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The greatest potential in the U.S. for cost-effective energy savings from currently available energy efficient residential windows and skylights exists in the southern market. Prindle and Arasteh recently reported that ten southern states could save over 400 million kwh and 233 MW of peak electricity generating capacity annually by adopting the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) standard of 0.40 (or less) solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) for new construction (Prindle & Arasteh 2001). In 2000, Anello et al. demonstrated savings of 14.7 percent in reduced cooling load with high-performance windows (Anello et al. 2000). In 2002, Wilcox demonstrated savings of 20 percent while simulation analysis estimates cooling energy savings in the 30 percent range (Wilcox 2002).
In the southern market, there is significant opportunity for reducing cooling energy use with low solar gain low-E windows. Yet, the southern market has been slow to embrace this new technology. Market research shows that while low-E products have achieved up to 70 percent of the market share in some colder climates (Jennings, Degens & Curtis 2002), they have gained less than 10 percent of the southern windows market (Prindle & Arasteh 2001).
This paper will explore the residential windows market by considering the following: market barriers unique to the southern market; distribution channels in the South; the roles of utilities, codes officials, and other organizations; and other indirect factors that influence this market. This paper will profile current market transformation efforts with case studies of the Florida Windows Initiative, sponsored by the Efficient Windows Collaborative at the Alliance to Save Energy, and the Texas Windows Initiative, sponsored by the American Electric Power Company. Finally, this paper will identify the next steps that will be critical to transforming the southern residential windows market to more efficient window and skylight products.