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Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Craft the Next Generation Window Technology

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, June 23, 2020

By Tom Barnett

As the fenestration industry continues to evolve, the feedback you provide today will help push the work for tomorrow. To this end, earlier in June, the Department of Energys (DOE) Buildings Technology Office (BTO) announced a request for information (RFI) on where they can improve and refine research goals for building windows and window technologies. Specifically, the BTO is looking for research and development investment opportunities in technologies and systems that will lead to the next generation of high-performance, affordable, cost-effective windows. The DOE wants feedback from the fenestration industry on planned technical objectives, targets, tools and R&D activities along with estimates of the program impacts.  

 

Additionally, input from this RFI will help inform the BTO’s DRAFT Research and Development Opportunities Report (RDO) for Windows issued earlier this month.

 

I cannot emphasize enough for NFRC members to speak up and provide feedback to this RFI on fenestration opportunities. The labs are doing fantastic work that is fenestration-specific and building-science oriented that is also aligned with NFRC’s mission and vision.  You can find more detail on their work here.   

 

Since joining NFRC, I have had the opportunity to participate as a reviewer of fenestration projects and proposals in DOE Peer-to-Peer Review sessions for the past two years.  I can attest to the value of these opportunities.  Prior to my participation in these review sessions, my experience with the work being done at the DOE national labs was in my position within a R&D group that supported the divisional needs of a Fortune 500 building products company.  We were constantly scouting for “new to the world” innovative technologies.  One tactic I used to discover organic growth opportunities or unique solutions for the organization was to tap into the national laboratory network along with exploring university networks.  Scouting within the DOE national labs took me to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) along with the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), where I was exposed to a wide range of technologies and research that was and is new to the world – it was a gold mine of opportunity.  

 

Whether material specific or manufacturing concerns, it is imperative that you submit your feedback to the DOE.  I encourage every one of you to be an active part of the solution as a partner with DOE to drive the next great change in fenestration for the next 100+ years.  Whether it’s a window with a .05 U-Factor or a curtain wall that is dynamic to its office environment, provide that feedback today so they can get to work for tomorrow

 

Responses to this RFI and any questions related to it must be submitted electronically to BTO_windows_RDO@ee.doe.gov no later than 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 20, 2020. To provide feedback on the RDO report, please respond to the Request for Information HERE. Respond to the Windows RFI at EERE Exchange. Learn more about the RDO for Windows Report.

 

Tom Barnett is senior director of programs for NFRC. 

Tags:  DOE  energy efficient  fenestration  NREL  ORNLenergy performance  window technologies  windows 

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NFRC Ballots for the Mid-Cycle meeting, July 13, 2020

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, June 22, 2020

Ratings Committee

 1.       NFRC 700 Glazing Description

The purpose of this ballot is to change the required information for the temporary label on certified products.

  • The change makes all the glazing description optional instead of mandatory.
  • The number of glass panes has also been added to the text describing the glazing description.
  • The tint colors also have been incorporated into the single glazing description paragraph.
  • Manufacturers that currently print a glazing description on their label may continue to do so.
  • There are no required or mandatory changes that a manufacturer must make to their labels as a result of this ballot.

2.       NFRC 700 Condensation Index

The purpose of this ballot is to remove the NFRC 500 Condensation Rating and replace it with the ANSI/NFRC 500 Condensation Index.

  • Implementation will not take place until the LEAFF pilot program is completed in late 2020.
  • PCP participants that want to utilize the NFRC 500 Condensation Resistance Rating in certification authorizations can do so until the implementation of the ANSI/NFRC 500 Condensation Index and implementation or publication in the NFRC 700 PCP.
  • Implementation of the Condensation Index will require modification to the Certified Products Directory.

Technical Committee

 1.       ANSI/NFRC 100 Reporting Ratings

The purpose of this ballot is that ANSI/NFRC 100 is corrected to strike any reference to report metric U-factor to the nearest .05 W/m2K and strictly use proper rounding of the result to two decimal points.

