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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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NFRC Promotes Environmentally Responsible Building on Earth Day, Everyday

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

By Jeremy Browning

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) strives to empower people to create better buildings, increasing public awareness of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. As good stewards of the environment, NFRC donates to an environmental nonprofit in the location of our annual spring and fall meetings.  This spring, prior to the COVID-19 crisis, our meeting was scheduled to be held in College Park, Maryland. 

Even though the spring meeting was moved online, NFRC still made a cash donation to support the mission of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).  Since 1967, CBF has advocated to “Save the Bay” through environmental restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is a 64,000 square-mile area that includes College Park and NFRC headquarters and stretches from Virginia to New York. CBF is dedicated to reducing pollution, improving water quality, educating the next generation of environmental stewards and creating a healthier environment for the 18 million people and 3,600 species of wildlife who call the region home.

In addition to the support of CBF, on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, NFRC will observe Earth Day, a day where the world unites to reduce the environmental impact of human activity.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the theme this year is climate action.

According to, climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world inhabitable.  The built environment accounts for more than 40 percent of energy use and 70 percent of electricity use.  NFRC is building a sustainable future through its commitment to the continuous improvements of windows, doors, and skylights that make buildings more comfortable and energy efficient.

In the last 30 years, since NFRC’s inception, energy-efficient fenestration industry products have reduced an estimated 547 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and saved 774 gigawatt hours of energy, equivalent to:

  •  About 118 million passenger cars NOT driven for one year
  •  One year of electricity use by about 70 million U.S. households
  •  The energy savings in one year from replacing about 7 trillion standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps
  •  About 455 million acres of pine or fir forests absorbing CO2 for one year


Learn more about NFRC’s sustainability efforts by visiting our new sustainability webpage or contacting our sustainability manager, Jeremy Browning, at

Tags:  earth day  sustainability 

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NFRC is now a Maryland Green Registry Member

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Maryland Green Registry promotes and recognizes sustainable practices for organizations to improve their environmental performance. 

It is a free, voluntary program that provides resources for businesses and other organizations set and meet long term sustainability goals. The program also offers free technical assistance on implementing new environmental best practices.  

“NFRC is committed to improving the environmental performance of our operations and our office in Greenbelt, Md.  The Maryland Green Registry provides tools to help us create a more sustainable future” - Deb Callahan, NFRC's CEO.

Collectively, Maryland Green Registry members have reported saving over $107 million annually through the proven, practical measures they have shared in their online member profiles. View NFRC’s member profile here

Tags:  business  environment  fenestration  green building  sustainability 

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Baltimore sustainability plan guides path to LEED certification (USGBC Maryland)

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Municipal leaders in Baltimore recently unveiled a sustainability plan with a framework for certification.

By Tom Herron

With growing urbanization creating new challenges, the City of Baltimore is pursuing certification in the new, expanded LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities. Seeking to establish the city as an engine of economic growth, environmental health and prosperity, municipal leaders in Baltimore recently unveiled a new sustainability plan that provides a framework for certification. City officials describe the plan as an ambitious endeavor to attain their primary goal for Baltimore’s future—creating an environment where everyone thrives.

“Certification will support the city’s efforts to track and benchmark progress on the goals established in their sustainability plan,” said Hilari Varnadore, Director of LEED for Cities and Communities at USGBC. “LEED for Cities and Communities provides a clear, data-driven approach to assessing conditions and evaluating progress across social, economic and environmental areas.”

The plan is organized around five categories: Community, Human-Made Systems, Climate and Resilience, Nature in the City, and Economy. There are 23 topics, 78 strategies and 244 action items. A few examples of actions prioritized in the plan include

Thriving through certification

For Baltimore, advancing its 2019 plan requires more than a commitment to act; it requires a commitment to be held accountable. One of the most valuable aspects of the LEED for Cities and Communities program is that data collected and reported by the city is verified, ensuring that the work they are doing is making a difference. Through certification, cities are able to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and identify future areas for investment and improvement.

Anne Draddy, Sustainability Coordinator for the Baltimore Sustainability Office, is already taking action on this front. “We’re engaging thousands of people to better understand how they view a more sustainable and equitable city,” she said. “Prioritizing inclusive public engagement and ensuring people are heard across all of Baltimore’s neighborhoods is key to our success.”

In agreement is Amy Gilder-Busatti, Landscape Architect and Environmental Planner for the Baltimore Sustainability Office. “Every story counts, and there are lots of people here doing great work,” she concluded. “People are making a difference all across our city.”

Baltimore was one of the recipients of the 2019 Bank of America grants to assist with places seeking LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities certification, awarded by USGBC in May. Developing more sustainable cities is no longer viewed as the cost of doing business, but rather, as a catalyst for innovation, creating new markets and prosperity.

Tags:  sustainability  Tom Herron 

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Greenbuild Conference Recap

Posted By Adriana Vargas, National Fenestration Rating Council, Tuesday, November 26, 2019

NFRC participated in the 2019 Greenbuild International Conference in Atlanta last week. Senior Director Tom Herron and Manager Jeremy Browning met with exhibitors in the green building industry to promote the benefits of NFRC membership. They also connected with several window, door and skylight manufacturers to discuss the importance of NFRC’s fair, accurate and credible ratings for their products.

Organized by the U.S. Green Building Council, Greenbuild brings together companies and organizations focused on sustainability in the built environment. They have sessions and products on the exhibit show floor that highlight the latest trends and innovations in green building. They also released a sustainability report.  The international event also featured keynotes from a prominent civil rights advocate, a teen climate change activist and former President Barack Obama.

Headlining the opening session of the conference, President Obama spoke about the importance of sustainability for the future. He was interviewed by U.S. Green Building Council president Mahesh Ramanujam on the main stage and the two discussed the link between climate change and global economic inequality and the importance of leadership in shaping a sustainable agenda.

For more information, read the show recap

Tags:  energy efficiency  green building  sustainability 

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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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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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