Pending legislation that would allow a maximum $2,000 tax credit for owners of energy-efficient homes could result in a major upswing in the sale of vinyl windows.
House bill 1358 would provide incentive for homeowners and builders to install energy-efficient windows, Rich Walker, eastern region director for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, said in an April 5 telephone interview.
Under the bill, building components such as windows and doors, as well as heating, cooling and water-heating equipment that would improve the home's energy performance by at least 30 percent annually, would qualify for the tax break.
The bill would not require homeowners to install specific energy-efficient components. Instead, it would permit builders and homeowners to choose various components to achieve the 30 percent energy savings, said Gary Curtis, manager of the Energy Star program for D and R International, a consulting firm in Silver Springs, Md., working with the Department of Energy.
``The builder and designer come up with their own recipe. They calculate bottom-line efficiency. How they get there is their deal,'' he said in an April 1 telephone interview.
The bill was introduced late last year before the House recessed. Several changes were made, such as deleting a requirement that all installed windows must be Energy Star-certified, and the bill was reintroduced March 25, said Lew Freeman, vice president of government affairs for the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington.
The credit to homebuilders also was added in the latest form of the bill.
Sales of vinyl windows have increased steadily since 1991. Aluminum windows have declined in sales since 1992, while wood windows experienced a four-year increase followed by a steady decline, according to the latest sales figures released by AAMA.
Vinyl windows finally surpassed wood windows last year in units sold, topping off at 20.5 million.