The NFRC Product Certification Program
- Credibility to your brand, consumer trust, and potentially increased sales.
- Assurance of code compliance -- knowing that your product will be rated by the world's foremost expert in fenestration performance.
- Fair competition in the marketplace through uniform and consistent treatment -- whether you are a national or small-market producer.
Product Certification Process
There are six steps to the Product Certification Process which are outlined below:
1. Review the NFRC 700, Product Certification Program document. Guidelines and program requirements to participate and achieve product certification. Be sure to download the NFRC 700 PCP document for your future reference as it contains procedures for plant inspection, labeling, and other compliance requirements.
2. Choose your category under the License Agreements, sign and return all of the completed NFRC forms
and return all of the required documents: NFRC License Agreement, schedules and
associated documents. (specific
license agreement categories below) The
agreement covers the approved use of the NFRC name and logo on authorized
products. The schedules and associated documents provide NFRC with contact information,
the location of the manufacturing plant(s) and where product lines are
produced. Once NFRC receives all required documents, a record only visible to
the IA and labs is created in the NFRC
Certified Products Directory (CPD) participant database.
3. Select an NFRC-licensed Inspection Agency (IA). An IA is an organization or person authorized by NFRC to conduct specified services for the Product Certification Program. Your IA will guide you through the process. They review and validate test reports, issue Certification Authorization Reports (CAR), and inspect manufacturing plants.
4. Select an NFRC-accredited simulation lab and test lab. The labs will work with you to review your product catalog and determine the number of product lines to be rated based on the requirements of NFRC standards (typically representing operator type, frame type, etc.)
a. Once the specific product lines are identified: The simulator models the product(s) and determines the energy performance characteristics (U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and Visible Transmittance). Ask the labs to guide you through the requirements so that product lines can be grouped and ultimately reduce the number of required validation tests.
TIP: Do not begin any testing until your product matrix is established
b. Send a baseline product to the NFRC accredited test lab. Baseline products vary in accordance with the results of products simulated. Verify the baseline product to be tested with the simulation laboratory. The test lab will validate the U-factor rating from the NFRC accredited simulation lab results.
5. The test and simulation labs prepare the results and will send copies to your IA. Your IA will review the results and compare them to the original drawings and specifications submitted by your accredited labs. Once the IA determines that the product meets NFRC requirements, they will issue a Certification Authorization Report (CAR) to you.
6. Label those product(s) with an NFRC label approved by your IA. NFRC will return a counter-signed license agreement and issue your initial participation invoice based on the date of your initial certification. A login and password will be assigned to your company to have direct access to your product lines rated with NFRC and maintain and monitor their certification. Products are certified for a period of four years from the test date. In addition, the certified products will be listed in NFRC's Certified Product Directory (CPD).
NFRC License Agreement Categories
Based on what your company’s products and practices, you will fall under one of the following categories. (NFRC staff can assist in determining the best category for your company.) Select the appropriate License Agreement and complete all forms and documents and return to NFRC (details included).
Manufacturer– a participant that manufactures whole fenestration products such as windows doors, skylights, etc.
Lineal Supplier – a participant that contracts for simulations and test on product lines for NFRC ratings on behalf of one or more fabricators.
Fabricator– a participant that manufactures windows from lineal supplier’s reissued test reports.
Site-Built – a participant that manufactures products but assembles and glazes the products on-site.
Door Manufacturer/Lineal Supplier– a participant that manufactures door components and is not responsible for finished glazing on door, and supplies simulation/validation testing to assembler/distributor
Door Distributor/Dealer– for a door distributor/purchaser or dealer/pre-hanger that receives testing and simulation reports from a door manufacturer/pre-hanger or door manufacturer/lineal supplier
Door Manufacturer/Pre-Hanger – a participant that manufactures, glazes and pre-hangs a door product (includes slab, jamb, header, and threshold). The participant obtains certification authorization for their door products in accordance with NFRC rating and certification requirements.
Applied Film – a participant that manufactures attachment products for fenestration products.
Private Labeler– a participant that is the Responsible Party whose name and identification code is reflected on the NFRC Label of a fenestration product and whose name is listed in the NFRC CPD. A Private Labeler’s fenestration product’s certification authorization is maintained by the fenestration product Manufacturer.
NFRC Participation Costs
The cost for participating in the NFRC's certification program is based on the licensee's total revenue. There are three things to consider: annual participation, product line fees, and labeling fees. Review the NFRC 704: Fee Schedule for the exact participation fees.
Other program costs
Participation costs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and among the NFRC-accredited labs and licensed IAs. Here are some things to consider as you begin the process:
- Keep your needs simple
- Time is money – the more time it takes for inspections, testing, and simulation, the higher the costs
- Consider grouping options when possible
- Shop around for the best value – Request several bids before choosing an accredited lab and IA.
NFRC Membership and Independent Verification Program (IVP) are separate program from participation and have additional costs involved.
Visit the NFRC membership page to see how becoming a member could benefit your company
Visit the IVP page and learn about how to become an Energy Star Partner.