Friday, January 29, 2010

Fall/Winter 2009 Window & Door Industry Webinar Now Available

Jordan, Knauff & Company has made available a free download, including slides and audio, of its recently recorded Fall/Winter 2009 Window & Door Industry Update Webinar.

The topics covered in the presentation included an overview of the window and door industry and an analysis of transactions along with expansions and the slowing rate of plant closings and bankruptcies. Also included was a discussion of current industry trends, the state of the residential and commercial real estate markets and a review of the capital markets and private equity investing as they pertain to the window and door industry. The final section of the presentation covered current trends regarding competition from Chinese companies, including the most recent import statistics and some of the events taking place in China that will affect the U.S. domestic market.

A complimentary copy of the presentation is available, along with all of Jordan Knauff’s research on the door and window industry.

Take me to the Webinar.

Updates from BCAP

Below are some of the updates being reported by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP).


On October 15, the Connecticut Department of Public Safety’s State Codes and Standards Committee (SCSC) announced that it intended to review and consider proposals amending the 2009 IECC for inclusion in the 2010 Amendments to the 2005 State Building Code (which currently uses the 2006 IECC) to comply with Public Act 09-192. The SCSC met initially on December 9 and accepted proposals through December 31. The SCSC met again on January 27 to receive and review the proposed changes to the 2009 IECC.


The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) State Codes Advisory Committee (SCAC) 2009 IECC Task Force has posted minutes from its January 14 meeting. The fourth meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17 in Atlanta. The Task Force is tentatively expected to review all code amendments submitted to date. Information on previous meetings can be found at the Task Force homepage.

New York

After giving initial approval to a proposed state energy code update on December 16, the New York State Uniform Fire and Building Code Council has scheduled a series of public hearings on the approved changes in early March. The proposed 2010 Energy Conservation Construction Code of New York State would be based on the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 (the current ECCCNYS is based on the 2004 IECC supplement and ASHRAE 90.1-2004). The New York Department of State (NYS-DOS) hopes to implement the new energy code by the end of this year.


The 2009 Uniform Construction Code (UCC) – which incorporates the 2009 IECC with alternative compliance paths through the 2009 IRC (Chapter 11) and the 2009 Pennsylvania Alternative Residential Energy Provisions (PA-Alt) – was approved in December and became effective on January 1, 2010. This month, the Pennsylvania Builders Association filed for a preliminary injunction against the 2009 UCC. A hearing date has been scheduled for Monday, March 1 in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BCAP's "OCEAN" Simplifies Interaction on Building Codes

The Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) is promoting a resource known as the Online Code Environment and Advocacy Network (OCEAN). Creators of this network believe it will improve energy efficiency in buildings across the United States.

OCEAN facilitates sharing best practices and educational resources related to building energy code adoption, implementation, compliance, and enforcement. OCEAN also facilitates discussion regarding code issues and provides information regarding existing programs aimed at serving as models for future projects.

Prior to the implementation of OCEAN, no single resource provided this kind of information to the energy code community. OCEAN was essentially built over time by its users, who provided valuable and practical information based on their experience in the industry.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Green Building Standards Coming to California

Green Building Insider is reporting that California's Building Standards Commission (CBSC) has adopted a mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN). It is intended to improve energy efficiency and environmental responsibility for all new buildings.

CALGREEN, which is thought to be the first code of its kind in the United States, is slated to go into effect in January 2011.

CALGREEN requires a 15 percent reduction in energy use compared to the current California standard Title 24 Part 6, which already exceeds the national model energy code.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Codes Updates Reported by BCAP

Below are some of the latest codes updates being reported by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP)


On January 14, a bill known as HB 264 was introduced in the Alabama State Legislature. This bill would provide a process for adoption and compliance with codes required under federal law, the Recovery Act. The bill would, in part, accomplish the following:

1.) Replace the Alabama Energy Code Board with the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board, giving the new board sole authority over adoption and implementation of the state’s energy codes

2.) Replace a reference to the Model Energy Code with the new Alabama Energy and Residential Codes, established as the 2006 IECC/Standard 90.1-2007 for commercial buildings and the 2006 IRC for residential buildings, or “any subsequent editions”

3.) Prohibit local jurisdictions from adopting codes that conflict with the new state codes or amending code requirements mandated by the Recovery Act


A bill known as SB 220 was introduced in the Alaska State Legislature as the Alaska Sustainable Energy Act, which intends to achieve a 10 percent increase in energy efficiency on a per capita basis by 2015 and a 15 percent increase in energy efficiency by 2020. The legislation declares the state’s energy policy to include statewide energy codes for public buildings and assistance for local communities interested in implementing residential and commercial energy codes.

