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July-August 2002

THE RATE DEBATE
DOUGLAS 

The New Regime
NFRC Adopts Implementation Plans for New Ratings 
by Susan Douglas

In my last column, I described a number of important changes that the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) planned to make in its rating and labeling system. I’m happy to report that those changes have been finalized and approved. This will mean streamlined process for manufacturers that rate, label and certify their products through NFRC.

Seeking a Smooth Transition 
Of course, change is never easy. In order to provide the smoothest possible transition from one ratings regime to another, the NFRC board of directors adopted an implementation plan at our spring meeting in April. Because this transition will affect all NFRC participants, I decided to use my space in this issue to summarize the board’s plan and answer some of our participants’ questions. Basically, the plan works like this:

    • Any products certified to 1997 procedures may use their full certification period. So, if a manufacturer certified a product in June 2001, that certification remains valid for the full four-year period until June 2005. In addition, manufacturers may certify products to 1997 procedures through March 31, 2004 (although we expect that very few will choose to do so because our analyses indicate that most products will obtain better values using the new 2001 procedures). All Certification Authorization Reports (CARS), issued after March 31, 2004, must be to 2001 
procedures.

    • If they wish, manufacturers may re-certify their products to 2001 procedures at any time after April 1, 2003.

    • We expect that many, if not all, current NFRC-accredited simulation and testing laboratories will be accredited to use 2001 procedures on or before January 1, 2003. Once the labs are accredited (which could be before January 1, 2003) they may begin simulating and testing products using 2001 procedures. However, manufacturers will not be issued or receive CARs to 2001 procedures until April 1, 2003. So you can begin the testing process as soon as NFRC labs are accredited, but none of your products will be certified to 2001 procedures before April 1 of next year.

    • Manufacturers certifying to 1997 procedures may continue to use the old, two-size temporary label (see graphic, below left) until March 31, 2004. All manufacturers, whether certifying to 1997 or 2001 procedures, must use the new, one-size label (see graphic, below right) beginning April 1, 2004. Manufacturers labeling 1997 data on the one-size label are required to use the RES (residential) rating and an identifier that clearly indicates that the data is based on 1997 procedures. 

LABEL2     LABEL NFRC will phase out use of the old, two-size temporary label (left) over the next two years. The new, one-size label (right) will begin appearing on products in early 2003, and will be required for all products certified to 2001 procedures.

• Manufacturers can begin using the one-size label beginning January 1, 2003 using 1997 residential ratings. The new one-size temporary label shall be used for all 2001 ratings.

A Simpler and More Cost-Effective System
NFRC embarked on this process with one goal in mind: to provide manufacturers with a simpler and more cost-effective way to provide their customers with fair, accurate, and credible energy performance information. The new regime reduces costs by reducing the number of tests required for each product line and taking advantage of electronic data transfer.

We’ll experience some bumps along the way, and we appreciate our participating manufacturers’ patience. We also hope that you’ll provide us with feedback as we move through the transition, so that we can identify additional ways in which we can improve the new regime. 

 


Susan Douglas serves as administrator of the National Fenestration Rating Council in Silver Spring, Md.

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