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Denver Mayor Attends RavenBrick Smart Window Ribbon Cutting

Written on September 23, 2014 at 10:58

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock joined Alex Burney, CEO of RavenBrick, Sept. 16 during a ribbon cutting ceremony held at RavenBrick’s world headquarters in Denver, Colorado. In addition, key investors, members of Denver’s Office of Economic Development, Chris Sheppard, Director of Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, and The Honorable Marcy Grossman, Canadian Consul General in Denver attended the event.

The ceremony marked the unveiling of the new automated line for RavenWindow, and of the mass production of this new dynamic window technology. RavenWindow is a thermochromic filter that manages solar heat gain by transitioning to a tinted state during hot conditions. In addition to managing solar heat during summer months, RavenWindow’s adaptive technology allows solar heat through windows during cold conditions, according to company officials.

“Denver’s cleantech and manufacturing sectors are growing stronger thanks to the innovations of forward-moving companies like RavenBrick,” Mayor Hancock said. “I applaud the firm for its success in creating good, middle-skill jobs while expanding its production volume for commercial and residential applications around the globe.”

At the ceremony, RavenBrick presented the Mayor with a ceremonial check commemorating the firm’s recent payoff of a $275,000 small business loan provided by the Denver Office of Economic Development. Provided in 2011, the business expansion loan was leveraged to secure nearly $10 million in venture capital and federal and state financing.

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Pella’s Joseph Hayden Named NFRC’s Dariush Arasteh Member of the Year

Written on September 23, 2014 at 10:58

The National Fenestration Rating Council awarded the Dariush Arasteh Memorial Member of the Year to Joseph Hayden, Senior Engineer, Technical Leader-Products, for Pella Corp. Hayden has been involved with NFRC for 18 years and during that time he has been active on every committee, subcommittee, and many task groups. He also served a term as the Chair of the NFRC Board of Directors.

The field of nominees in 2014 was particularly competitive, with ten eligible and deserving candidates nominated for the honor, according to an NFRC news release. That Hayden won is testament to the significance of his contribution to NFRC.

“NFRC is fortunate to enjoy many dedicated volunteers and Joe still manages to stand out in the crowd,” says Jeff Baker, NFRC Board of Directors Chair. “Requests for feedback not only get quick responses, but responses are always thoughtful and thorough. It is no surprise that as soon as Joe was eligible he was recognized with this award sooner.”

“I’ve said a lot of times that I don’t know of a harder working group of people than the folks at NFRC,” Hayden says. “It’s truly an honor to work with all of them and to receive this award.”

NFRC is grateful for the efforts of all of its volunteers. To better recognize all that our volunteers do on a monthly basis, NFRC members may now nominate their fellow members for the monthly Member Spotlight. For more information on the Dariush Arasteh Memorial Member of the Year Award, the Member Spotlight or to nominate a member for recognition, please contact Jessica Finn, NFRC Membership Coordinator, at 240/821-9512 or visit the member portion of the NFRC website.

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PGT Completes Acquisition of CGI Windows & Doors

Written on September 23, 2014 at 10:58

PGT Inc. has completed the acquisition of CGI Windows Doors Holdings Inc. The transaction, valued at approximately $111 million, is consistent with PGT’s plan to grow strategically while contributing to earnings growth through targeted acquisitions of complementary specialty products, according to a PGT release issued today.

“Today we welcome the entire CGI team to our family and couldn’t be more pleased to begin our journey together,” says Jeff Jackson, president and Chief Operating Officer of PGT Industries. “We also want to welcome the valued CGI customers and thank them for their continued support and partnership. The capabilities and assets the talented CGI team brings will allow us to advance our collective leadership position in the industry.”

The acquisition combines two successful companies committed to serving the impact-resistant window and door industry and is expected to:

  • Enhance PGT’s position in the growing impact-resistant window and door industry
  • Diversify and broaden PGT’s brand and product portfolio
  • Create synergies by maximizing efficiencies and scale including purchasing and logistics
  • Broaden manufacturing footprint and capabilities

With the completion of the transaction, Jeff Jackson is the president and Chief Operations Officer of both PGT and CGI. Steven Dawson will continue with CGI in the expanded role of vice president and general manager. Jorge Santaella will continue to be responsible for operations as director of Manufacturing.

