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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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NFRC Shares Fenestration Rating Program with Chinese Delegation

Posted By Tom Barnett, Friday, January 4, 2019

The Chinese government, which wants to promote energy efficient windows, doors and skylights throughout China with a national green building standards program, joined NFRC to learn about the systems and procedures in the United States.

To get a better understanding, 15 Chinese building officials and engineers led by the Shandong Provincial Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development met with NFRC’s executive leadership team at their corporate headquarters in Greenbelt, Maryland. As the leading organization that establishes the energy performance rating for windows, doors, and skylights, NFRC sees this meeting with the Chinese as an opportunity to help them develop a comprehensive rating system for their residential and commercial products.

Chinese Delegation

“This group of Chinese engineers from Shandong Province met with NFRC program staff to learn about the rating system process used in the United States.”

NFRC provided the delegation with a high-level overview before answering specific questions regarding the program and government involvement. NFRC executives highlighted the role the industry and their approach to providing residential and commercial buyers with the information they need to make a purchasing decision.

The Chinese delegation was interested in NFRC’s mission of advancing the improvements of windows, doors and skylights. The delegation wanted to understand how to achieve this without promoting one company over another. NFRC explained that they are able to produce and create a level playing field with their Product Certification Program consisting of test labs, simulations and independent certification. 

NFRC also discussed collaboration between other associations and industries including the international fenestration industry, EnergyStar of the United States and the International Energy Conservation Code. This was an important part because the Chinese delegation wanted to ascertain how NFRC works with other industries and the government to execute their mission.

The meeting concluded with the Chinese delegation taking away important information on how NFRC helps commercial and residential manufacturers, builders and consumers understand the efficiency of the windows, doors and skylights to make an informed buying decision. 


“Junqiao ‘June’ Chen translates answers to questions into Chinese for the group of engineers who attended."

Tags:  energy efficiency  fenestration 

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Compare Energy Performance With NFRC Ratings

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, October 15, 2015

NFRC is an independent, third-party ratings organization that provides the information people need to compare the energy performance of windows, doors, and skylights so they can make a more-informed purchasing decision.

Learn more about our programs at and



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NFRC to Pursue Extending Certificaiton Cycle

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, September 23, 2015

NFRC’s Board of Directors approved moving forward with an initiative aimed at extending the organization’s product certification cycle from four years to five years during today’s open board meeting in Minneapolis.

The Certification Extension Task Group recommended the modification in part because of recent improvements that have strengthened the Product Certification Program (PCP). These include the success of the Independent Verification Program (IVP) along with increased plant quality control procedures, upgraded manufacturer practices, and more stringent oversight of inspection agencies.

NFRC staff emphasized that extending the cycle from four years to five years encourages additional participation in its programs, especially among small manufacturers, by reducing expenses for pursuing product ratings and certification. 

During the discussion, one objection stated the extension may weaken the integrity NFRC’s rating programs by reducing oversight and the validation of its ratings.

Supporters, however, contended that inspection agencies can provide sufficient oversight and pointed out the extension would also free up money for exploring innovations while also controlling the overall cost of fenestration products.

Ultimately, the board voted in favor of pursuing the initiative and stressed the importance of updating the NFRC’s Certified Product Director (CPD) to accommodate the change.

Staff is working to provide NFRC’s licensees with an estimate on the amount of time needed to prepare the CPD.

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NFRC To Release Faster Version of CMAST

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) announced yesterday during its membership meeting that it will soon release its fastest-performing version of CMAST, the organization’s commercial fenestration rating tool.

“Calculations that used to take 19 minutes now take about 11 seconds,” said Una Moneypenny, NFRC’s Director, IT Solutions. “It’s a vast improvement that answers our users’ call for a more efficient tool that determines commercial fenestration product energy performance.”

NFRC will soon announce the dates for a series of Webinars intended to help users navigate the upgraded version of CMAST, which is targeted for release in early November 2015.

NFRC’s Interim CEO, Deb Callahan, praised the accomplishment. She called it the realization of the organization’s goal to provide commercial fenestration product manufacturers with an immediate tool while it continues exploring the evolving needs of the commercial sector.