  • Per NFRC 700, there is no language that states metric rating of U-factor shall be rounded to the nearest 0.05 W/m2K but, consistently throughout the document it states that the U-factor rating shall be displayed on the NFRC label as rounded to two decimals.
  • The sample labels confirm that the metric U-factor is not required to be rounded to the nearest 0.05 W/m2K as shown in Figures A-5 and A-9.
    • The U-factor in those sample labels show a metric U-factor of 1.99 W/m2K and is confirmed to match the I-P (Imperial) value of 0.35 Btu/hr/ft2/F.
    • The conversion is calculated, as required by NFRC 700, as 5.678263.
    • This conversion is the value used by the laboratories when converting metric to I-P in their reports as well as the CPD 2.0 Upload Spreadsheet.
  • 2.       ANSI/NFRC 100 Spandrel

    The purpose of this ballot is to add language to include the simulation of all spandrel panel systems to the NFRC program.

    • The Spandrel Validation Task Group has met a few times to address all questions and negative comments from the NFRC Fall Membership Meeting in Charlotte in 2019.
    • Previously, spandrel glass only was able to be simulated, which has always been a limitation to the NFRC program for commercial manufacturers of glazed wall systems. 
    • Research was conducted and presented at the NFRC Fall Membership meeting in Albuquerque in 2018 that proved that spandrel systems with interior opaque metal insulation panels can be simulated and backed up by validation testing.
    • The conclusions of the research indicated that more than 63.5mm of glass edge is required and that 254mm of glazing edge shall be required for an accurate simulation.
    • The simulation methodology shall be presented to TIPC for their review and approval and inserted into the Simulation Manual upon approval of ANSI/NFRC 100.

    3.       ANSI/NFRC 200 Equation 4-3

    This correction to NFRC 200 will make any work done for the LEAFF program consistent with the calculations WINDOW has always used.

    • During the work to move forward with the LEAFF program, it was discovered that the exterior heat transfer coefficient in Equation 4-3 was in error. 
    • The value of 30 W/m2K in the equation is for the winter conditions and the SHGC is calculated under summer conditions.
    • The WINDOWS program from LBNL has always used the summer exterior heat transfer coefficient of 20.6 W/m2K.

    4.       ANSI/NFRC 200 Spandrel

    This is the second ballot to add language to include the simulation of all spandrel panel systems to the NFRC program. 

    • Previously, spandrel glass only was able to be simulated and that has always been a limitation to the NFRC program for commercial manufacturers of glazed wall systems. 
    • Research was conducted and presented at the NFRC Fall Membership meeting in Albuquerque in 2018 that proved that spandrel systems with interior opaque metal insulation panels can be simulated and backed up by validation testing.
    • The research findings indicated that more than 63.5mm of glass edge is required and that 254mm of glazing edge shall be required for an accurate simulation.
    • The simulation methodology shall be presented to TIPC for their review and approval and then inserted into the Simulation Manual upon approval of ANSI/NFRC 100.

    5.       ANSI/NFRC 500

    This ballot is to make further refinements to the new Condensation Index procedure and to also address some comments that came from NFRC's ANS Committee.

    6.       NFRC 501

    This ballot is to change the reference to the distance the glass edge temperature is to be taken. 

    • All documents and the software tool referencing the Condensation Index shall have consistent language that the glass edge temperature shall be obtained at 25mm and not 25.4mm.  
    • Only section 1.2 of NFRC 501 is shown with Underline/Strikeout for balloting.


    Research and Technology Committee

     1.       NFRC 101 Appendices

    This ballot is intended to update the source references for the material properties listed in Appendices A and B and to update the properties based on those new references.

    • This is a follow up to the ballot from the Virtual Spring Committee 2020 meeting.
    • The changes marked in this ballot are the last remaining changes that had negative comments associated with them from the previous ballots.
    • All other changes have been approved from the previous ballots.

    Staff does not anticipate any additional document changes, no legal review, or additional cost for implementation. The default THERM materials library will be revised to incorporate the changed Appendices after final approval of the document.

    • The implementation plan suggested by the task group is for the new appendices to be used no earlier than Jan. 1, 2021.
    • Once implemented, the new data shall be used for all new certifications, revisions, and addenda to existing product lines.
    • All existing product lines and products in the CPD at the time of implementation will be able to remain until the end of the certification cycle for that product line.

