Who would have guessed that the Stimulus Bill would cause such a change in our industry.
The Energy Star compliant window has always been one of those government anomalies that bugged me due to it's halfheartedness. The requirement for improved efficiency (U-Factor), but lack of any mention of summer sunlight efficiency (SHGC) always seemed clueless. I have seen Energy Star compliant windows that allow 50% of the heat from sunlight to pass through it.
Cities and utilities started offering rebates based on U-Factor too. And again no mention of SHGC, how well the window keeps the heat of sunlight out of your home.
So, as much as I am amazed at the clueless nature of most politicians, I have been very pleased with the energy efficiencies required to qualify for the new 30% IRS Tax Credit. Not only do your new windows need to have a U-Factor 15-20% better than Energy Star, but you now have to have a SHGC of .30 or lower.
At least here in Oregon, the manufacturers are geared up for a window with a .35 U-Factor and a SHGC generally in the high .30's. In order to get to the the magic 30/30 number consumers would normally have to pay a 20% up charge. But this week I have watch manufacturers scrambling to revamp, re-negotiate and re-stock the glass (Low-e 366) that brings vinyl windows in line to qualify for the 30% credit.
In the short term it looks like this 30/30 stimulus window will run about 15% more than Energy Star. That being said, as economies of scale and competition kicks in we will see that drop to 10%. As in the computer biz, early adopters will pay a premium, but unlike the computer biz this price drop is just around the corner. In less than one month this should shake out.
This is a great time to replace your old windows. These 30/30 windows (taking into consideration the credit and energy savings) will pay for themselves in no time. You might even qualify for other rebates.
UPDATE: 3-7-09 - It did not take as long as I thought and the price decrease was greater than I expected. I am pleased to be able to provide our customers a 30/30 Stimulus Window for only 10% more than an Energy Star window. A full 50% decrease in the cost to upgrade and qualify.
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