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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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NFRC is now a Maryland Green Registry Member

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Maryland Green Registry promotes and recognizes sustainable practices for organizations to improve their environmental performance. 

It is a free, voluntary program that provides resources for businesses and other organizations set and meet long term sustainability goals. The program also offers free technical assistance on implementing new environmental best practices.  

“NFRC is committed to improving the environmental performance of our operations and our office in Greenbelt, Md.  The Maryland Green Registry provides tools to help us create a more sustainable future” - Deb Callahan, NFRC's CEO.

Collectively, Maryland Green Registry members have reported saving over $107 million annually through the proven, practical measures they have shared in their online member profiles. View NFRC’s member profile here

Tags:  business  environment  fenestration  green building  sustainability 

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NFRC’s FenStar® Program Awarded Highly Sought-After ANSI Certification

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, January 16, 2020
Updated: Thursday, January 16, 2020

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is pleased to announce that its FenStar® Certification Program, which ensures windows, doors, and skylights meet ENERGY STAR® specifications, received the acclaimed American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accreditation.

ANSI’s National Accreditation Board (ANAB) awarded the accreditation to NFRC after an extensive review process confirmed its FenStar® program meets the ISO/IEC 17065 standard used for certification bodies around the world. NFRC is the only certification organization rating the energy efficiency of windows, doors, and skylights.

“This accreditation validates the time and effort at NFRC to ensure our processes meet all of the ENERGY STAR ® specifications. It also indicates that our ratings are objective, impartial, and strictly follow our written policies and procedures,” said Deb Callahan, CEO of NFRC. “Our members that are ENERGY STAR Partners now have an accredited certification program backing up their ENERGY STAR label and certification. This benefits not only manufacturers, but also consumers who now will know, without a doubt, that the fenestration product they are buying has been rigorously tested and verified.”

About ANSI Accreditation

ANSI Accreditation provides assurance that standards, goods, and services meet essential requirements throughout the global supply chain – engendering consumer trust and fostering competitiveness. Increasingly, procurement authorities, government agencies, and program/scheme owners are specifying accreditation in order to demonstrate the technical competence and impartiality of conformance services and processes. These assessments enhance confidence between buyers and sellers as they mitigate risk. This information is according to ANSI.

Tags:  energy efficiency  energy performance  ENERGY STAR  fenestration 

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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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