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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

California adopts first-in-nation approach to keep cars cooler


New standards will block sun's heat-producing rays through
windows

SACRAMENTO- Today, the California Air Resources Board adopted a
regulation that will require new cars sold in California,
starting in 2012, to have windows that reflect or absorb
heat-producing rays from the sun. This will help keep cars
cooler, increase their fuel efficiency and reduce global warming
pollution.

Cooler cars mean less air conditioning thereby increasing fuel
efficiency and preventing about 700,000 metric tons of carbon
dioxide from entering the atmosphere in 2020 - roughly the
equivalent of taking 140,000 cars off the road for a year.

"This is a common-sense and cost-effective measure that will
help cool the cars we drive and fight global warming," said ARB
ChairmanMary D. Nichols. "It represents the kind of innovative
thinking we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our
vehicles and steer our economy toward a low-carbon future.

A variety of new and currently available approaches will be used
to achieve the standards including adding chemicals to the glass
during manufacturing to absorb the sun's energy and using
laminated glass coated with invisible microscopic specks of metal
to reflect it. Windshields that comply with the standard will
continue to offer full visibility.

Compared to cars currently in showrooms, windows that comply
with the standard will block 33 percent more heat-producing rays
from the sun. This will cool the vehicle's interior by
approximately 14 degrees Fahrenheit for a car and 12 degrees
Fahrenheit for a pickup or SUV. Lower temperatures require less
use of air conditioning, both upon starting a car parked in the
sun and while driving in sunny conditions.

Other benefits include a cooler interior upon entering the car,
less time for the air conditioning to reach a comfortable
temperature, and reduced fading of upholstery and cracking of the
dashboard.

The regulation has two steps. Over a three-year period starting
in 2012 windows in new cars sold in California must prevent 45
percent of the sun's total heat-producing energy from entering
the car, with the windshield rejecting at least 50 percent of the
sun's energy.

In 2016 car manufacturers will be required to install windows in
new cars sold in California that prevent at least 60 percent of
the sun's heat-producing rays from entering the cars interior, or
propose alternative technologies to achieve an equivalent
result.

Costs for the windows are expected to average $70 for the 2012
standard, and about $250 for the 2016 standard, with annual
savings in gas of $16 and $20 respectively. Costs would be
recouped over a five to twelve year period.

This initiative follows on the heels of a series of other
measures adopted by the Board under AB 32 (NЗЯez, 2006),
California's pioneering climate change legislation, to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. These include a standard
for cleaner lower-carbon vehicle fuels, and a regulation to
ensure tire pressure is checked at smog check, oil change and
other maintenance facilities.

California is also awaiting approval of a waiver from the
federal government to enforce standards under its Clean Car Law
that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent from
vehicles over the next seven years.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards..

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