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Baltimore sustainability plan guides path to LEED certification (USGBC Maryland)

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Municipal leaders in Baltimore recently unveiled a sustainability plan with a framework for certification.

By Tom Herron

With growing urbanization creating new challenges, the City of Baltimore is pursuing certification in the new, expanded LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities. Seeking to establish the city as an engine of economic growth, environmental health and prosperity, municipal leaders in Baltimore recently unveiled a new sustainability plan that provides a framework for certification. City officials describe the plan as an ambitious endeavor to attain their primary goal for Baltimore’s future—creating an environment where everyone thrives.

“Certification will support the city’s efforts to track and benchmark progress on the goals established in their sustainability plan,” said Hilari Varnadore, Director of LEED for Cities and Communities at USGBC. “LEED for Cities and Communities provides a clear, data-driven approach to assessing conditions and evaluating progress across social, economic and environmental areas.”

The plan is organized around five categories: Community, Human-Made Systems, Climate and Resilience, Nature in the City, and Economy. There are 23 topics, 78 strategies and 244 action items. A few examples of actions prioritized in the plan include

Thriving through certification

For Baltimore, advancing its 2019 plan requires more than a commitment to act; it requires a commitment to be held accountable. One of the most valuable aspects of the LEED for Cities and Communities program is that data collected and reported by the city is verified, ensuring that the work they are doing is making a difference. Through certification, cities are able to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and identify future areas for investment and improvement.

Anne Draddy, Sustainability Coordinator for the Baltimore Sustainability Office, is already taking action on this front. “We’re engaging thousands of people to better understand how they view a more sustainable and equitable city,” she said. “Prioritizing inclusive public engagement and ensuring people are heard across all of Baltimore’s neighborhoods is key to our success.”

In agreement is Amy Gilder-Busatti, Landscape Architect and Environmental Planner for the Baltimore Sustainability Office. “Every story counts, and there are lots of people here doing great work,” she concluded. “People are making a difference all across our city.”

Baltimore was one of the recipients of the 2019 Bank of America grants to assist with places seeking LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities certification, awarded by USGBC in May. Developing more sustainable cities is no longer viewed as the cost of doing business, but rather, as a catalyst for innovation, creating new markets and prosperity.

Tags:  sustainability  Tom Herron 

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Greenbuild Conference Recap

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

NFRC participated in the 2019 Greenbuild International Conference in Atlanta last week. Senior Director Tom Herron and Manager Jeremy Browning met with exhibitors in the green building industry to promote the benefits of NFRC membership. They also connected with several window, door and skylight manufacturers to discuss the importance of NFRC’s fair, accurate and credible ratings for their products.

Organized by the U.S. Green Building Council, Greenbuild brings together companies and organizations focused on sustainability in the built environment. They have sessions and products on the exhibit show floor that highlight the latest trends and innovations in green building. They also released a sustainability report.  The international event also featured keynotes from a prominent civil rights advocate, a teen climate change activist and former President Barack Obama.

Headlining the opening session of the conference, President Obama spoke about the importance of sustainability for the future. He was interviewed by U.S. Green Building Council president Mahesh Ramanujam on the main stage and the two discussed the link between climate change and global economic inequality and the importance of leadership in shaping a sustainable agenda.

For more information, read the show recap

Tags:  energy efficiency  green building  sustainability 

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UNC Charlotte Green Building Tour

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Last week in Charlotte, the National Fenestration Rating Council not only celebrated its 30th anniversary, but also debuted a new Green Track education series. Things kicked off with a tour of a newly constructed recreation center on the University of Charlotte campus, featuring top-of-the-line fenestration products to maximize lighting and energy efficiency.

The structure will host a variety of health and exercise activities, with an indoor track, pool, yoga studio and more, all surrounded by windows to let in as much natural light as possible. The project aims to receive three Green Globes as a measure of its energy efficiency and includes high-performance, ultra-clear glazing to maximize visibility and Low-E coatings to help control the internal temperature and reduce the strain on the building’s HVAC.

NFRC’s fair, accurate and credible ratings of windows, doors and skylights are a standard-setter for certifying products that keep out heat harsh summer months and keep heat in during the winter. The UNC Charlotte University Recreation Center shows the potential real-world, healthy living and energy-efficient spaces that can be created with products made, tested and certified by NFRC members.

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NFRC Takes Leading Role on Green Building Education, Outreach

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, September 12, 2019

Windows, doors and skylights are an essential part of energy efficiency and green building plans, and the demand for energy-efficient commercial and residential buildings is growing by leaps and bounds. Policymakers are looking to reduce emissions related to energy use, and it makes economic sense for building owners—as well as tenants—who can benefit from lower electric bills with energy-efficient doors and windows.

Recognizing the need for the latest information on the green building movement, NFRC has launched the Leaders Network to give engineers, architects, code officials and others involved in the sustainable building supply chain access to the best experts, data and science available. The first meeting takes place September 23 in Charlotte.

A recent study found the $28 billion window and door market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 4 percent through 2023. To harness this potential, stakeholders will need to adapt to energy-efficiency standards that contribute to “whole-building design.” This means all of the parts of the building are designed and built to work together as a complete system, instead of just as a collection of individual parts.