Among the provisions of the bill, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is charged with administering an energy efficiency grant fund to incentivize new or retrofitted public buildings to comply with the latest version of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 or achieve LEED certification. The bill also establishes an energy use index database for public buildings and requires energy audits at least once every seven years.


On January 12, California adopted the nation’s first mandatory green building standards. Effective January 1, 2011, all new buildings must comply with the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN). The California Air Resources Board estimates that the mandatory provisions will curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 3 million metric tons in 2020, helping the state reach its goal of 33 percent GHG reduction this decade.
Among other provisions, CALGREEN will require mandatory inspections of energy systems for nonresidential buildings over 10,000 square feet.


After the Hawaii Building Code Council approved the 2006 IECC with state-specific amendments on October 13, work has begun on the development of a statewide code to be based on the 2009 IECC. The 2009 IECC subcommittee of the Dept. of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism met on January 12 in Honolulu. Minutes from the Oct. 13, Nov. 4, Dec. 8, and Jan. 12 meetings are now available.


On January 12, a bill called SB 745 was introduced in the Missouri General Assembly that would establish a mandatory statewide energy code for residential and commercial construction and renovation. By August 28, 2011, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would have to establish the Missouri Uniform Building Energy Code, to be based on the most recent editions of the IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1. DNR would be required to adopt new editions of the model codes within 9 months of their publication, and local jurisdictions would have to adopt the new state code within 120 days of its approval. Municipalities would be charged with enforcing the state code and would be allowed to adopt more stringent requirements.


On January 18, a bill known as HB 2927 was introduced in the Washington State Legislature that would delay the implementation of the 2009 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC), as approved by the Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) on November 20, until such time that the SBCC provides a Small Business Economic Impact Statement for review and action by the Legislature’s Joint Administrative Rules Review Committee (JARRC). The new regulations are currently set to become effective on July 1. The bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Technology, Energy & Communications.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NFRC Label Shows Which Products Qualify for Tax Credit

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, otherwise known as the stimulus package, created tax benefits for those who purchase qualifying energy efficient products. These products include certian windows, doors, and skylights.

There are a few key things to keep in mind, however, when purchasing fenestration products with the intention of taking the tax credit.

First, the credit is available throughout 2010. Second, the maximum credit is 30% of costs, not to exceed $1500. Also, keep in mind that installation costs are excluded. Third, not all windows, doors, and skylights will qualify.

To be sure the products you are considering will qualify for the tax credit, check the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) label. Both the U- factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) must be 0.30 or less.

Finally, please remember this is a tax credit and not a rebate. Purchasers of qualifying fenestration products will not receive a rebate check. Instead, they may be able to deduct up to $1500 from their taxable income.

Further information regarding the tax credit is available on the ENERGY STAR Website.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Experts See Imporvement Ahead for Nonresidential Construction Market

Chief Economist, Jim Haughey, of Reed Construction Data in Georgia said during a recent Webinar that he expects nonresidential construction to increase by about six percent in 2011. Economists from McGrawHill Construction and The Associated General Contractors of America agree.

Haughey believes the decline in nonresidential construction, which fell by approximately 5.7% in 2009, will kick into reverse during late 2010 and lead to slow but steady progress. Some of the main areas where nonresidential construction is expected to grow include office buildings, retail stores and shopping centers, and hotels.

NFRC is watching this trend closely, particularly as it works diligently to roll out its Component Modeling Approach (CMA) Program.


Retrofit Windows an Easy Project for Do-it-Yourselfers

Upgrading the windows in one's home can improve energy efficiency, and it may not be nearly as difficult as some people might think.

According to the Website,, Retrofit windows allow new vinyl windows to fit into older-style aluminum frames. This means homeowners can benefit from energy efficiency without needing to fit new window frames.

The Website also says nearly anyone with the right tools and materials should be able to install retrofit windows quickly and easily – in about one day.


Friday, January 15, 2010

MEEA Conference Closes with Emphasis on Weatherization Projects

Robin Roy, Vice President of Projects and Policy for Serious Materials served as one of the closing speakers at the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (MEEA) Energy Solutions Conference.

The conference, which was held January 13 through January 15, concluded today at about noon Central Time.

During Roy’s closing remarks, he emphasized the need to re-energize America by making the best possible use of the $5 billion in stimulus funds available for weatherization projects over the next two years. Roy said that prior to the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA), the funding available for such projects had been about $250 million annually for nearly 12 years.