    2.       NFRC 101 Non-homogenous Spacer

    This ballot revises Section 5.1.7.2 relating to conductivity measurements of non-homogeneous spacer samples. Four changes are proposed:

    • An upper limit on the thickness of the foam rubber sheets.
    • Test method revisions based on the laboratory equipment capability
    • Specifying the removal of the contribution of the glass to the thermal resistance of the specimen
    • Clarifying the reference to EN675.

    To register to the Mid-Cycle Virtual Meeting, click here.

    Tags:  ANSI  Ballots  fenestration  NFRC ratings  NFRC700  ratings  virtual meeting 

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    New Vice Chair Tony Cinnamon talks about his involvement with NFRC and what he hopes to bring to the organization.

    Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    As a one-time drummer in his high school and college marching band it seems fitting that the first NFRC meeting Tony Cinnamon attended was in New Orleans, a city known for its jazz music, parades, and iconic anthem “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

    Fast forward 10 years, Tony now is NFRC board vice chair and leads the Regulatory Affairs Committee, although he said he still fantasizes about being a big-time studio drummer. Until then, however, he’s an architect with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates specializing in building facades, exterior wall systems, and fenestration systems. Over the course of his career, Tony has presented at seminars domestically and internationally on fenestration-related topics including typical window problems, glass and glazing failures, and testing and repair of window and curtain wall systems.

    As the lone practicing architect on the board, Tony brings a unique perspective because he sees firsthand how the NFRC ratings are applied in real-world settings and, unfortunately, they are often misunderstood. During his time on the board, he would like to help NFRC move past the minutia of data and decimal points to better highlight the value the ratings provide for consumers and specifiers who want to maximize the comfort and energy efficiency in their buildings.

    As Tony begins his first year as vice chair, Michelle Blackston, senior director of communications and marketing, spoke with him about things he’d like to accomplish while in this role.

    Since you’ve been involved with NFRC as a member and now as board vice chair, what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen within NFRC? What do you want to continue and what do you hope to bring to the organization in this capacity?

    One of things that I’ve noticed since Deb Callahan has served as CEO is there has been a big push to get a greater diversity of people involved. When I first joined, it was really the same 15-20 people in different positions and Deb deserves credit for getting more voices heard. As a board member and vice chair, I’ve always seen myself as on the other side in that NFRC is mainly populated with manufacturers, test labs, and inspection agencies. I’m an architect and I see how the NFRC standards get used and misused when [architects] don’t understand them. My emphasis is on education for both sides and we need to know what the architect and the specifier are seeing.

    Also, the membership has grown, and this growth is a testament to the organization. I see different people volunteering for things and making comments at meetings. The biggest change is the overall impact that it’s had on the membership and more people feel comfortable. With that, people are invested and we’re more inclusive of people who aren’t involved in rating windows. 

    How has your membership and involvement with NFRC helped you professionally and stay abreast of the fenestration industry as it evolves?

    Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates has 750 people in the company, and I’ve been able to pass along information on windows and curtain walls through our internal knowledge sharing program. These technical resource groups are a source for people who work in window and curtain wall projects to post questions. We would always get a lot of questions about NFRC’s condensation rating vs. American Architectural Manufacturing Association (AAMA) Condensation Resistance Factor Tool. NFRC enabled me to answer those questions because I had firsthand knowledge of the standard and the surrounding discussions. Also, it’s worth noting that NFRC is working on a new standard – the Condensation Index– that is much more user friendly and understandable.

    Also, one of the ways the fenestration industry has evolved is there are so many more areas of expertise now. Whether it’s sustainability or energy performance or air infiltration or acoustics, there are a variety of niche areas of expertise in the fenestration industry, it’s staggering. By necessity you end up with more people involved in the process and in specific areas of the process. Maybe they don’t care about visible transmittance, but they care about solar heat gain. And that helps with the growth and expansion of the industry.

    What lessons have you learned from being involved in NFRC that you would share with young professionals just getting started in the fenestration industry? And where will the industry be in 10-20 years?