With 30 years of experience and fair, accurate and credible ratings at its fingertips, NFRC is uniquely poised to help homeowners and office building owners reduce their carbon footprint. To leverage those resources, the NFRC Leaders Network kick-off event will include speakers from Habitat for Humanity, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and Fitwel, as well as a demonstration of a drone using technology affixed to it to rate the performance of windows.

Along with a chance to learn about the latest green building trends and network with leading experts, attendees will be eligible for AIA and LEED credits. You don’t want to miss the NFRC Leaders Network and Green Track Event to ensure you and your business capitalize on the green building movement that’s rapidly becoming the norm. 

Tags:  energy efficiency  Green building 

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Going Green: NFRC Discusses the Future of Green Building at 2019 Clean Energy Expo and Policy Forum

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, July 29, 2019

This summer, the 22nd Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum convened 30-40 businesses, trade associations, and government agencies to showcase renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. In every state across the country, these technologies are having a significant impact in business development and job creation in the manufacturing, transmission, power, transportation and building sectors. Michelle Scism, manager of quality and compliance, represented the National Fenestration Council on a panel about energy efficient buildings and the benefits of NFRC’s fair, accurate and credible ratings.

Over the past 30 years, NFRC has been a go-to resource on energy efficiency and green building for policy makers. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 established NFRC as the official rating council for windows, doors, and skylights. Windows, just like a home appliance, can be ENERGY STAR certified, and our ratings are what determines Energy Star certification.

During this energy efficient buildings panel, Michelle discussed NRFC’s impact on the following:

·         Reducing waste: Inefficient windows can cost $50 billion annually in energy waste. NFRC’s mission is to continue to bring that number down through ratings that secure the entire building envelope. For instance, HVAC efficiency is counterproductive if windows let too much heat in during the summer or leak heat during the winter.

·         Green building is in high demand: New York, D.C. and other cities are putting mandates in place because consumers want energy efficient buildings. NFRC has the data and science to help consumers and policymakers during this transition.

·         Independence and accuracy: Just like your car's MPG is measured NFRC ratings help you understand how your windows will perform.

As high-demand as energy efficient products have become, everyone also wants to know that what they buy works the way it’s supposed to. Just like the label on food tells you about how many calories you’re taking in, NFRC’s label tells you how the window will perform in the heat and the cold. It takes away the guesswork and instills confidence that NFRC-certified windows are compliant and tested by the best science and engineering standards out there.

Energy efficient buildings are a fast-growing part of the green economy and offer tremendous opportunity. Commercial and residential customers want to reduce their carbon footprint while using high-quality products. As more municipalities implement mandates and look to capitalize on the economic opportunity offered by green buildings, NRFC’s rating system provides visibility into the efficiency savings of certified windows, doors and skylights. 

For 30 years, NRFC has worked with local, state and federal policy stakeholders to educate them and provide resources to inform their decisions. With the recent push by cities across the country to establish mandates for energy efficient buildings, NRFC looks forward to contributing to this momentum and facilitating the transition to energy efficient and green buildings.


Tags:  clean energy  energy efficiency  energy performance  Green building  sustainability 

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NFRC’s 30 Years Started with Humble Beginnings

Posted By By Deb Callahan, Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thirty-years ago today, a small group of fenestration professionals met in a hotel to discuss the need for an independent organization to produce fair, accurate and credible energy-efficiency ratings for windows, doors and skylights.

Since that day in June 1989, the National Fenestration Rating Council has paved the way for fenestration products to save consumers money and make their homes and offices more comfortable. NFRC’s ratings and the work of its members address the billions of dollars annually lost from inefficient windows.

As we celebrate the great people who laid the foundation for exemplary work, we still have more to do. Market demand for energy efficiency in buildings is rising, and policymakers around the country are pushing for stricter green building mandates. But our members and staff are poised to meet these challenges.

We’re proud to serve NFRC’s 800 manufacturers and program participants whose innovations make homes and offices more efficient. And consumers get the peace of mind knowing that NFRC-certified windows, doors and skylights are backed by our fair, accurate and credible ratings and research.

Our ratings will always be at the forefront. However, we realize that green buildings need energy-efficient fenestration products. We want to educate and inform the public and empower industry stakeholders to create more comfortable spaces with NFRC-certified products.

Tags:  30th Anniversary  fenestration  ratings 

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NFRC Heads to Vegas for AIA 2019 to chat Green Building Standards

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Thousands of industry experts will soon descend on Las Vegas to attend the AIA 2019 Conference on Architecture, taking place from June 6-8. NFRC will be onsite at booth #4316 in the exhibit hall to help attendees learn how our data and research helps inform green building best practices.

New York City, Washington, D.C., and other localities are implementing strong energy efficiency mandates. Architects, builders and manufacturers are facing growing pressure to ensure that windows, doors and skylights meet these new standards. NFRC’s fair, accurate and credible ratings make this possible.

With 30 years of data and research experience, NFRC is ready to help architectural stakeholders prepare for the future. Our staff of experts can help those in the building industry consider how to incorporate energy efficiency goals into the design and build phase as seamlessly as possible.