“Our team is thrilled to join the PGT family, and I am honored to continue with CGI in my new role,” says Steven Dawson. “With the additional resources and support, CGI will be even better placed to serve our customers while leading as an innovator in product craftsmanship, strength and style.”

The Company’s stated business strategy is that:

  • CGI will continue to operate and manufacture products in Miami, Florida.
  • CGI will remain a separate and distinct brand in the marketplace.
  • Both Companies will leverage best-practices and synergies to provide incremental value to employees, customers, business partners and stockholders.

PGT will disclose certain financial information regarding the historic performance of CGI on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 and will hold a conference call Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time and will simultaneously broadcast it live over the Internet. The webcast will also be available through the Investor Relations section of the PGT Inc. website.

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Fenzi Group President Dino Fenzi Passes Away

Written on September 22, 2014 at 22:57


Dino Fenzi, Fenzi Group’s president, president of Vitrum, and honorary president of the Italian Association of Glass-Processing Machinery and Accessory Suppliers (GIMAV), passed away Sept. 22.

“Our association has lost one of its founding members, but above all a great friend, who for over thirty years has dedicated his time and efforts to the growth of GIMAV and the industry as a whole. A great person is gone,” said GIMAV officials in a release.

Fenzi was born in 1941, the same year his father started the Fenzi Group. “My father founded the company four months after I was born,” Fenzi said in a 2011 interview with Glass Magazine. “At the time, he was the managing director of Saint-Gobain’s department responsible for producing mirror backing paints and putty for car windscreens. But this was during war, and due to Allied sanctions, the company was forced to close all but essential wartime production, which included only glass. He decided to establish his own company.”

Fenzi joined the business at 19, and went on to lead the company alongside his brother, Fernando. The Fenzi Group has remained a family business, with Fenzi’s son, Alessandro, serving as CEO, and nephew, Fabio, as head of the Ceramic Paints Division.

“Our family is permeated by business. We talk, eat and sleep business. … We always agree. There has never been an argument. This is the strength of our story,” Fenzi said during the 2011 interview.

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North Carolina Rejects Temporary Rule Discouraging Use of Low-E Windows

Written on September 22, 2014 at 10:57

The North Carolina Rules Review Commission rejected the temporary rule which allowed permit holders to opt-out of using low-emissivity fenestration products in residential construction.

In an Aug. 8, 2014 letter to the North Carolina Building Code Council, the American Architectural Manufacturers Assocation led a coalition of industry organizations including Glass Association of North America, Insulating Glass Manufacturers Assocation and Window and Door Manufacturers Assocation in conveying that the Emergency Rulemaking was established utilizing inaccurate information and that the required criteria for issuing this rule had not been satisfied. The letter specifically stated that the use of low-E windows significantly improves building envelope energy efficiency.

“North Carolina has been a longtime leader in adopting and advancing residential and commercial building energy codes that reduce energy dependence,” association officials state in the letter. “The use of low-E glass has played a key role in reducing energy use in North Carolina and across the country. Low-E glass has been used safely as an integral part of construction projects for decades and continues to grow in popularity, because it provides comfort and value. It works and it works well.”

“This is an important victory for our industry, both in North Carolina and in any state or jurisdiction that values the energy efficiency that today’s fenestration products offer to consumers,” says Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO. “AAMA sincerely thanks all of the members and industry representatives who worked together to ensure this outcome.”

The North Carolina Building Code Council stated that they will not attempt to issue additional rules regarding this matter.

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New Online Voting Not Without Its Drawbacks

Written on September 20, 2014 at 10:56

This year’s ICC code development process focuses on two key areas: the revision of the 2012  International Green Construction Code and the pilot of the cdpACCESS program.

In the June/July issue of Window Door, I questioned the future viability of the IgCC. Despite rumors circulating within the ICC community at press time, however, there is no specific news to report.

Yet, the secondary focus of the 2014 ICC Group C Code Change Cycle remains: cdpACCESS. The first phases of the cdpACCESS process are complete. Code-change proponents submitted code-change proposals and public comments using the online system. Assembly motions made during the ICC 2014 Committee Action Hearings were voted on via cdpACCESS, and the results of those votes were included in the 2014 Report on the Committee Action Hearings.

