Federal Reorganization Plan Could Affect DOE Window Efforts

June 25th, 2018 by Trey Barrineau

Last week, the White House rolled out an ambitious plan to reorganize the federal government that would consolidate several energy and environmental programs, including one that has a direct effect on the door and window industry.

The administration’s 132-page plan, Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, would create a new Office of Energy Innovation in the Department of Energy (DOE). It would include the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which conducts research into energy-efficient windows. According to its mission statement, ARPA-E “advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment … developing entirely new ways to generate, store and use energy.”

“While the (ARPA-E) program features positive aspects, such as coordination with industry and cross-cutting research, it makes little strategic sense that this entity exists independent of DOE’s main applied research programs,” the proposal reads. “Revitalizing DOE’s applied energy R&D in this manner also provides the opportunity to integrate the positive attributes of ARPA-E into DOE’s core energy research rather than it being a wholly independent program.”

ARPA-E’s SHIELD (Single-Pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Designs) program is currently funding 14 projects that focus on fenestration products that can be applied to existing single-pane windows; manufactured windowpanes that can be installed into an existing window sash; and other technologies that can enable products in the first two categories. Project grants range from $3 million to $750,000.

The White House’s 2019 budget proposal called for the elimination of the ARPA-E program, but both the Senate and House versions of the budget bill would preserve the program. The House version seeks to cut its funding by 8 percent, while the Senate version would boost ARPA-E funding by 6.5 percent.

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