Window Companies Settle with Federal Trade Commission Over Energy Efficiency and Cost Claims

Window Ad/Screen capture

Energy experts and heritage advocates have been complaining for years about the needless waste caused by pulling out perfectly good old wood windows and replacing them with vinyl windows. You can get almost as good a result by fixing an old window and getting storm windows, and they will last a lot longer. But there was a lot of money in replacement windows and the salespeople are persuasive, so much so that I have written that If I See Another Full Page Pella Window Ad I Am Gonna Scream.

It didn't help the cause that the window peddlers would make extravagant promises, such as the above that promised that they would cut your energy bills in half, guaranteed. Now the Federal Trade Commission has stepped in and demanded that the window manufacturers stop this practice, and a settlement has been reached. The claims were ridiculous; according to DWM,

Telemarketing sales scripts, according to the FTC, represented that its replacement windows will “cut energy bills in half”; that homeowners will typically see a 35- to 55-percent reduction in monthly energy bills; that “our homeowners have noticed that our windows saved them 35% to 55% off their energy bills,” and pledged that its windows systems “will pay for themselves in energy savings alone in 8 years or we will pay the difference . . . our windows are free!!

TreeHugger has shown studies from reputable sources that demonstrated that the payback is a minimum of 40 years; one study from Indiana showed that the payback could be as long as 400 years.

The FTC settlement means that the manufacturers must not make any claims:

-That a specific number or percentage of consumers who replace their windows with the company’s will achieve energy savings or reduced heating or cooling costs; or
-About energy consumption, energy costs, heating and cooling costs, or other insulating properties or energy-related efficacy
unless the representation is non-misleading and is substantiated by reliable scientific evidence.

© Power of One

Just about every analysis that has been done shows that window replacement is just about the least cost-effective thing you can do to conserve energy, beaten only by putting solar panels on your roof. But guess what most people did first.

More at DWM.

Tags: Green Building