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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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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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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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