President Obama pours money into Energy Upgrades

In a press release sent out to EERE. Dec 2, 2011.

read it and comment on what you think.:smiley:

I perform diagnostic home performance analyses (aka “energy audits”) and I work with people seeking rebates and tax incentives. I am also subsidized by various utility companies to offer my services to their customers at reduced rates.

With all of this being said … I think that government dollars “poured” into energy upgrades is wasted money.

Every government rebate and tax credit program, to date, has simply attracted the predictable and usual feeding frenzies of opportunists who have taken money and done nothing to improve the energy efficiency of the homes they have left behind.

The only government program that I have seen work well for the consumer is the low income weatherization programs that target their efforts and spending in reducing air infiltration and increasing insulation in older homes that need it. The remaining programs are exploited by manufacturers and service providers helping people perform expensive remodeling projects at the government’s expense.

There is a legitimate market for home owners seeking to increase their comfort levels and lower their energy use. They don’t do this to get rebates. They do this to enjoy their homes and to enhance their quality and preservation.

Reducing utility bills is an unrealistic goal. As we all watched the price of gasoline continuously rise at the pumps as cars became more and more efficient … so we will continue to see with our ever increasing utility bills. Efficiency will be the means of maintaining affordable levels … not reducing the costs of energy.

God help the consumer who decides to use the “energy efficient mortgage” and other borrowing incentives with the intent of using energy savings to afford his loan payments.

If I were selling HVAC equipment and replacement windows … I would be lobbying congress heavily for “energy efficiency money” to be poured in so that I could sell more stuff. It does a lot for them … but little for the end user in terms of energy savings.

Wow, I find myself if complete agreement with Mr. Bushart.

Will wonders never cease?

WOW! I am in complete agreement with Michael will wonders ever cease. LOL

To add I just went through a small seminar from USGBC on The Keys to Green Affordable Housing. In this they mention 80% of things needed can be done by the home owner. What was last on the list was changing out the heating and cooling along with windows.

Removing intact single pane windows and replacing them with dual pane windows will only increase energy efficiency by about 2% to 4%. Even at today’s lower rates, it will take approximately 35 years to see a return on the investment.

Likewise, HVAC guys snatching these funds and simply swapping out equipment are usually oversizing it and paying little to no attention to ducts leaking conditioned air outside of the thermal boundary since these are not required steps to get the rebates and tax credits.

If the government needs to pump more money back into the economy it makes more sense to do it this way than to give it to banks and insurance companies … but it is not resulting in more energy efficient homes.

In my last USGBC seminar it says 6.8% for windows and at this it still says it should be the last thing done.

Very true…

I put window salesmen/contractors in the same catagory with used car salespersons and in the majority of used house sales type people.

This is a first, everyone so far agrees on this thread???

Nice post James and very accurate too.

Obama endorsed this energy leader as well.

How much will the taxpayers pay for this fraud solely intended to funnel money back into legislator’s campaigns?

Funding for energy programs is not an invention of the current president and, frankly, if I knew this was going to be another mindless political diatribe I would have avoided this thread.

Energy efficiency upgrades will increase, exponentially, when they are no longer associated with “rebates” and “tax breaks” and viewed by the public as a logical investment to make their homes more comfortable, healthier and sustainable no matter who the president is.

I am still reaping the benefits of the Energy Incentives of the early 70’s.
I still have a functional solar water heating system using glycol collectors (Reynolds Aluminum)

I don’t totally agree with Jim. I think windows and furnaces are often last on the list because the basics are where you need to start. There is no use putting in a new furnace if the heat is pouring out of the house or the ducts are disconnected and leaking. I don’t know where Jim got the numbers he is using but I recently audited a house and new windows were a 12% improvement over the single pane windows just in insulating value alone not taking into account for the air sealing.

Obama needs to be removed from office, put on trial for, inter alia, his “green” scam crimes and sentenced to 300 million life terms - for each of the American lives that have been irreparably harmed by his policies - to be served consecutively.

Robert, what software are you using to do your modeling? I use REM Design. Replacing intact single pane windows (R value of .9 and U value of 1.1, per Krigger and Dorsi, Residential Energy, 5th Edition) with double pane windows (R value of 2 and U value of .5, ibid) and achieving a 12% overall reduction in energy use for the home is very unusual.

Perhaps you are saying that you are reducing only the cooling/heat loss through the windows (which represents about 20% of the total cooling/heat loss of the entire home) by 12% which, then, could represent about about the same numbers I stated for overall energy savings of 2% to 4%.

