In many regions of the U.S., utility programs have helped successful market transformation toward ENERGY STAR® windows. Now that ENERGY STAR windows have reached a large market share, the time is ripe for introducing to customers an even higher performance tier that has not yet widely spread in the market but can save substantially more energy than business as usual. In cold and mixed climates, R-5 windows on average reduce window heat loss by 40% and overall space conditioning costs by 10% relative to common ENERGY STAR windows.
Promotion of high performance windows through utility programs could include customer education about window selection criteria as well as incentives for installing high performance windows in new construction and retrofits. Due to the initially small market share of high performance windows, free ridership can be avoided and program expenditures focus on performance levels exceeding those promoted by other programs such as energy codes and tax credits. Incentives can be reduced once a solid foundation through greater market adoption and awareness of high performance windows has been achieved.
In the Future
The Buildings Technology Program (BTP) will be providing additional support to help successfully transform the market for high performance windows. This support will include a follow on manufacturer production engineering solicitation to further improve performance and drive down costs, addition of commercial-grade high performance windows, a Phase II volume purchase, and visibility and recognition mechanisms for builders who routinely install high performance windows.