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Membership Matters

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, August 31, 2020

By Jessica Finn

“If you don’t create a system for testing and reporting fair, accurate, and credible energy performance information for windows, doors, and skylights, we will.”

 

-U.S. Federal government

 

In 1989, 25 industry leaders attending an American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) meeting in Vancouver, got together to discuss the need to establish a new organization focused on a national, uniform fenestration energy -rating system. Since there was no official meeting space available in the hotel, the group eventually settled in the hotel bar. It was in this humble setting that the National Fenestration Rating Council ( NFRC) was born, and its original logo sketched out on a bar napkin. By unanimous vote, these pioneers agreed to form the NFRC we know today.

 

The dedication of NFRC members mattered then, and 31 years later, membership matters just as much, if not more today. We are facing new challenges that need to be address ed as an organization and as an industry, including helping designers meet increasingly stringent energy codes, a changing global climate that requires higher performance from fenestration products, and the need to harmonize international standards.

 

In the early years, no matter how much NFRC members disagreed, everyone knew that the forces that brought them together still existed. If they couldn’t agree on setting energy-performance standards, the federal government would do it for them with its own system. Another risk was states opt ing to set their own standard, potentially adding onerous delays and expense to product testing and certification.

 

The challenges ahead of us are big, but the opportunities for advancement and innovation are bigger .  NFRC staff works diligently to increase the organization’s capacity to meet these challenges head on. I t’s also important to highlight the contributions of members for past milestones, as well as the positive effect they have on the future of NFRC.

 

NFRC members have been instrumental in leading and implementing:

 

  • Testing of the whole product v s. center of glass testing,

  • NFRC becoming the recognized administrator of the ENERGY STAR® for fenestration products,

  • One - size testing,

  • Condensation Index rating, and

  • LEAFF, among others.

NFRC welcomes members from across the industry, including manufacturers and suppliers, laboratories, inspection agencies, education and research institutions, not -for- profit organizations, and industry associations.  

 

Every member matters! Small or large manufacturer , university or laboratory, architect or retailer, your time and expertise can make a difference for you and the industry . Leading up to our 2020 membership meeting, we are launching a membership campaign to bring on new members and recognize our current members. 

 

We hope that you will join us to take on the challenges and seize the opportunities that are coming our way.  For more information, or to get involved click here.

 

 

Jessica Finn is NFRC’s membership manager and has been with the organization for nine years. 

Tags:  fenestration  industry  manufacturers  members  membership  NFRC ratings 

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NFRC’s Compliance and Monitoring: See Something, Say Something

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, August 13, 2020

By Robin Merrifield

Every robust certification program includes compliance and monitoring and the National Fenestration Rating Council’s Product Certification Program (PCP) is no exception. The combined investment that the fenestration industry places in the NFRC label – not just in terms of getting products certified but also in the work to maintain and run the program – is remarkable. Roughly 85 percent the fenestration industry, including window, door, skylights, and window film manufacturers; associations; laboratories, and inspection agencies participate in NFRC labeling processes and systems for residential buildings

 

Based on this, it should come as no surprise that NFRC takes the integrity of the label and how it is used very seriously. Because reports about questionable behavior that range from simple non-compliance issues to outright fraud are rare and kept confidential, it is possible that many people are unaware that a compliance program exists

 

We can assure you we’re always on the lookout for improper use and misappropriation of the label We want consumers to know the NFRC label guarantees their fenestration product has fair, accurate, and credible ratings backed by science. 

 

Why it Should Matter to You
In 1989, NFRC was founded to end the inaccurate, inconsistent, and unverifiable claims within the industry. Leaders in the fenestration industry realized they need ed to police themselves before an external entity decided to do it through regulations

 

Now, with NFRC’s standardized testing and reporting, false and misleading energy efficiency claims are largely a thing of the past – but not entirely. NFRC’s compliance and monitoring program (CAMP) exists to address these outliers. 

 

NFRC receives two or three inquiries a month, on average, from outside sources seeking to verify that claims are true or to report suspected false claims. The types of inquiry that lead to investigation include:

 

  • NFRC Certified claims on products that NFRC does not rate , such as pet door s and other products listed in Section 2.2 of ANSI/NFRC 100, and Sections 2.2.1 and 2.2.2 of ANSI/NFRC 200;
  • Counterfeit products;
  • Use of terms such as “NFRC Certified” or “Tested to NFRC Standards” on websites or printed marketing material that lead to consumer confusion ; and 
  • Questions from consumers when they are unable to verify products in the Certified Products Directory (CPD) and the name of the company isn’t in the CPD as a participant. 

It is our hope that all stakeholders recognize NFRC attempts to maintain the integrity of the PCP, the NFRC Label, and the reputation of those who invest in both. 

