disposal…, General guidance on safely removing old products…,” etc.

No responsible industry party denies the disservice and costly consequences of improper installation. I absolutely believe in providing installation instruction whenever possible. However, doesn’t the industry already have enough incentive to provide for and promote proper installation?

I’m very involved in industry task groups that revise and create installation instructional material. I can attest to the fact that most of the industry is bending over backward to make installation instructions better. Do we really need a tighter noose?

Energy Star evolution continues with Version 7.0 breaking ground soon. Using v6.0 as a template, how do you feel about the Installation Instruction requirements? I’d like to ask you to take this week’s poll, submit a comment, or email me at jim@windowjim.com.

In regard to the Energy Star Installation Instruction Requirements, do you think the industry should:
Have more specifics?
Leave it alone?
Relax the requirements?
 
How Will Energy Star Affect Your Business?
More than 45 percent of respondents to last week’s poll project that Energy Star v6.0 will have a negative effect on their business in 2015. See the complete survey results...
 
The Outside View
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