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Published on October 12th, 2012 | by Guest Contributor

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Green Windows or Green Washing?

This repost originally appeared on Generation Green

Many of the energy-efficiency claims made by window manufacturers, distributors, and sellers are outright false, or at least vastly overstated.

Buying energy efficient windows is a win-win:  the environment wins because less energy need be generated through the burning of fossil fuels, and the consumer wins by saving money on energy bills.  It’s no surprise, then, that many homeowners are willing to pay a higher price for windows that claim to be energy efficient.  What is surprising, however, is that many of the energy-efficiency claims made by window manufacturers, distributors, and sellers are outright false, or at least vastly overstated. Now consumers are forced to make a decision: are these green windows, or is it all a bad case of green washing?

Help put a stop to bogus energy efficiency claims!  If you have purchased replacement windows based on representations that you would likely save a specific amount on energy bills, you can contact CEH (Charles@ceh.org) to learn more about a class action lawsuit that our attorneys are looking into.

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission – the federal agency with primary responsibility for policing unfair business practices – warned 18 window manufacturers, and one window glass manufacturer, for making potentially deceptive claims in marketing their replacement windows to consumers.  According to the FTC, these window companies may be using insufficient science or unrealistic assumptions to back their claims that consumers may save 30 percent or more on their energy or heating and cooling bills by installing replacement windows..  The FTC admonished manufacturers to clearly explain the facts behind their energy efficiency predictions, to avoid making exaggerated claims of savings “up to” certain amounts, and to exercise due care in using testimonials.

Specifically, the FTC warned companies not to make statements like:

  • “Our windows could add overall value to your home while cutting your energy costs by more than 43%.”
  • “Energy-efficient windows can help save a bundle.  In fact, you can reduce your energy bills by one-third by simply using low-emissivity glass.”
  • “You will see an instant savings of up to 40% on your cooling and heating bill!”

Among the companies receiving the FTC warnings were:

  • Cardinal Glass Industries Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
  • Gorell Enterprises, Inc. (Indiana, Pennsylvania)
  • Serious Energy, Inc. (Sunnyvale, California)
  • Sierra Pacific Windows (Red Bluff, California)
  • SureGuard Windows (Rancho Dominguez, California)
  • Thompson Creek Window Company (Lanham, Maryland)
  • Value Windows & Doors (Duarte, California)
  • Weather Shield (Medford, Wisconsin)
  • West Window Corporation (Martinsville, Virginia)

Saving energy should be everyone’s priority, but overblown promises by window manufacturers only cheat consumers.  What’s worse, these unscrupulous companies get to reap profits by charging huge premiums while more honest manufacturers who refrain from making factually-ungrounded claims are disadvantaged in the marketplace.

Help put a stop to bogus energy efficiency claims!  If you have purchased replacement windows based on representations that you would likely save a specific amount on energy bills, you can contact CEH (Charles@ceh.org) to learn more about a class action lawsuit that our attorneys are looking into.

 

Charles Margulis coordinates CEH’s efforts to promote sustainable and organic food to hospitals and other major institutional food buyers. He also manages CEH’s media outreach. Prior to joining CEH, Charles was the lead campaigner for Greenpeace USA’s Genetic Engineering Campaign for five years. He currently serves as CEH’s representative on the Steering Committee of Californians for GE Free Agriculture. He is also a board member of the Sunshine Project, an international nonprofit that works to expose the hostile use of biotechnology in weapons development and to strengthen the global consensus against biological warfare. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies. He is also a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and was a long-time professional baker.





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