 

What to Do if You Suspect Shenanigans

NFRC ’s CAMP is a fully confidential program that investigate s potential infractions of the NFRC PCP. CAMP receives reports and questions from consumers, manufacturers, inspection agencies, code officials and others. Though the list of complaints above are the most common and generally require some investigation, NFRC also receives notifications to clarify what is allowed. For example:  

  • A manufacturer who is no longer certifying products can’t continue to use labels until they run out; 
  • A manufacturer can’t continue to use old label inventory when the label or ratings change and former versions have been discontinued; or 
  • Consumers call if they search the Certified Products Directory (CPD) and don’t find the company name listed – often because it is a private labeler. 

One of the more serious infractions NFRC is seeing – and one that manufacturers need to be aware of – are foreign companies selling “counterfeit” products, named to intentionally mislead consumers about the actual manufacturer and/or certification.

 

If you or one of your customers has concerns about improper labeling or any other questionable practice, please complete THIS FORM . The more details provided – including images , photos, screenshots, descriptions, labels, CPD number -- the better. 

 

Our name is on the line. So is yours. We intend to protect both. 

 

Resources
For more information, check out the NFRC 707: Compliance and Monitoring Program document . To submit potential compliance concerns, use the Compliance Investigation Form  Questions? Reach out to Michelle Scism , Quality and Compliance Manager at (240) 821- 9511 or mscism@nfrc.org.

Tags:  CAMP  certification  Compliance  CPD  industry  manufacturers  monitoring program  nfrc label 

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NFRC Empowers Retailers, Customers with Energy-Performance Ratings

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, July 23, 2020

By MIchelle Blackston

Finding the right windows for a home can be one of the most daunting tasks for homeowners. To help with this process, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) provides retailers and sales professionals with valuable information on the energy performance of windows, doors, and skylights—also referred to as fenestration products – so customers can make an informed purchase decision that best meets their needs.

In the last 10 years, NFRC’s Retailer Program has connected with more than 300 companies and their sales associates to give them unbiased, third-party validated data to compare a product’s performance. Homeowners want fair, accurate, and credible information from a trusted source. Salespeople who use NFRC’s label have a valuable tool to show customers the energy performance of windows, doors, and skylights.

NFRC conducted a survey to ask salespeople about their challenges and needs when trying to close a sale.  The survey asked retailers how well they understood the NFRC energy-performance label and their ability to explain it to customers. According to the survey, the three main findings are:

Understanding energy efficiency is not the biggest sales challenge, but still is an issue for some.

Nearly all customers ask about price and about half rank this as the No. 1 factor in making a purchase. However, 62% said they consider energy efficiency important and 22% say this is the most significant factor in buying windows, doors, or skylights. Additionally, energy efficiency ranked in the top three by most (64%) of retailers.

Retailers say that their biggest challenge is understanding and explaining the overall differences between the various fenestration products. However, a third (36%) say that explaining energy performance can be difficult.  At the same time, more than half of respondents (59%) say they currently use NFRC’s energy-performance label when selling windows, doors, or skylights.

Retailers overestimate their understanding of the NFRC energy-performance label.

Most retailers say they feel confident that they know the various parts of the energy-performance label and understand NFRC’s ratings.  Further, 77% of retailers said a product’s energy performance is easy for customers to understand. Yet when quizzed on whether it is better to have a higher or lower number for U-Factor, less than half (45%) responded correctly that the lower the number, the better a product is at keeping heat in. U-Factor measures how well a window keeps heat from escaping from the inside of a room during colder months.

Survey respondents also reported confusion on the best value for the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, which measures how well a product keeps heat out during summer cooling season.  Only 27% correctly said that a low number is better.

Virtual training and videos are the best ways to deliver information to retailers.

Most retailers said they are interested in increasing their knowledge of NFRC’s energy-performance label, which would enable them to improve their ability to share information with their customers. Respondents prefer virtual training (82%) over in-person (66%) training. To meet this need, NFRC recently unveiled a new training webinar to explain the various ratings on the label and demonstrate how to access certified products in the organization’s vast database of windows, doors, and skylights.

This survey shows that NFRC’s Retailer Program has a tremendous opportunity to reach a captive audience with valuable, informative training for sales professionals to have the tools to compare products and help customers better understand energy performance. Additionally, NFRC educates retailers about the value of the organization and why the label’s ratings are essential. Through improved outreach and education, retailers and sales professionals can overcome some of the challenges with selling windows, doors, and skylight as well as make customers feel confident that the products they are purchasing perform as indicated.

Read more about NFRC’s Retailer Program .

Tags:  energy efficiency  energy performance 

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From the Classroom to the Boardroom – Meet Ravi Srinivasan, Member of the NFRC Board of Directors

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2020

How long have you been involved with NFRC? And In what capacity have you been involved?

I have been involved with NFRC as a member of ANS Committee in 2012 - 2014 and from 2017 to date. Subsequently, I had a short stint as a member of the Board of Directors at NFRC in 2015 - 2016. During this time, I was a member of NFRC Audit Committee. I was elected to the Board again in 2019. Currently, I serve as the Secretary of the Executive Board at NFRC as well as a member of NFRC Governance Committee.

