The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has just completed its second public comment period for the "2010 Energy Star for Windows, Doors, and Skylights Revised Draft Criteria and Report," pushing the window and door industry further toward tighter energy performance requirements for windows, doors, and skylights that bear the Energy Star label. Criteria for Energy Star-qualified windows, doors, and skylights were last updated in 2005. Implementation of the 2010 criteria would be phased in in two stages.

The comment period for the first draft criteria ended Nov. 14, 2008 after two extensions to allow stakeholders ample time to complete technical analyses and log their comments. Industry stakeholders had plenty to say about the first draft.

For example, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) voiced concerns over proposed changes to the Energy Star Climate Zone Map that divided New York into three zones, which could conflict with higher local codes and upset energy efficiency incentive programs. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association joined forces to comment on, among other concerns, the importance of product affordability and return on investment in maintaining Energy Star's relevance and driving consumer purchases of high-performance fenestration products. Manufacturer Pella Corp. recommended eliminating some of the proposed climate zones and combining others, as well as separating criteria for impact-resistant and high-altitude products and postponing setting criteria for Phase 2 of the implementation.

Considering these and other concerns, DOE updated the draft criteria as follows:

1. Reduced the number of climate zones to four (from a proposed five) and returned to geographic zone names, rather than zone numbers;

2. Adjusted windows criteria and limited tradeoffs in the north;

3. Adjusted the U-factor for the = ½-lite category of swinging entry doors and changed the solar heat gain coefficient to match International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) levels;

4. Changed skylight criteria based on industry comments and IECC levels;

5. Temporarily exempted tubular daylighting devices from the program, pending industry testing and analysis; and

6. Delayed work on Phase 2 criteria until late in fiscal year 2009.

The window and door industry has responded to these updates, as reported by Window & Door magazine. All comments from the second period of public review, as well as revised criteria and supporting analysis, will be posted on the Energy Star Web site.