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NFRC Boosts Reputation as Homeowner Advocate with ANSI Accreditation

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2020

By Tom Herron, Senior Director of Market Development and Engagement and a LEED Green Associate. 

Many homeowners rely on the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) third-party certification and labeling program to get the fair, accurate, and credible ratings that empower them to compare products before making a purchase. Now, this program just strengthened its credibility.

Just this month, NFRC’s FenStar® Certification Program, which ensures windows, doors, and skylights meet ENERGY STAR® specifications, received the renowned American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accreditation. This accreditation confirms the FenStar program meets the ISO/IEC 17065 standard used by certification bodies around the world. 

As the nation’s only independent, certification organization rating the energy performance of windows, doors, and skylights, NFRC’s ANSI accreditation benefits homeowners by confirming the organization’s ratings as objective and unbiased. Also, homeowners can easily identify the products that have gone through proper testing. 

Certification Matters

If you’re in the market for energy-efficient windows, doors, or skylights, third-party certification should be your first choice. When comparing products advertised as more energy efficient, it’s wise to understand how they were certified, so you spend your money wisely.

Certification labels offer a convenient tool for verifying a product manufacturer’s claims and deliver peace-of-mind, yet similar labels often have conflicting criteria. Ironically, this can confuse homeowners, triggering skepticism and ultimately causing them to choose familiar brands over better, more energy-efficient alternatives.

While there are no national standards for green or sustainable product testing, homeowners can still make more-informed choices by understanding how certification labels are created and awarded.

Three Kinds of Certification

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established three categories for voluntary certification and labeling programs:

First party. This is self-certification, and it is somewhat dubious because its standards are not clearly defined. Moreover, it comes directly from the manufacturer rather than an independent, outside source.

Second party. This is more credible than first-party certification because it relies on outside standard-setting organizations to verify performance claims. Second parties, however, are not independent. They typically have a primary business relationship with the first party, creating a potential conflict of interest. Further, their testing methods are not always standardized.

Third party. This is what NFRC provides, and it is the most trustworthy form of product certification. Third parties are truly independent because they have no primary business relationship with product manufacturers. This makes their test results purely objective and unbiased. Third parties also publish clearly defined standards, which are created in a public forum using a consensus-based process.

Finally, third parties are the most nurturing of innovation. Their unbiased test results educate purchasers, making them more discerning. This, in turn, encourages manufacturers to compete by implementing new ideas and technologies that improve energy efficiency while protecting our health, safety, and the environment.

Bringing it all Together

Shopping for windows can be a daunting experience. Keep in mind that NFRC is a homeowner advocate, providing access to free resources and tools protecting them from “marketing buzz” and allowing them to make more-informed, more confident purchasing decisions.

Tags:  certification  energy efficiency  energy performance  ENERGY STAR 

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