What do you hope to accomplish while in a leadership position on the board?

As a leader, my first and foremost goal is to uphold NFRC’s fair, uniform, and independent fenestration energy efficiency rating and labeling programs that aid customers to make informed purchase decisions. During my tenure at NFRC’s Board, I would like to accomplish the following: (1) increase innovation through active participation and continued encouragement and support to fenestration industry and U.S. national laboratories; (2) improve the visibility and dissemination of NFRC’s contribution to sustainability; and (3) inspire young minds to actively participate in NFRC’s vision.

How has your membership and involvement with NFRC helped you professionally?

As a current University of Florida Faculty Senator and a future faculty administrator, I see many parallels in my administrative responsibility and duties as the Secretary of NFRC Executive Board. My membership and involvement with NFRC in past and current roles have continuously shaped my decision-making for the greater good.

What do you see as some of the biggest changes with NFRC?

Some of the biggest changes with NFRC I see are encouraging and adapting new innovative fenestration technologies toward achieving superior energy efficiency. Yet, these innovations, although complex in science, needs to be brought down to already established energy performance ratings for widespread use. That said, NFRC continuously encourages complex innovation, yet provides customers to make informed decisions. In this regard, I would say that NFRC exemplifies the dynamicity of the fenestration industry. One technology in particular is VIG (Vacuum-Insulating Glazing).

How has the industry evolved in that same time period?

The American fenestration industry is an active ensemble cast with a common goal of, among others, improving energy efficiency. In this sense, NFRC and the fenestration industry have mutually evolved toward achieving sustainable harmony. An example of the fenestration industry improving energy efficiency in buildings and homes has been implementing new codes that increase efficiencies in these areas.

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

Being involved with NFRC, I have gained a balanced knowledge of fenestration science and market opportunities. I have noticed scores of young, diverse professionals attending NFRC’s Spring and Fall membership meetings. NFRC needs the active participation of these beautiful minds with real-world problem-solving skills. “Every drop makes an ocean,” an old saying, is self-explanatory. I find that my students do have an interest in the industry. In Fall 2019, two University of Florida graduate students, Farah Akiely and Vikram Ganesan, presented at NFRC’s September 23 Green Track meeting in Charlotte on drones accelerating the future of fenestration testing. I am working with Jessica Finn at NFRC on a new student membership. Architecture-Engineering-Construction Students are motivated to work towards efficiency and fenestration being one of the most important components.

How would you describe NFRC to someone who doesn’t know about the organization?

I would emphatically say that NFRC is the Standard Bearer of American Fenestration Energy Efficiency and Innovation.

Where do you think the fenestration industry will be in 10 years? 20 years?

As an active researcher in building energy and sustainability, I follow developments in building envelope and fenestration technologies that improve overall energy efficiency. I anticipate the fenestration industry taking an active, commanding role in creating novel components of fenestration that when combined with other building systems would aid in hyper energy-efficient buildings in 10 years.

Nonetheless, in 20 years, I envisage no clear demarcation between individual components of a building, but rather a unified coalesce of multiple components in a very few finite components or innovations that would achieve ten-fold increase in energy efficiencies! Essentially, it becomes a shared goal not just one industry anymore. That said, it is critical that the American fenestration industry, now, breaks the silos and collaborates with other stakeholders in construction to jointly create innovative systems. Embracing radical change is the call of the day.

Where will NFRC be during that same time frame?

NFRC, with inputs from the American fenestration industry, will not only continue to establish and maintain objective fenestration energy performance ratings but will also lead any such transitions through larger collaborative initiatives, tools, and educational resources. 

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

I see myself, in Gandhi’s own words, “ … be the change I wish to see in the world.” In concert with my intellectual growth, I see teaching and scholarship as opportunities to instill the necessary mindset, and mental faculties, in the young minds that will face and shape the ever-changing, complex environment.

What hobbies or outside activities are you involved in?                                                   

I love to spend time with my wife and son (the two most influential people in my life). My near-term goal is to become an FAA Certified Private Pilot which will allow me to fly measurement instruments to gather data related to building structure and to develop measures to reduce overall energy use in this changing climate. One of the largest challenges in building science research is how do you collect the properties and conditions of building envelope of a cluster of existing buildings or, say, the entire city? And how do we collect the data for those buildings within a short timeframe and acceptable accuracy? Currently, we have commenced testing using drones and, once we have learned the process better, the next step is to use small aircraft so that we can do this data collection in an efficient manner and at large scale such that we can use the data to suggest building energy policy changes to city or county officials.

Tags:  architecture  board of directors  energy efficient  fenestration  glazing  sustainability 

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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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    11/4/2020 » 11/19/2020
    2020 NFRC Certified Simulator Workshop - Virtual, Session 1

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    2020 NFRC Certified Simulator Workshop - Virtual, Session 2

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