Why have requirements for windows changed?
For the first seven years Dollar & Energy Saving Loans were available, the only requirement for a replacement window was that the window have two panes of glass and the window opening area not increase. In 1997, the Energy Office reviewed the program requirements for the most common projects because changes in building practices and technology improvements had made some of the requirements obsolete. A standard, double-pane window is a project that is so common it no longer encourages people toward "energy efficient" improvements. Since improving energy efficiency is the primary purpose of the loans, the window requirements were raised.
A new Form 2 WINDOW/DOOR is now required for window and door replacements. What information is really needed for a window loan?
The National Fenestration Rating Council is a non-profit, public/private collaboration of manufacturers, builders, designers, code officials, consumers, utilities and regulators. The Council has been charged with establishing a national energy performance rating system for windows and doors as required by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Products that have been tested for heat loss, both by computer simulation and actual, physical test, are considered "NFRC certified." There are about 30,500 certified products in the 6th edition of the Council's Directory. A new edition is due out very soon.
Loans for windows now require window products (including windows, glass doors and skylights) have an overall R-value of at least 2.5 (U factor < 0.40), based on NFRC tests, or windows have construction features which typically result in a qualifying R-value. There are several ways to document qualifications of a window product for which you have received a bid:
1. Submit a copy of the
National Fenestration Rating Council temporary certification label (see example) for the
specific window product to be installed. This is the preferred documentation.
2. Identify the window product (manufacturer, NFRC product line and individual NFRC product number) so it can be referenced in the NFRC Directory.
3. Submit manufacturer's data showing the window product is "NFRC certified," or the window has been tested by an independent laboratory using NFRC test methods (both computer simulation and physical heat loss measurement).
4. Submit manufacturer's product literature showing the window product has the required construction features listed on Form 2 WINDOW/DOOR. If the manufacturer's literature is for a group of products, mark the particular product you intend to install. If you are using this method, place a checkmark in the "construction features" column of Form 2 WINDOW/DOOR. Otherwise, mark "measured performance."
Then complete the form and attach it to your loan application. Copy the total cost for all window products to Line 7 on Form 2. Accurate completion of these forms will avoid delays that can result from the Energy Office contacting lenders for additional information.
Form 2 WINDOW/DOOR also includes doors. What type of information is needed for the loan application?
Sliding glass doors
and patio doors are considered window products, not doors. Solid doors (also called
exterior or slab doors) with only a little glass are dealt with in the lower part of the
table on Form 2 WINDOW/DOOR. The NFRC has a test method by which door systems (including
door, frame and any glass) can be certified. The test, however, has not yet been utilized
by a majority of the manufacturers.
The loans require exterior door systems to have an overall R-value of at least 4.0 (U factor < 0.25), based on NFRC tests, or doors have construction features which typically result in a qualifying R-value. Like windows, door qualifications can be documented by submitting the NFRC label, complete NFRC identification, proof of NFRC certification or equivalent, or proof the required construction features are included for the specific door you want to install.
The form is completed just as for window products, and the total exterior door cost listed on Line 14, Form 2.
How about overhead or garage doors?
These types of doors are treated just like exterior doors on the form. Since there is no NFRC certification for overhead doors, they must qualify based on their construction features.
Where should screen doors be listed on this form?
Screen doors are not included on Form 2 WINDOW/DOOR since their purpose is not to insulate, but to block the wind and hold an insulating air space next to the exterior door. Screen doors should be listed on Form 2, Line 6.
Can larger replacement windows and doors be installed?
As always, the area of (rough) openings for replacement windows and doors cannot be greater than the area of the old openings. Where windows and/or doors are being moved, combined or split, the total area of openings in a building must not increase.
What if the window or door I want doesn't meet the requirements?
You always have the option of submitting an energy audit calculations to demonstrate the energy cost savings of the desired window or door will repay the project cost in 15 years or less. It is very unlikely the calculated payback will be that quick, but if you have a special situation, contact the Energy Office for the Energy Audit Forms 32 and 33.