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Benney Discusses Value of NFRC's Commercial Ratings During GANA Meeting

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, March 17, 2014

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) CEO, Jim Benney, spoke about the importance of commercial fenestration code compliance during the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Technical Committee on March 16.

Addressing an audience of 38 committee members and guests at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Benney explained how NFRC’s commercial ratings program works and pointed out its value to the industry.

“You want to know you’re meeting code and getting credit for high-performance windows,” Benney told the group. “Our CMAST software tool allows you to do that.”

Benney added that the tool also drives competition, creates independence, and adds credibility because it provides third-party certification. He also encouraged manufacturers to bring their ideas for refinements to NFRC meetings.

“Many people think it’s the transportation industry that uses the most energy,” Benney concluded. “But it’s actually buildings that use the most, and that's what makes this program so important.”

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Benney Discusses Value of NFRC's Commercial Ratings During GANA Meeting

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, March 17, 2014

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) CEO, Jim Benney, spoke about the importance of commercial fenestration code compliance during the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Technical Committee on March 16.

Addressing an audience of 38 committee members and guests at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Benney explained how NFRC’s commercial ratings program works and pointed out its value to the industry.

“You want to know you’re meeting code and getting credit for high-performance windows,” Benney told the group. “Our CMAST software tool allows you to do that.”

Benney added that the tool also drives competition, creates independence, and adds credibility because it provides third-party certification. He also encouraged manufacturers to bring their ideas for refinements to NFRC meetings.

“Many people think it’s the transportation industry that uses the most energy,” Benney concluded. “But it’s actually buildings that use the most, and that's what makes this program so important.”

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Protecting Consumers With Energy Codes

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, February 24, 2014
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) welcomes content from guest bloggers. In this posting, Chris Potter, Communications Associate with the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), shares his thoughts on the benefits of energy code compliance for consumers.

It’s been six years since the global financial crisis struck—yet tens of millions of consumers are still recovering, shouldering the costs of irresponsible lending by reckless financial institutions and purveyors of the real estate bubble. While wages have stagnated since the 1970s, the costs of groceries, health care, taxes, and fuel for our homes and vehicles have increased, making it crucial for homeowners not to waste money on high energy bills—the second biggest expense next to mortgage payments.

Unfortunately, many buildings in the U.S. are hemorrhaging energy and eroding potential saving benefits simply by being built below the standards of modern building energy codes. Non-compliance with energy codes from state to state is astounding and is as high as 100 percent in some jurisdictions.

Like many worthwhile initiatives today, compliance efforts at all levels of government suffer from strained budgets. However, education can go a long way and make significant progress despite tightened belts. IMT has seen this through its Standard Bearers award program. Our 2012 Energy Code Champion, Gil Rossmiller in Parker, Colo., educated the town’s building community and integrated energy code enforcement into Parker’s existing processes, reducing opposition toward more rigorous code enforcement by showing the results of home energy ratings.

IMT and other organizations are working hard to help building departments reap the benefits of building to the modern energy code through strategies like streamlining regulatory processes to remove overlap and create more efficient administrative procedures—this can make departments more effective at enforcing construction code requirements while improving customer service and saving money.

And with the passing of a rating-based compliance path (RE188) to the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code, builders now have greater flexibility to meet the code at a reasonable cost, removing the typical point of conflict between builders and efficiency advocates. With this new option, the time is right for a large national push to increase compliance. Because it doesn’t matter how excellent a standard is if nobody follows it.

Some of the more outstanding benefits of increasing energy code compliance are:

It saves money: Houses built to stronger codes are up to 44 percent more efficient and can save families hundreds of dollars a year on energy costs—money that can make the difference on whether or a family can pay its mortgage. IMT estimates the savings from bringing just a year’s worth of new residential and commercial construction in the U.S. up to full compliance could reach $189 million. This equates to lifetime savings of up to $37.1 billion for just five years' worth of new buildings, helping the economy and reducing carbon emissions.

It protects consumers: One of the objectives for IMT in promoting energy code compliance is to help prevent harm (financial and otherwise) to consumers while advocating for good practices that benefit them, not unlike the role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ensuring that houses are built up to the modern energy code provides a cushion to unexpected events that could make mortgage repayment more difficult; it protects people from unfair, deceptive, or harmful building practices that can cost families in dollars and safety; it allows them to shelter in place for longer if the power goes out during an ice storm or heat wave; and it ensures they will live in a comfortable and secure home.

It assures quality: An energy code compliant home is one that is safer, more resilient, and has better indoor air quality—something IMT and Britt/Makela addressed in a recent report.

People want green buildings: As we see in a new McGraw-Hill study, green building grew even during the recent recession. It went from 2 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2013 and could reach up to 33 percent of the market by 2016. Consumers are also willing to pay more upfront for money-saving green features. A 2012 survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that nine out of ten buyers said an ENERGY STAR® rating for their home is "desirable or essential”—even if the home costs 2 to 3 percent more than a comparable home.