The next phase in the cdpACCESS process will be the finalization of code-change proposal results. This will be accomplished by adding online voting for governmental voting representatives through cdpACCESS.

Here’s how it will work: As in previous ICC code-change cycles, public comments on previous committee actions will be heard at public hearings. However, these hearings will no longer be referred to as “Final Action Hearings,” but instead as “Public Comment Hearings.” The Public Comment Hearings (PCH) will determine the options that will be offered via online ballot. Voters will be required to either approve the action taken during the PCH, or disapprove it.


To better understand the possible implications of this additional step, let’s look at a specific example from this year’s cycle.

A proposal (GG194) was submitted to give greater weight to materials that have an Environmental Product Declaration when determining compliance with the material selection requirements of the IgCC. Although AAMA supports appropriate recognition of EPDs in the IgCC, we opposed this proposal. The reason for AAMA’s opposition was that the language was vague and could be misapplied.

The IgCC code-change committee approved GG194 during the Committee Action Hearings. Although there was a floor motion for disapproval, it was not successful during online voting via cdpACCESS.

Therefore, the “standing motion” on the proposal at this time—prior to the PCH—is for approval as submitted (AS).

Since AAMA is concerned that the proposal as submitted could be misapplied, we do not want to see it receive AS. We do, however, support appropriate recognition of EPDs in the IgCC and believe that the stated intent of the proposal is appropriate.

For this reason, AAMA submitted a public comment to modify the proposal. The proposed modification clarifies its proponents’ stated intent. In order for AAMA’s public comment to be presented as an option to online voters, however, at least two thirds of those voting in the assembly at the PCH need to vote in favor of it. If that occurs, then the online voters will be presented with two options: either approval as modified by AAMA’s public comment, or disapprove.

If the proposed modification does not receive a favorable vote from at least two thirds of those participating in the online vote, the entire proposal will be disapproved. Those voting online will not have the option of voting on the original proposal. This is true even though the original proposal was approved by the codechange committee and would have otherwise only needed approval by a simple majority of the online voters to be successful.

The proponents of GG194 would have preferred that AAMA not submit a public comment, not because they oppose the proposed changes but because not receiving a two-thirds majority of the online vote runs the risk of GG194 being disapproved completely.

If another party had not also submitted a public comment, AAMA might have considered withdrawing its public comments. But since another public comment was submitted, the scenario described above would be a possibility anyway.

The ICC has chosen to exercise online voting in this manner for a couple of reasons. First, if online voters are presented with more than two options, the ICC might fail to receive a clear majority vote. Second, it is the ICC’s view that being able to vote on what option will appear on the online ballot will be an incentive for governmental voting representatives to attend the PCH.

This new practice’s net effect remains to be seen.

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Code Arena is brought to you by the America Architectural Manufacturers Association. Julie Ruth may be reached through AAMA at 847/303-5664 or via e-mail at

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New User Guide Streamlines NAFS Application

Written on September 20, 2014 at 10:56

As fenestration products have evolved to encompass greater numbers and combinations of operator types, materials and performance criteria, their governing standard has grown substantially.

Consider this: In the 25 years since the advent of the first truly material-neutral, performance-oriented standard—AAMA 101-88—the scope has grown from 44 pages referencing 14 operator types and 45 other standards to today’s North American Fenestration Standard/Specification for windows, doors, and skylights—NAFS-11—with its 36 operator types, 167 pages and reference to more than 160 other technical standards, regulations and guidelines. Understanding, interpreting and applying the standard has consequently become more challenging for manufacturers, fenestration product designers, architects, specifiers, code officials, contractors and testing laboratories.


In view of this, AAMA, the Canadian Standards Association Group and the Window Door Manufacturers Association— the co-authors of NAFS—have jointly published a User Guide to the 2011 NAFS. The result of a multi-year effort by the three associations, the NAFS User Guide is a non-mandatory, advisory document to provide guidance for the proper application of NAFS. It’s made up of informative commentary, illustrations and examples to help answer common questions and provide greater insight into the requirements.

