Volume 46, Issue 8 - September 2011

Codes&Regulations

NFRC Moves Action Items During Summer Virtual Meeting

Although members of the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) did not meet in person in July, a “virtual meeting” allowed the group to vote on and move forward a number of activities.

The board of directors ultimately approved the lone bid from Carli Inc. to refine the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) algorithms as part of an Algorithm Research Project. During the bid review task group, Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting explained that as the group moves more toward advanced products it’s necessary to minimize the margin
of error between those and the simpler products with which the program began.

The subcommittee approved the motion to accept the bid to further improve the accuracy of CMA as it relates to advanced fenestration products.

The board voted unanimously and agreed with that motion once Jim Benney, NFRC chief executive officer, explained that funding is available. Benney noted that NFRC recently received approval of a five-year grant from the Department of Energy for $400,000 a year over the next five years. The funding will be available October 1.

The NFRC board also approved motions to extend both the Windows 6-Therm 6 Validation Research Project and the CMA Condensation Resistance Research Project until the next meeting this fall, set to take place November 7-10 in Atlanta.

Joe Hayden of Pella Corp., chair of the Window 6 – Therm 6 Validation Research Project, noted that while the majority of the data is complete, further refinement is needed. Hayden said one more meeting cycle is needed to complete the project.

Charlie Curcija of LBNL (the contractor on the Condensation Resist-ance Factor Project) provided an update on efforts to create a condensation resistance factor rating as part of the CMA, which would be in alignment with NFRC 500. Curcija, how-
ever, noted, “We’re not getting good agreement [between the two ratings] and that is a concern … we’re going
beyond the scope, but we haven’t been able to get agreement using the CMA methodology.”

Following a presentation on measuring visible transmittance of translucent panel products, the board approved a request for proposal for the Complex Fenestration VT Rating Research Project. During the Research Subcommittee meeting, Yossi Vinograd of CPI Daylighting and Ross McCluney of SunPine Consulting had given a presentation to a task group focused on im-
proving the NFRC’s ratings for translucent panel products.

Vinograd noted that currently translucent panels have solar heat gain coefficient and U-factor NFRC ratings only; per IECC 2009, 2012 and ASHRAE 90.1, all fenestration products must provide SHGC, U-factor and visible transmittance (VT) according to NFRC standards. He said that at this time NFRC procedures cannot simulate translucent panel products for visible transmittance, so manufacturers can pretty much say whatever they want about their products’ VT. Vinograd and McCluney noted through their presentation that there is an urgent need for a VT rating by NFRC for this class of products and request-ed feedback from membership on the matter.

The Ratings Committee’s CMA Certification Subcommittee focused on a ballot designed to improve the layout and information provided by the CMA label. While there were no negatives, Nils Petermann of the Alliance to Save Energy suggested differentiating between fixed/operable/storefront/curtainwall/entry doors as not only metal products, but non-metal as well. The group ultimately agreed with the revision. The ballot was approved as amended by the subcommittee and later by the board.

The CMA Technical Subcommittee discussed the development of a procedure for modeling spandrel systems
so they can eventually be added into CMAST. The Technical Task Group will focus on this ballot, for which a request for proposal (RFP) had previously been submitted. Catherine Best, chair of the CMA Technical Task Group, noted that the RFP ballot has been put on hold due to funding concerns and will be re-ballotted for the Fall Meeting.

Also as part of the board meeting, Benney discussed the Blind Verifica-tion Program that the NFRC is developing. The program is designed to verify that Energy Star-qualified and NFRC-rated fenestration products sold in the marketplace are consis-
tent with the products listed in the NFRC Certified Products Directory. Under the blind product rating verification pilot program, individual fenestration products would be purchased annually by NFRC. These purchases would be made without involvement from the manufacturer.
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