It takes strain off energy programs: A recent op-ed in The State pointed out that the South Carolina Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a federal program that helps pay for home heating and cooling for its most vulnerable and low-income residents served over 72,000 S.C. households in 2012, up from 18,218 households in 2009. By ensuring homes are built in compliance with the current codes, those homeowners are less likely to need federal assistance in paying their utility bills and if they do, the amount will be less.

FHA requires it for purchasing new homes: For a homebuyer to qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgage to purchase a newly built house, the house must meet the standards of a modern energy code. FHA insured about 700,000 purchase mortgages in 2013, 10 percent being for new homes.

Given all of the major benefits and circumstances, and the knowledge and tools we have at our disposal, it’s time to make energy code compliance the norm, not the exception.


The Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), founded in 1996, is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization promoting energy efficiency, green building, and environmental protection in the United States and abroad. The prevailing focus of IMT’s work is energy efficiency in buildings.

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High-Performance Windows Deliver Invisible Benefits

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, February 13, 2014
You may not know it to look at them, but your windows are working hard. While you can’t see or hear them doing anything, they’re always on the job. Every minute of every day, they’re busy influencing the amount of heat flowing in and out of your home.

High-performance windows are the ultimate multi-taskers. In addition to influencing heat flow, they connect us to the outdoors and bring in the daylight that improves our health and sense of wellbeing. On top of all this, high-performance windows help us save money by reducing energy consumption.

We’ve come to expect a lot from our windows. When it’s warm, we open them to provide us with cool, fresh air. When it’s cold, we can close them to provide thermal insulation. Understanding exactly how high-performance windows control heat gain and heat loss is integral to understanding how they deliver such consistent high-performance – without ever taking a break.

Heat Gain and Heat Loss

Heat gain is measured by the window’s Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The lower the SHGC, the less heat enters your home. Heat loss, on the other hand, is measured by the window’s U-factor. The lower the U-factor, the less heat escapes. Knowing how hot and cold air is transferred through windows helps you choose the right product to suit your individual tastes and preferences while achieving improved energy efficiency – the invisible benefit.

Factors Influencing Heat Flow

An awareness of some of the specific factors influencing heat flow can provide further insight when shopping for high-performance windows.

Radiation is the amount of heat that passes through the glazing. Radiation is responsible for about two-thirds of heat lost through a window. During the summer, glass transfers the outdoor heat into interior of your home, essentially wrestling with your air conditioner to maintain a comfortable temperature. During the winter, glass transfers the warm air inside your home to the outdoors, essentially wrestling with your heater to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Conduction is the amount of cold air passing through the edges and framing system of a window. The framing determines how well a window controls conduction. Aluminum, for example, is a good conductor, which means it facilitates the passage of cold air, reducing comfort and inhibiting energy savings. Vinyl and fiberglass, however, are two of the least conductive materials available for window frames, and both prevent the transfer of unwanted hot or cold air into your home.

Convection is when warm air touches the cold glass and transfers the heat to the coldest side of the glass. During the summer, the warmth is passed to the inside of your home, and in the winter the warmth is passed to the outside of your home. Too much air space between the panes increases convection while too little air space increases conduction.

Air Leakage is the amount of heat loss and gain that occurs by the infiltration of air through cracks in the window assembly.

Choosing Long-Term, High-Performance Windows

When shopping for windows, be sure to consult the NFRC energy performance rating label affixed to the product. This helps you estimate the kind of heat gain and heat loss you can expect while assessing your return on investment.

A basic awareness of thermal performance will help you choose the products that deliver consistent high-performance and make your home more comfortable while helping you save money on utility bills – even if you can’t actually see it happening.

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Better-Performing Windows Lead to Better-Performing People

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Achieving sustainability in commercial buildings requires providing occupants with a comfortable work environment, and one way to accomplish this is through high-performance glazing.

Commercial buildings ultimately exist to help people accomplish their goals, so good indoor air quality and access to natural light are important considerations for reducing dependency on mechanical systems and boosting worker productivity.

By some estimates, only about 30 percent of all commercial buildings have high-performance windows. In hot, dry climates, for instance, underperforming windows can adversely impact occupant comfort by allowing excessive solar heat gain.

Defining "Comfort”

When a group of people work together in a building, its internal space must provide comfort for the majority. It is generally accepted that internal temperatures between 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit and 30-70 percent humidity provide reasonable comfort for most.

In fact, the systems used to regulate internal environments usually target groups of people rather than individuals. That’s why the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has a regulation requiring 80 percent of all building occupants exposed to the same conditions within a space be "comfortable” at any given time.

While controlling internal temperatures can be accomplished through mechanical systems, this consumes costly energy. The best solutions usually result from a holistic approach to the many aspects of building design. For example, considering the number, size, and placement of windows along with building orientation during the integrated design process can improve comfort and control energy costs.

