In 1997, market share for energy-efficient windows stood at 13 percent. With very little information known about energy-efficient windows, demand for the product was low. And with manufacturers resistant to incur the up-front costs required to produce energy-efficient windows, availability was minimal. A year later, ENERGY STAR® released its first efficient window standard (u-.35) leaving manufacturers wondering how to cost-effectively change their processes to comply with the new specification. Seeing an opportunity to increase market share for efficient windows, we worked with manufacturers to find simple ways to qualify their products and affordable manufacturing processes to help reduce the cost barriers.
By partnering with regional utilities, window manufacturers, window dealers, the manufactured home industry and builders across the Northwest, we launched an initiative to reduce market barriers to ENERGY STAR certified windows and increase market share to 75 percent by 2001.
To increase product awareness, we worked with manufacturers on tailored marketing programs using the ENERGY STAR label. Targeting key manufacturers early for ENERGY STAR partnerships created healthy competition and attracted more companies to enter the market. By 2001, all major Northwest window manufacturers were ENERGY STAR partners and had contributed almost $1 million in matching marketing funds. Product training at both large and independent stores led to more than 300 retailers signing on as ENERGY STAR partners by the same year. And as a result, builders were able to buy ENERGY STAR windows off the shelf, increasing sales and reducing overall unit costs for the product.
From 1997-2011, we achieved 16.8 aMW in energy savings beyond what would have occurred naturally in the market without intervention. This is enough energy to power more than 12,000 U.S. households each year. Today, approximately 95 percent of windows sold in the region are ENERGY STAR certified windows.