NAFS applies to operating and fixed, new construction and replacement windows, doors, roof windows and unit skylights installed into exterior building envelopes. It establishes material-neutral, minimum and optional performance requirements for these products. Performance requirements are used in NAFS when possible; prescriptive requirements are used when unavoidable. The 2011 version of NAFS is already referenced in the 2012 editions of the International Building Code and International Residential Code, and is expected to replace the 2008 edition in the 2015 National Building Code of Canada.

The User Guide format helps the marketplace compare and specify the best products. To simplify the writing of performance specifications, it includes a recommended “short-form specification” that may be used for the most common types and classes of fenestration products within the scope of NAFS, merely by inserting the applicable NAFS designation(s).


The guide is structured to parallel the standard itself, with section numbers identical to those in the main standard. This allows users to quickly find the applicable commentary and the corresponding section in the standard. It also incorporates appropriate reference material from outside sources.

The important concepts of Performance Grade, Performance Class, Design Pressure, “gateway” performance levels and maximum test size are clarified. A Table of Correspondences to reconcile differences between the 2008 and 2011 editions of NAFS is also included.

For example, it shows that the four PCs are general suggestions for use and that product selection is always based on the actual project performance requirements. The common use of these classes are as follows:

  • R – single-family dwellings;
  • LC – multi-family dwellings and low-rise office or retail buildings;
  • CW – larger commercial buildings to meet higher loading requirements;
  • AW – high-rise buildings to meet more extreme loads and deflection forces.

The guide also clarifies that, to qualify for a given PG, one or more representative specimens of the product must pass all required laboratory performance tests. They must be tested at a given DP for structural load-bearing capability due to maximum wind pressures expected at the building location, maximum frame deflection, air leakage resistance and water penetration resistance, plus operating force and/or forced entry resistance and/or operation cycling performance as applicable. Laboratory test methods for determining these aspects are explained along with all required auxiliary (durability) tests for the applicable product type and desired PC.

The guide elaborates on the use of ASCE/SEI 7-10 for establishing basic wind speed and the resultant DP. A convenient table compares ASCE/SEI 7-05 and ASCE/SEI 7-10.

The NAFS User Guide represents yet another significant step toward facilitating trade and commerce across the U.S.-Canadian border for fenestration industry manufacturers. It puts all of the reference and explanatory information into one place and will further simplify the content for the next edition of NAFS in 2017.

Copies of the NAFS 11 User Guide may be obtained by visiting the AAMA Publication Store.

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Rich Walker is president and CEO of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, 847/303-5664,

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A Closer Look at Rough Openings

Written on September 20, 2014 at 10:56

Rough opening” is a regular partof our terminology. Yet, the requirements and variationsare not often fully understood. This lack of comprehensive knowledge can lead to both improperly installed windows and ordering errors. A good rough opening is the foundation of a proper installation, and in the case of replacement, the reference for ordering replacement products.


 Wood bucks change the rough opening perspective


In the simplest terms, the rough opening is the opening in the exterior wall or roof structure that will receive the fenestration product. While it must be slightly bigger than the window or door frame to allow for certain aspects of the installation, a good rough opening must also meet several additional requirements, including perimeter of clearance, accuracy and structural soundness.

1. Perimeter of clearance

The perimeter of clearance around the entire fenestration product serves many purposes:

  • It prevents binding. We shouldn’t force the product into place.
  • It allows for alignment and shim clearance. Since a rough opening is rarely exact, this perimeter clearance allows product alignment with proper shimming between framing and the product jambs.
  • It allows for the installation of insulation. Too much clearance can have negative effects, such as reducing nail fin overlap on sheathing. However, without enough clearance, insulation—fiberglass, expansion foam or pre-compressed cellular foam tape—can’t be introduced into the cavity.
  • It allows drainage at the rough sill. Windows shouldn’t rest directly on the rough sill. They should be at least slightly elevated with waterproof setting shims on top of a sill pan to allow escape of possible water intrusion.

2. Accuracy

A rough opening needs to be accurate in many ways. Plumb, level, square and true are always stated in installation instructions. “Pretty darned close” is probably the best we can hope for due to the precision limitations of framing and imperfect framing materials. Tolerance limitations should be followed, nevertheless.