Anyway, here are a couple of my sources as to the reasons why one should not expect too much from replacing a good single pane window with a new double pane window.

Home Energy Magazine, July/August 2002

  • Replacement windows rarely have the lifespan of the original window because the materials are inferior: fast growth wood, finger joinery, corrodible fasteners all contribute to a short life.
  • Thermal pane glass works as long as the gaskets/seals are intact. Most glass has a warranty for 20 years or less.
  • Operating hardware for new windows is more complex and sometimes proprietary. What happens when a jamb liner gives out in 10 or 15 years and the parts are no longer available?
  • Replacing windows costs a bundle. A full window replacement, including the frame, involves casing removal and sometimes finish wall removal.
  • Let’s put forward a scenario:

Assuming $300 per window in installation cost (which represents the cheap windows … middle of the line at $500 and the better windows at $800).

How long will it take to make that up in energy savings?

Windows account for somewhere between 20% and 30% of your building’s energy loss. So, take 25% of your yearly heating bill (heat loss through windows), then take 10% of that number (improved efficiency with a low-e double-glaze replacement window over an old window with a storm window).

The result is the amount of money you could expect to save in energy use. If you replace 25 windows at a cost of $300/window, the Total Installation Cost = $7,500.

ROI? Let’s assume $5,000 in annual heating and cooling costs… then 25% of $5000 goes out the windows = $1250. Now, 10% of that is what you will save in energy use or, $125. So…it takes 60 YEARS to earn your money back! (not accounting for inflation and increases in basic utility rates)

Of course, your sucessors will have replaced your “replacement” windows at least once by then.

Shapiro & James, Home Energy Magazine Sept.- Oct. 1997

In comparing various types of renovations and replacements, the largest energy cost savings was projected for replacing a loose single-pane window with a double-glazed low-e window ($20/year/window). Replacing a tight, weather-stripped single-pane window with a double-glazed low-e window reduced energy cost about $5.30/year/window.

As you can see … tax credits and rebates directed toward replacement of windows can eat up a whole lot of cash … and do very little for overall energy savings. Many people who were sold new windows with the idea of seeing lower utility bills have felt “ripped off” by the results. When single pane windows are deteriorated and in need of replacement, however, it is certainly prudent to replace them with Energy Star rated double pane windows, of course. Pulling out a good single pane window and replacing it with a double pane, however, will achieve minimal results and should not be recommended until after all other upgrades have been implemented, IMO.

I think another good point to add in regard to windows is the rating. Most MFG. rate the glass and not the window as a whole unit. So, you may have a new window with high rated glass but overall the R rating drops because of the frame. I wish this would be corrected but I doubt it ever will.

I often see new, expensive high end windows with significant air leakage around the jamb. Some of these windows are the type that are either aluminum or vinyl clad on the exterior and clear Douglas fir on the interior. These windows often have vinyl jambs with nylon cords attaching the sash to the balance system. They cost, in many cases, in excess of 800 per unit installed. These windows are usually installed plumb and square but still leak air where the sash slides up and down against the jamb and at the top and bottom where the sash meets the jamb.
This is more than likely a regional thing as I’m sure these windows would perform better in a warmer climate but not here in New England.

Unfortunately the only practical solution is to add a storm window which just added more cost to the retrofit and makes any possible ROI impossible.

Air sealing and insulation is always the best recommendation.

ROI (Return on investment) for those that do not know what it means!
Yes Peter Russel many new windows are just not standing up to older style double pain and are installed without knowledge of bridging or separation of window from rough in opening.

Bologo when to prision for 14 years trying to sell a senate seat. Obama and all other legislative cronnies would have sentences 10 times that; they all do it. Money is flowing worse than any waterfall or flood. Pelosi has so much dirt on Newt that she smiles when she thinks about it. They are all corrupt. Putting money in a green energy program is a waste, when energy might be saved, but consumers will not save any money when their utility costs increase, which they will.

We have more gasoline in storage than we can use, but the price increases. Now we have to sell gas to other countries. Same with utilities. It is all a scam to increase energy prices, and to save utility companies from investing in power plants.

What Joe said.

Gary, I have been reading a lot of your opinions and I have come to the conclusion you are one of those “sky-is-Falling” type of individuals. As Donald Sutherland in the movie Kelly’s Heroes said to Moriate, “stop with the negative vibes, man”…:shock:

One of my favorite old movies…but it is negative “waves”