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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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Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Craft the Next Generation Window Technology

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, June 23, 2020

By Tom Barnett

As the fenestration industry continues to evolve, the feedback you provide today will help push the work for tomorrow. To this end, earlier in June, the Department of Energys (DOE) Buildings Technology Office (BTO) announced a request for information (RFI) on where they can improve and refine research goals for building windows and window technologies. Specifically, the BTO is looking for research and development investment opportunities in technologies and systems that will lead to the next generation of high-performance, affordable, cost-effective windows. The DOE wants feedback from the fenestration industry on planned technical objectives, targets, tools and R&D activities along with estimates of the program impacts.  

 

Additionally, input from this RFI will help inform the BTO’s DRAFT Research and Development Opportunities Report (RDO) for Windows issued earlier this month.

 

I cannot emphasize enough for NFRC members to speak up and provide feedback to this RFI on fenestration opportunities. The labs are doing fantastic work that is fenestration-specific and building-science oriented that is also aligned with NFRC’s mission and vision.  You can find more detail on their work here.   

 

Since joining NFRC, I have had the opportunity to participate as a reviewer of fenestration projects and proposals in DOE Peer-to-Peer Review sessions for the past two years.  I can attest to the value of these opportunities.  Prior to my participation in these review sessions, my experience with the work being done at the DOE national labs was in my position within a R&D group that supported the divisional needs of a Fortune 500 building products company.  We were constantly scouting for “new to the world” innovative technologies.  One tactic I used to discover organic growth opportunities or unique solutions for the organization was to tap into the national laboratory network along with exploring university networks.  Scouting within the DOE national labs took me to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) along with the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC), where I was exposed to a wide range of technologies and research that was and is new to the world – it was a gold mine of opportunity.  

 

Whether material specific or manufacturing concerns, it is imperative that you submit your feedback to the DOE.  I encourage every one of you to be an active part of the solution as a partner with DOE to drive the next great change in fenestration for the next 100+ years.  Whether it’s a window with a .05 U-Factor or a curtain wall that is dynamic to its office environment, provide that feedback today so they can get to work for tomorrow

 

Responses to this RFI and any questions related to it must be submitted electronically to BTO_windows_RDO@ee.doe.gov no later than 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, July 20, 2020. To provide feedback on the RDO report, please respond to the Request for Information HERE. Respond to the Windows RFI at EERE Exchange. Learn more about the RDO for Windows Report.

 

Tom Barnett is senior director of programs for NFRC. 

Tags:  DOE  energy efficient  fenestration  NREL  ORNLenergy performance  window technologies  windows 

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