    I would tell a young professional don’t be afraid to talk to people in the organization, which was my issue for the first few years I was involved. It’s so much better when you talk to people, ask questions. You would be surprised how many people are willing to share. At one meeting, I went to NFRC program director Steve Urich and asked him to walk me through the commercial program. And he did. That enabled me to be engaged in the process. If you don’t know something, ask someone about it. This is important because windows seem to change almost daily whether it’s about the material or the glass or the framing material. Advancements in components and how they are used are going to be widely available.

    NFRC is adapting to these new technologies and we’re already experiencing in the task groups, where we’re talking about Vacuum Insulated Glass (VIG). One of NFRC’s challenges will be to keep up with the technology and material changes that we are going to see. I think we can and will with the way the organization is structured because there are always opportunities to start looking at new technologies and advancements in the industry.

    In the commercial realm, we’re just starting to build that program now and that will to be one of the biggest changes for NFRC. I see this as an area of great potential that’s yet to come and NFRC will have a big role.

    If you could do anything now outside your current profession or role, what would you do?

    When I was kid, I played the drums. One of my fantasies is to be a studio drummer. I played in the marching band and drumline in high school and college. I was a section leader for a few years. After college, I taught for nearly 20 years at a band camp for high school students in Illinois. It was a lot of fun.

    But now my love is running triathlons. I usually compete at the sprint or Olympic distance and I’ve competed in two, half Iron Man triathlons, which is a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run. For quite a few years, I ran marathons and then I started riding the bike and really enjoyed that. I competed in my first triathlon in 2015, the training isn’t nearly as repetitive as running a marathon. Now, I meet up with a neighborhood group that rides every Saturday. It was an easy transition to triathlons. 

    Tags:  board of directors  fenestration  leadership  technologies 

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    FenStar Webinar Outlines Changes to Program after Accreditation

    Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, May 18, 2020

    Earlier this year, the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) FenStar® Certification Program, which ensures fenestration products meet ENERGY STAR® specifications, received accreditation to the acclaimed ISO/IEC 17065 Product Certification standard through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Because of this, the FenStar staff made several significant changes to ensure the program maintains this accreditation and, at the same time, preserves the confidence and trust of its participants. The changes focused on licensee and laboratory requirements.

     

    NFRC, through the FenStar Certification Program, is the nation’s sole independent, certification organization rating the energy performance of windows, doors, and skylights. NFRC also is the only EPA recognized ENERGY STAR® Certification Body and remains an EPA recognized Verification Testing Organization. NFRC and EPA have worked together closely since the inception of this and throughout the development of the FenStar Certification Program. This relationship ensures that the program aligns with the goals of ENERGY STAR and provides a third-party certification that has real value in the marketplace.

     

    During a recent webinar, NFRC’s FenStar team discussed the details of the program’s improvements and updates to documents as well as shared the 2019 verification testing results and the 2020 verification testing cycle. Overall, manufacturers are receptive to these changes, which are designed to reduce testing delays and reporting of results. These reductions can be directly attributed to requirement modifications for both licensees and laboratories, streamlining the understanding of roles and expectations of each group within the verification testing process.

     

    So why does this accreditation matter? Accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17065 standard solidifies NFRC’s commitment to the integrity of the certification program. It also fulfills the requirements for certification bodies for the ENERGY STAR Program. NFRC and FenStar build and maintain the confidence and trust of program participants and consumers who want to know the windows, doors and skylights they are buying are certified. That’s why we’re making efforts to ensure the program maintains the accreditation. 

     

    Additionally, FenStar staff encourage manufacturers and their representatives to reach out with questions and concerns regarding the changes. Feel free to contact Steve McDowell, NFRC’s residential program manager, and Dan Womer, FenStar program administrator. In case you missed it, listen to the webinar, review the presentation, submit comments or questions, and view other resources here.

     

     

    Tags:  certification  certification program  energy star  fenestration  verification testing 

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    New Board Chairman Sees Member Involvement as Essential for Long-Term Growth of NFRC

    Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, April 27, 2020
    Updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

    A conversation with John Gordon

    When he was an on-demand, round-the-clock information technology consultant, John Gordon knew that when a computer system went down, there was no waiting until tomorrow. That sense of urgency is real, and you don’t go home until the system is back online. Today, as the newly elected chairman of the NFRC Board of Directors, John embodies that same level of commitment to ensure the organization operates smoothly, without disruption.

