The White House’s race to be Green

With all the use of the same ol’ tripe about “being Green”, it’s enough to make one barf.   At least that’s the way I feel.  So many companies have marketed being Green that can’t even spell the word.  It’s gotten to the point that if you can’t claim to be “Green” then your just not in the game. At least marketers would have you think that way.   But having said that,  don’t let your/my jaded eyes not allow you to see the forest for the trees.  Energy conversation is being debated in Washington and it doesn’t matter which side of the isle you want to set on–make no bones about it–at some point policy will be implemented that will affect the fenestration industry.  Energy efficiency is really only being crowed about now, but there will be a time in the not to distant future (in my opinion) when the dollars and cents are going to really start driving the issue and not stale-mate politics.  Right now gasoline is over $3.50 per gallon.  Notwithstanding the problems in the middle east, rising fuel costs are just an economic certainty.  All the legislation in the Washington is not going to stop China’s and India’s and the world’s growing appetite for gasoline and other natural resources.  Basic economics says that pricing is going to rise.  Coupled with the fact that the whole world is printing money to manage the world economic crisis, one has to realize that fuel savings will impact the fenestration industry more and more.  The Obama Administration has been talking the talk.  I believe at some point the economic forces are going to force American politicians to actually start implementing policy that walks-the-walk.

The talk from the Obama Administration is to achieve a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020. If policy is implemented and laws are passed that back up this talk, then windows stand to be a big contributing factor towards this goal. Right now the industry has the infrastructure to provide an R5 window to the Nation.  Beyond that there will have to be new designs developed to handle thicker triple pane insulated glass. If the Nation really wanted to reach an R7 window, that is achievable given today’s Low-E glass technology.  An inch and one half overall (1.5OA) with two sides of the latest Low-E glass technology will achieve a center-of-glass R-value of R7.2. {This is a number I received from technicians from a major manufacturer of Low-E glass. It’s a real number, not just something grabbed from thin air.} For those that don’t know the technicalities,  the overall R-value of a complete window will be lower than center-of-glass numbers.  It is not unreasonable to achieve an overall R-value of around R7 for a vinyl window with a glazing pocket to accept a 1.5OA unit.

The President is calling for an aggressive reform of existing tax and other incentives for commercial building retrofits and proposing a new competitive grant program. According to the hub-bub there will be initiatives (tax credits) available to retrofit over 600,000 residential homes.  This push in-and-of-itself could be a major influence for designs with greater U-values than can be achieved with existing Clad-wood, vinyl and aluminum fenestration designs.  The ramifications within the fenestration industry would be huge if legislation were passed to facilitate a 20% reduction in energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings.  If the politicians are influenced by the fenestration industry, I think they will push for the first hurdle of R5 technology.  Beyond the R5 threshold will probably result in loses to our manufacturing basis of fenestration product in the United States. The reason for that is many window companies have been losing money the last three years, and many are barely at break-even in early 2011.  If legislation is passed that requires beyond an R5 window, then most companies will be required to re-tool for an entirely different window system, and right now, I would venture to say that way over 50% of those companies do not have the capital to invest in the infrastructure required to achieve such a lofty goal.  In the long run, there is no question, the Nation will be better off with windows with R7+ technology designed in the product–but in the short run, it will cause a major hardship on the America’s fenestration manufacturing concerns.  If we as a Nation really want to achieve a 20% improvement, then, long term, it would be good for America.  On a personal note, I’d like to see  a push for R7+ technology because it will only push our company to the next level.

P.S.  See the latest video I just finished editing:
Installing the MGM Swing Patio Door

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