3. Dimensionally accurate

A perfect rectangular opening with a level sill is worthless if width and height measurements are incorrect. The determination of rough opening dimensions is relative to the fenestration frame size and varies by manufacturer and product frame material. There is no industry standard for this clearance. Even products within the same brand vary in perimeter clearance. While some “round off” methods are used in the field, these can be risky, or at the very least time-consuming, to amend. The only blanket statement I can offer is that wood and clad-wood products tend to have more rough opening clearance than all-extruded or all-pultruded products. Always refer to manufacturer’s specifications.

4. Structurally sound

A rough opening also needs to be solid for structural anchorage of the fenestration. I’ve exposed rough openings in the past to find that scrap material was scabbed in loosely to modify the size.

Skinny sections of sheathing might also have been spliced in, making a flimsy anchor base.

Primarily for doors, bottom plates adjacent to the opening need to be firmly secured to the slab or subfloor. If at all loose, this results in a loose side jamb that won’t hold its position. The first time a newly installed door is closed with any force, the installation alignment is ruined.

Correct any inaccuracy, unsound structure, or looseness of the rough opening before installation.


In addition to requirements, there are variations that must be considered. In new home construction, the calledout window size dictates the size of the rough opening to be framed. Conversely, in replacement, the existing rough opening dictates the size of the window to be ordered.

5. Differences in wall structure

Wall structure affects rough opening perception. Here’s how: Rough openings in wood-framed structures are just that—the 2x framing material opening dimensions. However, “masonry rough opening,” as referenced by FMA/AAMA 200, needs to be carefully considered because this rough opening doesn’t always relate to the fenestration frame dimensions in the same way. When wood bucks (either 1x or 2x material) are added inside the perimeter of the masonry rough opening, this smaller wood opening now becomes the rough opening that dictates the new window frame.

6. Differences in application

Finally, rough openings vary by application. What I’ve covered up until now has been for new construction installation or full-frame replacement of a window or door.

“Rough opening” is used loosely when measuring for window replacement product applications. This rough opening would not be the wall structure opening. Since common replacement products—box frame insert, sash-and-balance kit, or flush fin—are installed into an existing window frame, the rough opening is now the inside-to-inside dimensions of that existing frame, commonly referred to as the “pocket.”

To avoid costly mistakes, understand the rough opening reference and application before ordering fenestration. Always reference manufacturer guidelines, as rough opening specs vary considerably.

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Backed by two decades of extensive hands-on experience, Jim Snyder is a technical writer, trainer and project/product consultant for the fenestration industry. Always seeking best practices, he has journaled and cataloged many years of fenestration-related activities and is an active member of AAMA, FMA and WDDA. His weekly blog at ties field-related topics to the rest of the industry. Write him at

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Should Your Company Invest in Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

Written on September 19, 2014 at 22:55

As an online marketing expert specializing in window and door companies, I repeatedly hear one question from prospective clients: Should our company invest in pay-per-click advertising?

Actually, the question isn’t always phrased that way because not everyone understands what PPC actually is. Sometimes the question is, “Are those ads that show up on search pages worth it?”

Sometimes it’s, “What’s up with those Google ads?” or “Why should I pay for ads on search pages when my business already shows up in [organic] searches?”

First, understand that PPC ads get their name from the fact that you’re only charged when a potential lead actually clicks on your ad. So every time you pay, it’s because someone has taken an action toward converting into an actual lead.

Compare this to traditional advertising where you pay just to get your ad seen. If someone seeing it isn’t interested enough to click your link (or call, or email), you’re essentially paying for nothing. Your return on investment for that traditional ad is zero.

Figure 1

The ads you see on the top of search engine results pages (SERPs)—Google, Bing, Yahoo or elsewhere—are generally called “search ads.” The most popular of these are created through Google’s AdWords program, and that will be our focus in this article.

As you can see in Figure 1, if you search “San Diego car restoration” on Google, the first items you’ll see are PPC ads from Google AdWords. Three ads appear before the organic (unpaid) search results themselves, the first of which is a Yelp listing for a business. More ads appear in a list to the side. Google identifies each as an ad with a small icon, but otherwise they’re virtually identical to organic search results.

The obvious upside to this advertising—in addition to the aforementioned benefit of only paying when it’s clicked on—is that your ad appears above the organic results. However, this type of PPC advertising has many other advantages:

BOOST RANKINGS. PPC ads appear in search results right away, which will help boost your search ranking, and since your ad can appear on the first page of SERPs related to your business and location almost immediately, it’s the best way to generate leads quickly.