    After leaving IT, John transitioned to become the Simulation and Thermal Operations Manager and a certified simulator at National Certified Testing Labs based in York, PA. He oversees testing and ensures accurate ratings for product certification, which leads to certification labeling. His department is responsible for the NFRC testing, so it goes without saying that John knows the importance of the label. In his six years of being involved with NFRC, John’s held a variety of positions ranging from participating in task groups to leading committees to chairing working groups.

    To mark the beginning of his tenure as board chairman, Michelle Blackston, senior director of communications and marketing, spoke with John about his vision for the board and the organization as well as goals he’d like to accomplish during his term.

    What do you hope to accomplish while leading NFRC’s board of directors and overseeing the organization for the next two years? Also, talk about your leadership style and how you will set the direction for the future of NFRC.

    It’s imperative that we continue stressing the importance of NFRC’s fair, accurate, and credible ratings for the growth of the organization, both in membership and for the widespread use of the NFRC ratings label. As board chair, I will also advocate for the use of NFRC ratings in the ever-expanding green building initiatives. This is especially vital for the health and betterment of the organization. Additionally, it bodes well for the fenestration industry overall, including our members.

    I believe leadership is extremely important and so is the diversity of the board to have a voice. There are so many intelligent minds in the organization and on the board. Everyone has an opportunity to be involved with NFRC, and that’s the key to the success of the overall direction and health of the organization. I’m a big proponent of people getting involved and using their voice and vote to bring about change.

    Over the last 30-plus years, NFRC has grown and evolved. What do you see as some of the biggest changes with NFRC? What is on the horizon for the organization and in the fenestration industry?

    The movement in the organization to accredit the Product Certification Program (PCP) is extremely important for its long-term sustainability. I’ve seen a shift to be more open within the organization to embrace change such as in the new Linear Energy Analysis for Fenestration or LEAFF methodology.

    From a high-level view, we need a better way to anticipate the pitfalls or the risks that lie ahead. We need some type of mechanism to determine risk and then capture, respond, and react. Ideally, we need to make ourselves immune to the risks.

    Also, we need local and state code officials to rely on NFRC ratings. The ratings and the data that NFRC is known for and has expertise in must be a prominent part in the green building and wellness industries. Coming full circle, the more that starts to happen and the more exposure of the NFRC label, then there will be a drive for more companies to see the benefits of membership and being involved.

    As for the industry, wellness and green initiatives are becoming more prominent along with the continued drive for more energy-efficient products. Both of those being in the discussion for net positive energy. However, we’re in a space and time where we’re asked to do more with less, which – before the Coronavirus and these stay-at-home orders – turns into more hours in the workspace. And the human element of comfort needs to be included in building facades and envelopes. Unless your building is actual brick and mortar there is no way fenestration can’t be a part of it.

    What lessons have you learned from being involved in NFRC that you would share with young professionals just getting started in the fenestration industry?

    Get involved. Be engaged. Listen. Actively participate—ask questions and offer ideas. NFRC is a great, well-rounded group of people and minds coming together to promote the advancement of energy efficiency, home and work environment comfort by way of fenestration products.

    Through my time with NFRC, I’ve experienced tremendous technical growth and been able to connect and collaborate with some great individuals within the industry. As someone coming from a different sector or industry, I’ve been impressed by the minds in those meetings. There hasn’t been a meeting where I haven’t walked away without learning something or expanded my rolodex of people who I can call as a resource. 

    If you could do anything now (outside your current profession or role), what would you do?

    I would be professionally involved in sports in some way. I’d love to be an advanced scout or working in the front office of a professional sports team. I like to play baseball and ice hockey, and I enjoy coaching baseball. Mostly, I just want to be outdoors, enjoying my time with nature. 

     

    Tags:  board of directors  chairman  green building  nfrc ratings  sustainability 

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    Energy-Efficient Windows Help Reduce Carbon Emissions, Study Finds

    Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, April 22, 2020

    By Michelle Blackston

     

    Decarbonization to fight climate change can take many forms, from clean renewable energy like solar and wind, to more efficient or all-electric vehicles. A less discussed but important piece of the sustainability puzzle is windows. 