In addition to choosing glazing that reduces solar heat gain, installing operable windows offers occupants access to fresh air and cross ventilation, which has been shown to keep people alert, productive, happy, and healthy. Finally, windows that minimize solar heat gain while emitting natural light provide workers with a sense of control over their environment and a feeling of well-being that often leads to improved productivity.

Creating a comfortable work environment is one of the biggest uses of energy in commercial buildings and a key component of the Triple Bottom Line. Considering the long-term value of high-performance windows during the design stage of a commercial building project is an often-overlooked yet effective way to improve comfort and achieve sustainability.

Learn about NFRC’s commercial fenestration ratings program.

I am a code official looking for commercial fenestration ratings.

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NFRC Announces New Executive Committee, Jeff Baker Elected Chair

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Thursday, January 9, 2014

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) elected a new Executive Committee and welcomed its new board of directors during a meeting in Dallas, TX, on January 8 as Jeff Baker became the organization's new chair.

The newly seated board of directors has elected the following people to the NFRC Executive Committee:

· Jeff Baker, WESTLab – Chair

· Joe Jonely, AMSCO Windows – Vice Chair

· Gary Curtis, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – Secretary

· Sneh Kumar, ALCOA/TRACO – Treasurer

· Jim Krahn, Marvin Windows and Doors – Ombudsman

· Steve Strawn, JELD-WEN, inc. – Immediate Past Chair

NFRC’s Executive Committee has the authority to manage the business and affairs of NFRC as permitted by law and with oversight by the full board.

"I am honored to accept the position of NFRC board chair and look forward to the challenges of the year ahead," said Baker. "As NFRC enters its 25th anniversary, I am grateful to celebrate its history and plan for the future."

In addition to naming the executive committee, the following people, elected to the board in 2013, assumed their seats on the board at the meeting:

· Joe Jonely, AMSCO Windows

· Paul Bush, PPG Industries

· Christian Kohler, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

· Bipin Shah, WinBuild, Inc.

"I continue to be enthused and pleased by the quality of volunteers who commit their time and talents in leading NFRC into the future,” commented NFRC Chief Executive Officer, Jim Benney."Our members and stakeholders will be well-served by our new executive committee and the full board of directors.”

For more information on NFRC, please see www.nfrc.org.

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NFRC Offers AIA Credit for Free Webinar on Meeting Commercial Fenestration Code Compliance

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Monday, January 6, 2014
On Monday, January 13, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) will host a free webinar on meeting commercial fenestration code compliance. The hour-long webinar will begin at 1:00 p.m. (ET).

Attendees can earn one AIA continuing education credit.

According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the energy lost through windows represents four to five percent of total annual U.S. energy consumption at a cost of $50 billion.

During the webinar you will learn how to:
  • Quickly and easily determine fenestration code compliance for commercial projects.
  • Understand the NFRC 100 and NFRC 200 documents.
  • Understand the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1 - 2007 fenestration energy requirements for commercial construction.
Register now, and contact Ray McGowan, NFRC’s Senior Program Manager, at 240-821-9510 with questions.

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NFRC’s Commercial Ratings Program Helps Meet New Fenestration Requirements for Title 24

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Friday, December 27, 2013

Beginning on January 1, 2014, every fenestration product manufactured for installation in California will be required to bear a clearly visible temporary label that certifies its thermal performance, visible transmittance, and air leakage values.

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) commercial ratings program, widely known as the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) program, helps meet this requirement for nonresidential projects.

In 2008, The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved NFRC’s commercial ratings program (CMA) as one of three standard approaches to show compliance with Title 24’s energy efficiency standards for non-residential buildings.

Contact NFRC’s Senior Programs Manager, Ray McGowan, at 240-821-9510 for more information.

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New Video Makes Energy Performance Ratings Easy to Understand for All

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has created a whiteboard to help the public understand the value of its certification label without having to understand the science behind it.

While those of us in the industry spend our days talking about U-factors and solar heat gain, NFRC recognizes that these terms can be intimidating to consumers who are more interested in benefits than calculations.

"We’ve taken a complex topic and made it easy for anyone to grasp in under two minutes,” said Tom Herron, NFRC’s Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing. "Consumers want to know what’s in it for them, and we answer that question without getting technical.”

NFRC plans to use the whiteboard to increase public awareness of how its ratings programs help people choose the windows, doors, and skylights that will make their homes more comfortable and more energy efficient.

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New NFRC Website Dedicated to Simplifying Commercial Fenestration Code Compliance

Posted By Tom Herron, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has created a new website dedicated to making it easier for building code officials to meet compliance on commercial fenestration projects.

Constructed as a resource specifically for educating building code officials, the site allows users to search for label certificates, provides resources for determining state codes, and offers guidance on determining default values for windows with no ratings.

The site also allows users to search for window energy performance ratings using the label certificate number, project name, zip code, and location or search for a label certificate by product or state.

"Our goal is to make it possible for building code officials to get their numbers with just a few clicks,” said NFRC’s Senior Program Manager, Ray McGowan. "This new website will make their jobs easier.”

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