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NFRC Facilitates Compliance With EPA's Clean Power Plan

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Sunday, August 16, 2015

Building professionals know there are few complications more frustrating than finding out that a project’s fenestration fails to meet energy codes. As codes become stricter, the cost of compliance related to window, door, skylight and curtain wall failure will go up, threatening to put projects over budget and behind schedule.

A new challenge looming for building professionals is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) forthcoming Clean Power Plan (CPP). The plan mandates a carbon emissions reduction of 32 percent nationwide by 2030, with individual targets set for each state. State targets are based on “building blocks,” including the assumption that demand-side energy efficiency can improve by 1.5 percent per year for the next fifteen years. The EPA is encouraging states to tighten building energy codes in order to meet this aggressive goal.

Fortunately, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) rating and labeling program can help architects and builders avoid potential overruns and comply with code changes resulting from new policies like the CPP. For more than 25 years, NFRC has provided building professionals and consumers with fair, accurate and credible fenestration performance ratings that allow them to compare products and meet all applicable building energy codes.

NFRC’s ratings procedures appear in model building energy codes like ASHRAE 90.1 and the International Energy Conservation Code. NFRC ratings also determine eligibility for the ENERGY STARÒ program for residential windows. Understanding NFRC’s ratings will be key to meeting updated energy codes. NFRC’s ratings include:

·         Solar heat gain coefficient, which measures a product’s ability to block heat from the sun;

·         U-factor, which measures a product’s ability to prevent heat loss; and

·         Visible Transmittance, which measures the amount of light that comes through a product.

As state lawmakers seek to comply with the Clean Power Plan by cutting energy usage across the board, building professionals will need to focus on efficient fenestration more than ever. Taking fenestration into account during the earliest stages of design and construction will help ensure that projects comply with building codes and contribute to the state’s energy efficiency goals.

NFRC is the leader in energy performance information, education, and certified ratings for fenestration products. Contact Tom Herron at 240-821-9505 with any questions.

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Why Third-Party Certification Should Be Your First Choice

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Wednesday, August 05, 2015

When you buy a window, door, or skylight that’s promoted as more energy efficient, you want to be sure it’s going to perform as advertised. One way to make a more educated choice is to understand how it was certified.

With the number of certification and labeling programs rising, it’s important to know how to evaluate them so you can accurately compare the products they represent and spend your money wisely.

Certification labels offer a convenient tool for verifying a product manufacturer’s claims. They are intended to provide peace of mind, but similar labels often have conflicting criteria for certification. Ironically, this sometimes confuses purchasers, triggering skepticism and ultimately causing them to choose familiar brands over more energy efficient alternatives.

While there are no national standards for green or sustainable product testing, purchasers can still make more informed choices by learning how certification labels are created and awarded.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established three categories for voluntary certification and labeling programs:

First party. This is self-certification. 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 business relationship with the first party, creating a potential conflict of interest. Additionally, the criteria for determining whether a product is “green” are not always standardized.

Third party. This is the most trustworthy and reliable form of product certification. Third parties are truly independent because they have no business or monetary relationship with product manufacturers. This makes their test results purely objective and unbiased. Third parties also publish clearly-defined standards.

Furthermore, third parties are transparent. Their product testing standards are created by manufacturers in public forums 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.

Learn more at NFRC's consumer Website.

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University of Texas Researchers Seek More Energy Efficient Windows

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Monday, July 27, 2015

The University of Texas at Austin is developing technology for creating smart windows that increases energy efficiency and improves comfort by empowering building occupants to interact more directly with their indoor environment.

Using newly created materials, building occupants can apply small amounts of voltage that allow windows to transmit light without transferring heat or to block light while allowing heat transmission.

Such developments are important for the fenestration product industry.

The bulk of our energy consumption comes from seeking the balance among comfort energy efficiency and good indoor air quality.

Encouraging more interaction between occupants and the built environment helps them better understand how their actions affect their surroundings and their utility bills.

In the future, the highest-performing buildings may not be those that initially exceed code. Instead they may be the ones that provide an engaging environment where occupants share responsibility for managing energy consumption.

In fact making buildings perform better depends on educated and committed occupants who proactively interact directly with the buildings they inhabit.

Contact Tom Herron, NFRC’s Director, Communications and Marketing for more information about understanding fenestration product energy performance.

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NFRC Announces CEO Exit

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Thursday, July 02, 2015

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Board of Directors has announced that Jim Benney, formerly NFRC Chief Executive Officer, has left the organization.

The Board is grateful for Jim’s 16 years of service to NFRC and wishes him well in his future endeavors.

Deb Callahan will serve as interim CEO in addition to her duties as COO while the Board conducts a search for Jim’s replacement. Deb has been with NFRC since 2005, originally serving as Deputy Executive Director before assuming her current role as Chief Operating Officer in 2010.

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DOE Says 2015 IECC Saves More Energy Than 2012 Version

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Monday, June 15, 2015

According to the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) would improve energy efficiency in buildings by about 0.87 percent compared to the 2012 version.

Each State is required to certify it has reviewed the provisions of its residential building code regarding energy efficiency and made a determination as to whether to update its code to meet or exceed the 2015 IECC.

Details, including information impacting the fenestration industry, are available here.

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What is a Passive Building?

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Friday, June 05, 2015
NFRC gets many questions from people who want to exactly what the term "passive" means when referring to buildings.

Passive buildings are built so air-tight they require little or no energy for heating or cooling, and understanding the NFRC label can help you understand how windows, doors, and skylights contribute to thermal performance.

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Visit NFRC's Booth During AIA Show

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Thursday, May 14, 2015

If you're attending the AIA show in Atlanta, be sure to visit NFRC at booth #3632.

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Upcoming Webinar Provides Updates to IVP Program

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scott Hanlon, NFRC’s Program Director, will host a free webinar to provide an update on NFRC’s Independent Verification Program (IVP) on Tuesday, May 19 from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. (ET).

The content will focus on the inclusion of the ENERGY STAR® Version 6 requirements in the recently approved NFRC 713.

This webinar is available to AAMA Members and AAMA Certification Licensees only.

Register

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Hanlon Says RCBC Helps Manufacturers Get Products to Market Faster

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Scott Hanlon, NFRC’s Program Director, explained to members this morning that the organization’s Residential Component-Based Calculation (RCBC) program will enable manufacturers get their products to market faster.

One of the primary advantages of the RCBC program is that it reduces the amount of manual labor involved in calculating various ratings.

“Our research is ongoing, and we’re making steady progress,” Hanlon said. “We’re developing a white paper to help members better understand exactly how the program works.”

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Simplifying Door Ratings Figures Prominently in Morning Session

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Discussion during this morning’s U-factor Subcommittee session included reviewing a motion aimed at simplifying adherence to NFRC’s ratings for pre-hung doors.

One of the changes balloted by the Door Task Group to ANSI/NFRC 100, Procedure for Determining Fenestration Products U-Factors, called for adding an optional rating method for side-hinged exterior doors referenced as the “Simplified Door Rating Method” (SDR). 

In this method doorglass assemblies and door slabs are modeled separately, providing a door pre-hanger with simplified process for acquiring a rating for exterior door systems that use doorglass assemblies from one supplier and a door slab from another.    

Members voted to send the document back to the task group, asking them to publish the findings that verify the procedure.

The motion passed by unanimous voice vote.

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