     

    New research shows just how well energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights—referred to as fenestration products by industry professionals—can lower energy use and prevent additional pollution. Analyzing government data and state and city energy codes, researchers at the University of Florida found that energy-efficient fenestration products reduced energy use by 774 Gigawatt hours in the past 30 years. To put those savings into context, that’s the equivalent of reducing carbon emissions by 547 million metric tons, or one-year equivalent of electricity use by 70 million U.S. households or taking 118 million passenger cars off the road. 

     

    These savings were made possible in part by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), formed in 1989 by industry stakeholders to establish an independent energy-efficiency ratings and certification process. NFRC became an official part of U.S. law and building codes with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The law established NFRC as the official rating council for windows, doors, and skylights. That year, NFRC also partnered with ENERGY STAR to provide the science behind its residential windows certifications. 

     

    Fast forward 30 years, and just like your cars MPG is measured, NFRC fair, accurate, and credible ratings help you understand how your certified windows will perform. Inefficient windows can cost the U.S. $50 billion annually in energy waste. NFRC’s mission is to continue to bring that number down by rating products on how well they keep heat out during the summer and prevent heat from escaping in the winter. This research highlights just how valuable that work can be to not only reduce costs for businesses and households, but also keep our air as clean as possible. 

     

    These results are promising, but there is more work to do. Green building is in higher demand than ever. New York, D.C. and other cities are adopting stricter mandates to phase out the use of less-efficient glass in commercial construction. The full impact of those efforts will depend on the details and implementation, but NFRC has the data and science to help consumers and policymakers during this transition. 

     

    In some regions, outdated windows need to be replaced. A recent study by the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) found that at least 63 percent of homes in the region are not ENERGY STAR certified. SEEA’s analysis found that Arkansas could save 29 billion BTUs, $13.2 million, and 112 megatons of carbon dioxide if it increased the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) compliance of windows over the next three decades. SHGC measures how well a window prevents heat from the sun from entering the home. If the SHGC is too high, homeowners tend to use more air conditioning to cool their home, which wastes energy and raises their utility bill in the process. 

     

    Upfront costs prompt the use of cheaper, less effective fenestration products. Consumers need to know the tradeoffs and the long-term benefits such as energy savings and reduced pollution that the right windows can provide. Now data shows that those benefits easily outweigh the initial cost by reducing HVAC use and avoiding the damage of additional carbon emissions into the atmosphere. 

    Tags:  carbon emissions  climate change  earth day  energy efficiency  energy performance 

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    NFRC Promotes Environmentally Responsible Building on Earth Day, Everyday

    Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, April 14, 2020
    Updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2020

    By Jeremy Browning

    The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) strives to empower people to create better buildings, increasing public awareness of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. As good stewards of the environment, NFRC donates to an environmental nonprofit in the location of our annual spring and fall meetings.  This spring, prior to the COVID-19 crisis, our meeting was scheduled to be held in College Park, Maryland. 

    Even though the spring meeting was moved online, NFRC still made a cash donation to support the mission of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).  Since 1967, CBF has advocated to “Save the Bay” through environmental restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is a 64,000 square-mile area that includes College Park and NFRC headquarters and stretches from Virginia to New York. CBF is dedicated to reducing pollution, improving water quality, educating the next generation of environmental stewards and creating a healthier environment for the 18 million people and 3,600 species of wildlife who call the region home.

    In addition to the support of CBF, on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, NFRC will observe Earth Day, a day where the world unites to reduce the environmental impact of human activity.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the theme this year is climate action.

    According to Earthday.org, climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world inhabitable.  The built environment accounts for more than 40 percent of energy use and 70 percent of electricity use.  NFRC is building a sustainable future through its commitment to the continuous improvements of windows, doors, and skylights that make buildings more comfortable and energy efficient.