Callahan also pointed out that developing CMAST over the past several years has given NFRC additional insight for collaborating more effectively with industry players to create a scalable tool that aligns with the direction the industry is going.

“This is an important victory for NFRC and for the industry,” Callahan said. “We have a viable tool for use today, and it’s positioning us to create a sustainable business model for the future.”

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Interim CEO Callahan Sees NFRC Thriving

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, September 21, 2015

Interim CEO, Deb Callahan, outlined some of the organization’s most prominent accomplishments during the opening session of its membership meeting in Minneapolis, MN.

Callahan reported that NFRC’s Independent Verification Program (IVP) is thriving and is on target to complete the testing of 10 percent of ENERGY STAR® certified product lines, meeting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goal for the program.

She added that NFRC’s international harmonization initiatives are flourishing. During July, NFRC conducted certified simulator training for the Korean Architectural Façade Association (KAFA) and will leverage this into determining the South Korean government’s interest in developing a standardized rating program.

NFRC will also host a delegation from Japan during October to explore similar initiatives.

Additionally, NFRC has acquired 17 new members so far during 2015, bringing the total to 285. It also added 27 participants to its Retailer Program, bringing the total to 276.

Callahan pointed out that NFRC will publish an annual report within the next couple of months along with an educational video series aimed at providing all its stakeholders with faster, easier access to information enabling them to maximize NFRC’s programs.

"Best of all, member engagement is vibrant,” Callahan concluded. "We’ve attracted many new people with original ideas, and they’re contributing to making NFRC a modern organization with a strong vision, clear goals, and unlimited potential.”

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Understanding Window U-Factor

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Windows account for 40 percent of a building’s energy loss, and with energy costs and public demand for efficient buildings on the rise, using proven tactics to lessen this loss has become more important than ever.

Finding the best materials to contribute to a building’s performance targets is essential, but knowing which products will actually shrink the envelope’s energy footprint can be daunting. When it comes to windows, U-factor is a key figure to consider and comes standard on all National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels.

U-factor indicates how much energy will be lost from a building through its windows by specifying how many BTUs can pass through one square foot of material in an hour. Most windows today have U-factors between 0.15 and 1.20, which NFRC-certified labs calculate using thermal measurements from the center and edges of the glass, the frame and along any dividers the window may have. In other words, whole product performance. The different measurements capture the total impact of the numerous components of a window, including glazing, gas fills, spacers, frames, weather stripping and sealants.

When considering a fenestration product, “window shoppers” should look for the NFRC label, which provides U-factor data, along with information for solar heat gain, visible transmittance and air leakage.

Like the miles-per-gallon sticker on a car, the NFRC label – which can be affixed to the glass of all certified residential products or on a separate label certificate in the case of products in commercial applications – gives reliable, unbiased performance data to help architects, builders and even homeowners determine whether a product will meet their energy efficiency needs.

While NFRC does not recommend target U-factor values, the Efficient Windows Collaborative gives suggested thresholds based on climate zones:

·         Northern states: 0.35 or less

·         North Central or South Central states: 0.40 or less

·         Southern states: 0.60 or less

The ENERGY STAR® program, which relies on NFRC ratings to determine product eligibility, uses even stricter limits:

·         Northern, North Central and South Central states: 0.30 or less

·         Southern states: 0.40 or less.

Since NFRC began rating fenestration products more than 25 years ago, the program has helped to foster a 50 percent reduction in the average U-factor of certified products, a trend that has helped lower U.S. per-capita energy consumption to pre-1970 levels. As state and federal energy policies and building codes evolve, window manufacturers and builders will continue to find innovative solutions to curb window energy loss, helping to save Americans some of the $40 billion lost each year – and to significantly reduce the production of associated greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information about U-factor and window energy performance, visit

Tom Herron is director, communications and marketing, for the National Fenestration Rating Council. You can reach him at

NFRC is the leader in energy performance information, education, and certified ratings for fenestration products.

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