NFRC will have the following representatives onsite at the AIA conference:

  • Daniel Huard, Global GreenTag Americas CEO, NFRC Board Vice Chair, and a Global LEED Fellow
  •  Tom Herron, NFRC Senior Director of market development and engagement and a LEED Green Associate
  • Jeremy Browning, NFRC Development Manager

Stop by booth #4316 and follow us on Twitter @NFRCRatings for more information.

Tags:  architectural  ener  energy efficiency  fenestration  Green building  sustainability 

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D.C. Codes

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, May 7, 2019

NRFC hosted representatives from the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) on Feb. 21 at its Greenbelt, Md., headquarters. The officials from the DCRA green building division participated in a workshop on NFRC’s residential and commercial building programs.

Program directors Scott Hanlon and Steve Urich led the meeting, walking attendees through the processes and standards for residential and commercial fenestration product certification and the ratings’ impact on building codes.

“NFRC establishes a level playing field for consumers, manufacturers and is the only certified ratings program recognized by the government,” Hanlon said. The fair, accurate and credible ratings create standardization across the industry while helping promote energy efficiency.

The first half of the workshop focused on NFRC’s residential building program. Code officials learned how standardized test methods at independently-operated laboratories help inform the ratings on the label. In addition, they got an in-depth review of the certification process each product undergoes before coming to them for approval.

In the second half of the workshop, Urich discussed how to best reach code compliance in commercial buildings. He presented the component modeling approach (CMA) as a way to see how individual components impact overall energy efficiency. This is important in large scale building projects, because components can be easily adjusted for any particular job.

Hanlon and Urich then presented best practices when using the certified products directory (CPD) to verify if products are NFRC-certified.

One question that kept coming up was, “How much of the building envelope needs to be certified?” While the answer varies on each building it’s important that code officials leverage NFRC as a resource to ensure code compliance in their buildings. 

Tags:  energy efficiency  energy performance  fenestration  windows 

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NFRC Holds Its 2019 Spring Committee Meeting

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2019

NFRC will hold its 2019 Spring Committee Meeting in Baltimore from March 25 to 27. As the nation’s leading authority on energy performance ratings for windows, doors, and skylights, it’s a can’t miss event for fenestration professionals.

At the three-day event, attendees will discuss industry best practices, updates to NFRC’s ratings data and consider all of the aspects of fenestration that impact the comfort and energy use in homes and offices nationwide. The meeting also features a presentation by a representative from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkley National Labs and Volunteer Leaders Network sessions to provide members with career skills and guidance.

Agenda topics will include diffuse glazing, nonplanar solar materials, and warm edge spacers.

“The demand for green building is continuing to grow, and NFRC’s ratings for windows, doors and skylights play a key role in servicing that demand,” said NFRC CEO Deb Callahan. “This is a great opportunity to look back at what we’ve accomplished, but also examine what’s ahead and how to continue positioning our organization and its members for success.”

Founded in 1989, at the meeting NFRC will continue to celebrate its 30th anniversary with the “30 Voices for 30 Years” campaign. It’s our chance to look back at the contributions of members and staff that helped build NFRC’s reputation. Those efforts established its ratings as the gold standard for fair, accurate and credible fenestration product certification. You can click here to submit your own story.

Tags:  diffuse glazing  edge spacers  fenestration  industry  solar materials 

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Mission Possible: Celebrating 30 Years of Fenestration and Opening Doors for the Future

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Author: Deb Callahan, Chief Executive Officer

Change is inevitable, yet many membership organizations are reluctant to embrace it, afraid to take risks. After 30 years, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is doing just that. We are kickstarting our Mission Possible campaign to commemorate our long history of advancing energy efficient windows, doors and skylights nationwide through our ratings and certification programs.

Since 1989, we’ve been the science behind the Energy Star label. The NFRC label itself has helped customers make informed purchases based on our rigorous tests and standards to measure energy efficiency. Fast forward to 2019 and there have been several milestones, including creating our commercial ratings program and the FenStar Certification Label. And we’re just getting started.

At our recent Membership Meeting, we unveiled NFRC’s new mission and vision that reaffirm our commitment to the fair, accurate and credible ratings of windows, doors and skylights, but with a twist. Our ratings will always be at the forefront. However, we realize that green buildings need energy-efficient fenestration products for the health benefits to the buildings’ occupants, and to save money and reduce energy consumption. Energy-efficiency is a priority for us and we want to educate the public about environmental responsibility, empower architects and building designers to create more comfortable spaces and enrich the wellness of those who choose NFRC-certified products.

Over the years, our members have been the driving force behind our success. They are the real value to the organization and their passion for energy reliance performance is felt at every meeting. Our members inspire us to continue innovating and advancing energy-efficiency in fenestration products.

As part of the Mission Possible campaign, we’re asking members to send us stories of how their business has grown, improved or transformed in the last 30 years and how NFRC has positively influenced this progress. We will share these stories on our community site to be published in 2019. Have a story to share?

Send us your entries here.

Tags:  energy efficiency  energy performance  fenestration 

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