    In the last 30 years, since NFRC’s inception, energy-efficient fenestration industry products have reduced an estimated 547 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and saved 774 gigawatt hours of energy, equivalent to:

    •  About 118 million passenger cars NOT driven for one year
    •  One year of electricity use by about 70 million U.S. households
    •  The energy savings in one year from replacing about 7 trillion standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps
    •  About 455 million acres of pine or fir forests absorbing CO2 for one year

     

    Learn more about NFRC’s sustainability efforts by visiting our new sustainability webpage or contacting our sustainability manager, Jeremy Browning, at jbrowning@nfrc.org

    Tags:  earth day  sustainability 

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    NFRC Helps Educate Consumers at Point-of-Purchase

    Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, April 14, 2020

    The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is providing window, door, and skylight retailers and salespeople with a tool to help their customers understand the energy efficiency of the products they are buying.    

    Developed as part of the Retailer Program, this infographic breaks down the details of the NFRC energy performance label so homeowners can use it to compare products when deciding to purchase windows, doors and skylights, referred to as fenestration products. Without knowing what each value of the label means, customers may not understand how one fenestration product compares to the next. Now, salespeople can reference this infographic to explain the value of the label so making a purchase decision is easy to do.

    “We routinely get calls from consumers inquiring about how to choose energy-efficient windows,” said Deb Callahan, CEO of NFRC. “Our Retailer Program gives salespeople exactly what they need, when they need it most. A consumer who hesitates at the point of sale is a missed opportunity for marketing and sales teams. This NFRC label reassures the customer that this window, door or skylight meets their needs and that our retailers be there to support them in the event that they get confused at a later stage.”

    To get more information, or sign up for program updates, click here, contact Jess Finn at jfinn@nfrc.org. The program offers customized solutions for windows, doors and skylights sales and marketing needs including webinars and online training.  

    “Everybody wins,” Callahan said. “Consumers get information they can rely on, retailers and salespeople increase their likelihood of making a sale, and NFRC’s label that provides the fair, accurate, and credible ratings of fenestration products is understood.” 

     

     

    Tags:  energy efficiency  energy performance  fenestration  membership 

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    New Training Introduces LEAFF Methodology

    Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, March 31, 2020
    Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    By Scott Hanlon 

     

    The new term LEAFF, which stands for Linear Energy Analysis For Fenestration, is NFRC’s branding of the trendline methodology work of the Residential Component Based Calculation (RCBC) Task Group over the last 10 years. Online LEAFF training is currently underway and we are close to concluding the first phase. There are two more phases left to attend where you will learn how to determine the formulas for the trendlines and calculate the whole product performance for U-factor and the new Condensation Index rating. The last phase, ending in late May, will provide an update on the changes to the program documents and the requirements for the labs and IAs when providing data, reports, and review for product certification. NFRC also is investigating using the LEAFF methodology for commercial products 

     

    Thanks to NFRC staff and task group members, LEAFF is poised to greatly reduce the simulation and testing process time. Of course, our primary goal is to deliver to you, our NFRC members, a beneficial, user-friendly new methodology that maintains our reputation for fair, accurate and credible ratings of fenestration products. 

     

    So how does LEAFF work? The Linear Energy Analysis for Fenestration (LEAFF) methodology uses product line characteristics and glazing options to determine multiple trendlines that replace the need to run numerous simulations separately that generates the product’s performance with different options (such as glazing and frame types). 

     

    With a new methodology there is always a need for new tools and software updates. NFRC provided LEAFF training attendees with informational files for the first phase of training and more will be coming during the second phase. Staff is also working on an interim process to collect and determine the coldest temperature points in THERM for the Condensation Index rating. The long-term solution is to integrate the collection of the temperatures in THERM and we will be working with Lawrence Berkley National Labs starting in 2021 to begin this process. 

     

    NFRC’s Certified Products Directory (CPD) will need to be updated to include the new Condensation Index (CI) rating while we sunset the Condensation Resistance rating. We are working with our IT partners now and will have more to update later this summer. 

     

    We do have an implementation plan drafted that requires more attention once we get through the training and the software changes. To review the draft plan, go to the RCBC TG's document webpage. NFRC welcomes your input. 

     

    And finally, there will be some updates to the NFRC 700 document that the RCBC TG will need address in conjunction with the NFRC 700 task group. These pertain to the information on the label for the CI rating and the products that are included using the LEAFF methodology. 

    Tags:  energy performance  fenestration  methodology 

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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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