DYNAMIC. If a particular ad isn’t connecting with searchers, you can tweak its phrasing or focus and have the new ad live instantly. Analytics help you quickly determine which ads are working wonderfully, which are doing decently, and which need some revision.

FLEXIBILITY. To maximize ROI, you can target particular cities, expanding to as many as you like or narrowly targeting one area. Google lets you select specific zip codes, a particular radius, or just use city names.

MOBILE ADVERTISING. Google is strongly focused on the mobile market because of the skyrocketing popularity of smartphones and tablets. Mobile searches have quadrupled over the last three years, and mobile ads let you target potential leads based on the actual location of the user’s phone or tablet.

BENEFICIAL IN REMARKETING. This is a tool that pushes ads to people who previously visited your site but did not convert into leads at that time. It’s like having an automated followup call.

TARGET SPECIFIC POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS. People who do a search for “hurricane windows,” for example, can be shown only ads specific to hurricane windows. They won’t be shown the same information as someone who searches for “window repairs” unless that’s what you want.

PPC advertising, particularly through Google AdWords, provides excellent cost effectiveness and ROI given the cost per click and how much each job is worth. That makes it an essential marketing tool for window and door companies.

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Welton Hong is the founder and internet marketing director of Ring Ring Marketing, an Internet marketing firm that specializes in window and door businesses. Contact him at or 888/383-2848.

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Energy Star Program Integrity Act Aims to Prevent Litigation

Written on September 19, 2014 at 22:55

Whirlpool Corp. took action and successfully made its case to U.S. Representatives Bob Latta (R-OH) and Peter Welch (D-VT) that a manufacturer of Energy Star products is entitled to protection from private claims or rights of action under state or federal law relating to liability arising out of the disqualification of a product from Energy Star. As a result, Latta-Welch introduced HR 4856, the Energy Star Program Integrity Act.

The bill seeks to eliminate the creation of an express or implied warranty by a product’s participation in Energy Star and to pre-empt private claims under state and federal law, but only if:the product has been disqualified from Energy Star; the administrator of Energy Star has approved corrective measures including whether consumer compensation is appropriate; and the manufacturer has complied with the corrective measures.

This hardly represents a “get out of jail free” card. The manufacturer still suffers the loss of goodwill from notice to consumers, is subjected to administrative and compensatory penalties, and likely is put at the top of the list for further product investigation.


The package created by the seemingly unique contours of the Bill does a couple of other things well. The prospect of immunity from private litigation, of course, provides a benefit (making the best of a bad situation), but that benefit would promote self-reporting by manufacturers of Energy Star products.

Manufacturers often test as a quality control measure and may otherwise often be first to know of a problem. If an issue with materials, manufacturing consistency or a simple mistake puts product compliance in question, we want a manufacturer to come forward and pursue an administrative remedy, which may include disqualification of affected products from Energy Star.

In the same process, the manufacturer would seek the determination and approval of corrective measures, including a determination of any level of required consumer compensation. Disclosure, correction and compensation are all items that the system should encourage. The proposed structure provides for an efficient avenue for consumer relief, without millions of dollars in litigation costs.

Moreover, the relief afforded serves to maintain the current high level of manufacturer participation in the Energy Star program itself. The threat of widespread litigation arising out of Energy

Star participation creates a real disincentive.


The Energy Star program has driven, if not led, innovation with regard to the efficiency of many products that necessarily involve energy consumption. Energy Star can and should remain a viable element in the marketplace. In 2008, I recognized and wrote on the subject of preemption of private claims based upon technical violations of Energy Star criteria. While my thinking then was not as refined as the Whirlpool approach, the basic factors involved have changed little.

After its introduction by Latta-Welch, House Bill 4856 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The remainder of this year will likely be filled with movement by interested parties. Those who advocate consumers’ rights for a living are already loudly vocal.

Let’s remember the wisdom of Einstein’s simple truism: “Nothing can happen until something moves.” If you are involved with Energy Star products, you should evaluate these issues and move to contact your own representative.

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Paul Gary is an attorney at the Gary Law Group,, a Portland, Ore., based firm that specializes in legal services for the window and door industry. Write Gary at

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