“We’re standing on the cusp of a rare and amazing opportunity,” Roy said. “We must take advantage of it and provide retrofits for the nearly 50 million buildings that could benefit from the resulting cost savings.”

NFRC representatives attended MEEA’s Energy Solutions Conference to promote awareness of its activities and programs and to explain the role they play in sustainable building and improving energy efficiency.

BCAP Reports on Updated Building Codes

Below are some of the most recent updates being reported by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP).


In accordance with the statutory requirements of the Green Communities Act of 2008, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) has amended the 7th Edition State Building Code (780 CMR). As of January 1, builders must use the 2009 IECC with MA amendments.

BBRS is allowing a 6-month concurrency period, through June 30, 2010, during which either the previous code (the 2006 IECC with the 2007 IECC Supplement and MA amendments) or the new code may be used. Commencing July 1, 2010, the baseline energy conservation requirements of the State Building Code will default to 2009 IECC and MA amendments.


As directed by legislation passed in May 2009, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) published the 2010 Maryland Building Performance Standards (MBPS).

Effective January 1, the MBPS now incorporate by reference the 2009 IECC, as well as the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) and the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC). Each local jurisdiction in Maryland may modify these codes with exception to the 2009 IECC and the energy efficiency chapter (Chapter 13) of the 2009 IBC, which can be made more stringent but not less so. The energy efficiency chapter (Chapter 11) of the 2009 IRC has been deleted and replaced with a reference to the 2009 IECC.


The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) State Codes Advisory Committee (SCAC) 2009 IECC Task Force has posted minutes from its meetings on November 16 and December 9. The third meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for Thursday, January 14 in Atlanta. The Task Force is tentatively expected to review all amendments submitted to date up to item 2009-IECC-21.


After the Hawaii Building Code Council approved the 2006 IECC with state-specific amendments on October 13, work has begun on the development of a statewide code to be based on the 2009 IECC. The 2009 IECC subcommittee of the Dept. of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism met on January 12 in Honolulu. Minutes from the Oct. 13, Nov. 4, and Dec. 8 meetings are now available.


In July, the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development voted in favor of adopting a recommendation to update the Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) to reference the 2009 IECC and 2009 IRC (it currently references the 2006 IECC). The DHCD will hold a public meeting on Monday, January 25 in Glen Allen, at which it will receive public comments on the proposed USBC update. The Board is scheduled to review and finalize adoption of the proposed code changes during the first six months of 2010, with a tentative effective date of September 30, 2010.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Harris Offers Ideas for Achieving Net Zero Energy

Jeff Harris, Vice President of Programs for the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) in Washington, D.C., emphasized the importance of striving for Net Zero Energy during the second day of the Energy Solutions Conference, which is being held by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) this week at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago.

Harris described Net Zero Energy buildings as those that produce as much energy as they use.

According to Harris, buildings are the largest users of electricity and natural gas in the country, accounting for as much as 40% of energy costs. Furthermore, estimates suggest the amount of energy U.S. buildings consume will increase by approximately 23% by 2030.

“Obviously, we need to act now to reverse this trend,” Harris said. “We simply must do whatever it takes to greatly reduce the amount of energy buildings are consuming.”

While reversing the trend of growing energy consumption in buildings poses significant challenges, it also offers certain opportunities. These include the development of new technologies and the creation of new jobs for those who can implement these technologies.

In closing, Harris expressed his belief that many current building codes are far too static. In order to achieve Net Zero Energy, he sees the need for them to become continually more stringent.

“Today’s best practices need to become tomorrow’s baseline practices,” Harris concluded. “We’re facing a big challenge, but with a lot of hard work we will be able to create the kind of future we are merely envisioning today.”

NFRC representatives are attending MEEA’s Energy Solutions Conference to promote awareness of NFRC’s activities and programs and to call attention to the role they can play in sustainable building and energy efficiency.

The Energy Solutions Conference concludes tomorrow, Friday, January 15.

MEEA Conference

NFRC Attending MEEA Conference, Looking to Define Role in DOE Efforts

Yesterday morning, the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) kicked off its Annual Energy Efficiency Conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago.

MEEA adopted the theme “Opportunity Now” for the conference, and its opening speaker’s message was in perfect alignment with this theme.

Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said the stimulus package has created an unprecedented opportunity for building models of energy efficiency that can be used both now and far into the future.

Hogan said the task that lies before the DOE is to see that the stimulus funds are well spent. According to Hogan, the DOE has about $5 billion slated to improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes. This amount is expected to help weatherize approximately 700,000 homes over the next 18 months.

