Stimulus Package May Not Fit the Bill for the Skylight Industry

March 17th, 2009 by Editor

While the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has raised concerns for many in the door and window industry, they are not only ones.Others, including some skylight manufacturers, have found issues with the 30/30 provision, which provides a tax credit up to 30 percent of fenestration products that have a .30 or lower U-factor and .30 or lower solar heat gain coefficient.

According to Roger LeBrun, product certification engineer for VELUX America Inc., the bill was crafted from a windows mindset.

“There are no residentially designed skylights on the market with an NFRC rating that will meet 30/30,” LeBrun told DWM magazine. “The arbitrary U-Factor limits for windows and doors were incorrectly applied to skylights.”

According to a statement issued by Velux, the reinvestment act sets a standard that is virtually impossible for even the best skylights to meet.

“The Act took a broad-brush approach to fenestration products, despite the fact that the installation requirements and test methods for vertical windows and skylights are not the same,” reads the statement.

LeBrun explains that vertical windows are installed flush to the wall, while skylights by code must project 4 inches from the building in order to not be a hazard to those who may be working on the roof area.

“In addition, the NFRC rating says the skylight has to be rated on a 20-percent slope, which induces thermal currents on the insulating glass,” says LeBrun. “If you take a window, have it rated and it meets 30/30, that same unit on a 20-percent slope rates about 70 percent higher.”

The statement from Velux also makes note of the significant impact this law could have on the skylight industry: “The skylight industry employs over 2,000 people across the United States. We have over 20,000 dealers, over 30,000 installers and over 50,000 builders who will be impacted by this change. We applaud Congress on its support of the depressed housing market. This stimulus bill can make an impact, but not with requirements that cannot be achieved.”

LeBrun adds, “The only way this can be reversed is through amending the law; I’m sure that out of that entire document this is not the only issue and I hope there is an opportunity for a technical correction.”

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