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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.


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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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Panel Says Net Zero Poised for Growth

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Monday, March 23, 2015

The opening session during the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) annual Committee Week Meeting in Annapolis included a panel discussion on the future of Net Zero energy.

The distinguished panelists included Daniel Huard, from USGBC Nevada and founding partner of Humann Building Solutions.

During his presentation, Huard pointed out that Net Zero energy is quickly becoming a sought after goal for many buildings around the globe, each relying on exceptional energy conservation and on-site renewables to meet all of its heating, cooling, and electricity needs.

He added that the true performance of many homes and buildings is overstated and that actual Net Zero Energy structures are still rare -- but only for the time being.

Huard and fellow panelists Ellen Vaughan, Policy Director for High Performance Green Buildings, with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute in Washington, D.C. and Kiere DeGrandchamp, President of High Performance Homes, in Gettysburg, PA also explained that the industry is poised for considerable growth.  

One especially positive sign is that an Executive Order from President Obama mandated that by 2015, 15 percent of existing Federal buildings conform to new energy efficiency standards and that 100 percent of all new Federal buildings be Zero-Net-Energy by 2030.

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What Consumers Need to Know About Window Warranties

Posted By Tom Herron, NFRC, Monday, January 26, 2015
One of the most important things about purchasing energy efficient windows, doors, and skylights is finding a manufacturer who will stand behind their products and provide good customer service well beyond the initial sale.


When you see the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) energy performance rating label on windows, doors, and skylights, it’s telling you they have been independently tested and certified to perform as advertised.


As with any other product, however, performance ratings are merely a snapshot. The product may not retain its original performance values throughout its lifecycle.


For example, a window’s U-factor might change if the gas filler between the panes of glass leaks when a seal fails. It can also change if low-E coatings, frame conductivity, or suspended films become compromised.

Similarly, the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) may change as coatings, tints, or laminated/ suspended films degrade over time.

Additionally, badly-worn weatherstripping, a warped frame, or inoperable hardware can increase air leakage.  

It’s hard to foresee whether any of these things will happen and even more difficult to predict their impact. That’s why you need a reliable warranty to protect your purchase. Be sure to talk with others who own similar products, and ask the seller these questions:  

  • Is the warranty pro-rated?
  • Is it backed by the seller or the manufacturer?
  • Is there a cost to service the window if a warranty issue arises?
  • If you sell your home, is the warranty transferable? If so, what is the cost?
  • Who will service the warranty if the company goes out of business before it expires?

“Lifetime” is a term likely to be included in any warranty, but it doesn’t always mean what it implies. Many consumers interpret this as the owner's lifetime, the lifetime of the product, or the lifetime of the manufacturer. The definition, however, can vary.

In Colorado, for example, the law doesn't define the word “lifetime” when used in a contract. In fact, it can mean whatever the person offering the warranty wants it to mean — as long as they tell you.

California, on the other hand, requires lifetime warranties to cover at least three years.

Finally, keep in mind that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says a warranty period that is not clearly defined constitutes deceptive advertising.

Before you get too impressed by any warranty for windows, doors, or skylights be sure to read the fine print -- no matter what anyone tells you – and be sure you know for yourself exactly what it covers.

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