Hogan also highlighted the need for strong measurement and evaluation of energy savings programs to avoid duplicative efforts and said the DOE will focus heavily on leveraging existing programs into new ones. Hogan feels an important aspect of the DOE’s work is to view it as an opportunity to build a blueprint for replicating the programs that emerge as the most impactful.

“There is a tremendous amount of work underway at the DOE, and we intend to be smart about how we invest the stimulus funds,” Hogan concluded. “Our goal is not to look for temporary fixes but to find long-term solutions. We’re in the midst of a new era of opportunity for improving energy efficiency, and we’ll be working aggressively to capitalize on it.”

NFRC is attending MEEA’s conference to more clearly define specifically how its activities and programs fit in with the DOE’s work.

MEEA conference continues today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Prescott News Says NFRC Helps Consumers Make Better Choices

A recent article in Prescott News says the appearance and arrangement of windows, doors, and skylights can greatly impact the aesthetic appeal and marketability of one’s home.

Choosing the right windows, doors, and skylights, however, may turn frustrating when one contemplates the many offerings of the numerous companies that produce these products.

One of the reasons for this frustration is that there are multiple choices to be made. For example, one must choose among frames constructed of wood, aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, or even some combination of these materials. Furthermore, one must choose from double pane, triple pane, Low E, tempered, tinted, and laminated glass.

While there is no one solution that will work for all consumers, the key to making the best purchasing decision requires determining what one wants to accomplish. Some may be seeking optimal thermal comfort while others may want to prevent ultraviolet radiation from damaging their possessions.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) helps purchasers compare brands by certifying their energy efficiency ratings. These
ratings include U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), Air Leakage, and Visible Transmittance.

The information NFRC provides makes it easier for purchasers to compare products and to choose the ones that best meet their specific needs.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Maine Governor Announces Weatherization Incentives

Governor John E. Baldacci of Maine has announced a new statewide benefit for homeowners seeking to improve energy efficiency.

Dubbed the “Maine Home Performance Program,” all Maine homeowners may participate. By making eligible improvements they can access rebates of up to $3,000.

The program, administered by
Efficiency Maine, is designed to encourage residents of the state to consider improving their homes to save energy. Last year the Legislature passed the Governor’s energy bill that set the goal to weatherize all Maine homes and half of Maine businesses by 2030.


Friday, January 8, 2010

NFRC 2010 Documents Now Available for Review

One of NFRC's main functions is to promulgate technical standards that establish uniform procedures for determining various energy performance ratings such as U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Visible Transmittance, and Condensation Resistance.

Accordingly, you can now access the NFRC 2010 documents that have been approved by NFRC membership and the NFRC Board of Directors for publication.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

BCAP Reports Codes Updates

Below are some of the updates being reported by the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP).


The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) State Codes Advisory Committee (SCAC) 2009 IECC Task Force has posted minutes from its meetings on November 16 and December 9. The third meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for Thursday, January 14, 2010 in Atlanta.

New York

On December 16, 2009 the New York State Uniform Fire and Building Code Council moved a proposal to update the state energy code to the final stages of the state’s regulatory process.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Building Codes Council has posted the proposed modifications to the state’s building code, which includes adoption of the 2009 IBC and 2009 IRC (with amendments), but does not include adoption of the 2009 IECC, the state’s current code is the 2006 IECC.


Having been charged to develop a new statewide residential energy code earlier this year, the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office has issued a rulemaking proposal adopting the 2006 IECC. The proposal would also mandate state buildings to use ASHRAE 90.1-2007 instead of Chapter 13 of the 2006 IBC.


The Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) will hold a public meeting to inform stakeholders about the rulemaking and implementation timeline to update the state’s energy codes. The meeting will be on Thursday, January 28 in Austin.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

R-5 Window Program Seeks Proposals

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking proposals from manufacturers interested in its R-5 Window and Low-E Storm Window Volume Purchase Program.

The deadline for submission is February 19, 2010.

Final specifications call for a U-factor of .20 or below for fixed windows and .22 or below for operable units. The specifications also require an air leakage rating of 0.30 or below.


Monday, January 4, 2010

China Plans for Upcoming Sustainability Forum

On December 11, 2009, the Grassroots Planning meeting for the China Sustainable Building (CSB) Forum 2010 was held in Shanghai.

Attendees were comprised largely of academic leaders and entrepreneurs representing various sections of building industry. During the meeting, they contributed insight on the strategic mission of CSB 2010.

One heavy topic of discussion was how neighborhood development should be the mainstream of green building practice in the near future. The planning meeting also provided an extensive platform for young professionals to share green building experience.