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Developing Ratings For Window Shades

A manufacturers’ trade association and the U.S. Department of Energy will share costs to develop ratings for window attachments

Posted on May 27 2015 by Scott Gibson

When you buy a new window for your house, an attached label from the National FenestrationTechnically, any transparent or translucent material plus any sash, frame, mullion, or divider attached to it, including windows, skylights, glass doors, and curtain walls. Rating Council tells you how much solar gain the window lets in, and how efficiently the window insulates against heat and cold. Similarly, Energy StarLabeling system sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy for labeling the most energy-efficient products on the market; applies to a wide range of products, from computers and office equipment to refrigerators and air conditioners. labels on appliances estimate how much money you'll spend each year to operate them so you can compare one appliance to another.

Consumers would get the same kind of benefit from a new program announced this month by the U.S. Department of Energy for window attachments — the shades, awnings, and other devices installed over a window to block sunlight.

DOEUnited States Department of Energy. is joining the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) to develop a "comprehensive energy ratings and certification program" over the next four years that will result in new product labels for consumers.

The Attachments Energy Ratings Council will develop standards for both residential and commercial products.

Citing a government analysis, WCMA said that window attachments have the potential to save 800 trillion BTUBritish thermal unit, the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water (about a pint) one degree Fahrenheit in temperature—about the heat content of one wooden kitchen match. One Btu is equivalent to 0.293 watt-hours or 1,055 joules. of energy by 2030. "Despite this substantial opportunity, there are currently no performance rating mechanisms for assessing the energy performance of fenestration attachments, which means the available energy savings are not being fully realized because consumers are unable to identify the fenestration attachment products that have the potential to save energy," the association said.

Program development complete by 2018

The government said it would kick in $1.6 million to aid the effort, and that energy performance-based rating, certification, and labeling standards would be developed in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, public interest groups, utilities, and the DOE.

Although the program was just announced, the project actually launched last October and is due for completion on September 30, 2018.

Among technical goals listed by the WCMA were characterizing key material properties, such as transmittance, reflectance and emissivityAmount of heat radiation emitted from a particular body or material. Emissivity is expressed in a fraction or ratio, with the lowest values indicating low emissivity and the highest indicating the high emissivity of flat black surfaces., and simulating project performance.

Manufacturers, public interest groups, non-profits, test laboratories, and experienced energy raters all were invited to become AERC members. There's a nomination form posted at the WCMA website.

If you decide to attend the group's meetings, just remember to say “fenestration attachment product,” not “awning.”

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Image Credits:

  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory

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