The idea of energy efficiency continues to grow in importance and popularity. Consumers like choices, and well designed rating systems that help them make prudent choices are well received and highly utilized. In the realm of consumer appliances, ENERGY STAR and EnergyGuide are great examples of widely recognized labels…tools that assist consumers with comparing the most efficient models to make an ultimate choice. Until recently, no rating mechanism has existed to rate window attachments (aka window treatments, window coverings) and products.
win·dow treat·ment – noun
- interior decoration for a window or window frame.
Many types of window attachments (both interior and exterior), such as blinds, drapery, shutters, solar shades and awnings…are often used for what’s normally considered aesthetic purposes and controlling the direct and ambient light entering a room. However, many Americans aren’t aware that cost effective, energy conserving window covering strategies indeed exist for both residential homes and commercial buildings. The Department of Energy estimates potential nationwide energy savings of 800 Trillion British Thermal Units (tBTU).
The Window Coverings Manufacturers Association (WCMA) is developing a certification and rating program for residential and commercial fenestration attachment products. In conjunction with U.S Department of Energy funding…the Attachments Energy Ratings Council (AERC) was created April 2015…with their member organizations first meeting at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. The AERC’s mission is to provide the technical tools necessary to transform the attachments market by providing a useful resource for consumers to make informed energy decisions…specifically:
- Create a consistent set of third-party energy performance-based rating and certification standards and program procedures
- Oversee the implementation of rating, certification, labeling, and performance verification procedures
- Develop and maintain a publicly available, searchable electronic database of fenestration attachment product performance.
The AERC defines fenestration attachments as “non-integral products attached to an installed fenestration or attached to or near the perimeter of the inner or outer wall surrounding the fenestration. Attachments may be fixed or operable, manual or automated.”
fen·es·tra·tion – /fenəˈstrāSHən/ – noun – ARCHITECTURE
- the arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows and doors in a building
- an opening in a surface (as a wall or membrane)