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Energy-Efficient Windows Help Reduce Carbon Emissions, Study Finds

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, April 22, 2020

By Michelle Blackston

 

Decarbonization to fight climate change can take many forms, from clean renewable energy like solar and wind, to more efficient or all-electric vehicles. A less discussed but important piece of the sustainability puzzle is windows. 

 

New research shows just how well energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights—referred to as fenestration products by industry professionals—can lower energy use and prevent additional pollution. Analyzing government data and state and city energy codes, researchers at the University of Florida found that energy-efficient fenestration products reduced energy use by 774 Gigawatt hours in the past 30 years. To put those savings into context, that’s the equivalent of reducing carbon emissions by 547 million metric tons, or one-year equivalent of electricity use by 70 million U.S. households or taking 118 million passenger cars off the road. 

 

These savings were made possible in part by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), formed in 1989 by industry stakeholders to establish an independent energy-efficiency ratings and certification process. NFRC became an official part of U.S. law and building codes with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The law established NFRC as the official rating council for windows, doors, and skylights. That year, NFRC also partnered with ENERGY STAR to provide the science behind its residential windows certifications. 

 

Fast forward 30 years, and just like your cars MPG is measured, NFRC fair, accurate, and credible ratings help you understand how your certified windows will perform. Inefficient windows can cost the U.S. $50 billion annually in energy waste. NFRC’s mission is to continue to bring that number down by rating products on how well they keep heat out during the summer and prevent heat from escaping in the winter. This research highlights just how valuable that work can be to not only reduce costs for businesses and households, but also keep our air as clean as possible. 

 

These results are promising, but there is more work to do. Green building is in higher demand than ever. New York, D.C. and other cities are adopting stricter mandates to phase out the use of less-efficient glass in commercial construction. The full impact of those efforts will depend on the details and implementation, but NFRC has the data and science to help consumers and policymakers during this transition. 

 

In some regions, outdated windows need to be replaced. A recent study by the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) found that at least 63 percent of homes in the region are not ENERGY STAR certified. SEEA’s analysis found that Arkansas could save 29 billion BTUs, $13.2 million, and 112 megatons of carbon dioxide if it increased the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) compliance of windows over the next three decades. SHGC measures how well a window prevents heat from the sun from entering the home. If the SHGC is too high, homeowners tend to use more air conditioning to cool their home, which wastes energy and raises their utility bill in the process. 

 

Upfront costs prompt the use of cheaper, less effective fenestration products. Consumers need to know the tradeoffs and the long-term benefits such as energy savings and reduced pollution that the right windows can provide. Now data shows that those benefits easily outweigh the initial cost by reducing HVAC use and avoiding the damage of additional carbon emissions into the atmosphere. 

Tags:  carbon emissions  climate change  earth day  energy efficiency  energy performance 

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NFRC Helps Educate Consumers at Point-of-Purchase

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is providing window, door, and skylight retailers and salespeople with a tool to help their customers understand the energy efficiency of the products they are buying.    

Developed as part of the Retailer Program, this infographic breaks down the details of the NFRC energy performance label so homeowners can use it to compare products when deciding to purchase windows, doors and skylights, referred to as fenestration products. Without knowing what each value of the label means, customers may not understand how one fenestration product compares to the next. Now, salespeople can reference this infographic to explain the value of the label so making a purchase decision is easy to do.

“We routinely get calls from consumers inquiring about how to choose energy-efficient windows,” said Deb Callahan, CEO of NFRC. “Our Retailer Program gives salespeople exactly what they need, when they need it most. A consumer who hesitates at the point of sale is a missed opportunity for marketing and sales teams. This NFRC label reassures the customer that this window, door or skylight meets their needs and that our retailers be there to support them in the event that they get confused at a later stage.”

To get more information, or sign up for program updates, click here, contact Jess Finn at jfinn@nfrc.org. The program offers customized solutions for windows, doors and skylights sales and marketing needs including webinars and online training.  

“Everybody wins,” Callahan said. “Consumers get information they can rely on, retailers and salespeople increase their likelihood of making a sale, and NFRC’s label that provides the fair, accurate, and credible ratings of fenestration products is understood.” 

 

 

Tags:  energy efficiency  energy performance  fenestration  membership 

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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’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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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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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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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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