Only Online - USGlass December 2006
NFRC Holds Fall Meeting in Crystal City, Va.
In the peak of the fall season, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) met in Crystal City, Va., just outside Washington, D.C., for its Fall Membership Meeting. During the week of meetings, held November 6-9, 2006, at the DoubleTree Hotel, the group convened for task group and committee meetings, announced its new board members, debated numerous technical issues during the meeting and discussed many hot topics during their board meeting.
In addition, the first of many discussions regarding the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) took place on the first day as the CMA technical and PCP task groups met to discuss outstanding issues and review CMA certification procedure ballot responses. However, the NFRC does not allow for votes at the task group level, so the issues were re-addressed and voted upon at the CMA ratings subcommittee meeting later in the week.
During the membership luncheon, NFRC chair Marcia Falke of Keystone Certifications Inc. of Etters, Pa., spoke to the group about the importance of the move toward CMA.
"We need to learn to embrace it, learn from it and recognize it for the benefits it brings," she said. "Change, successful change, requires everyone to work together, to help one another, to support one another. Leaders need to point everyone in the right direction, but the journey--the change--is a team effort."
Falke noted that one reason the CMA is being developed is to fulfill a need brought to the NFRC's attention by the California Energy Commission.
"In some ways, our efforts to offer new and improved options for rating and labeling non-residential products can be considered forceful change," she said. "The California Energy Commission came to and asked us to provide an alternative to the current Site-Built Program."
Falke ended her discussion by noting that she was certain that there will be many issues, including the new non-residential CMA option and re-certification, that will pose a challenge for the NFRC.
"I hope that when change presents itself, you will embrace it," Falke said.
The Technical Committee block followed on Wednesday, including the solar heat gain subcommittee, U-factor subcommittee, condensation subcommittee, software subcommittee and CMA technical subcommittee.
Jeff Franson of Kent, Wash.-based Mikron led the condensation subcommittee meeting, and reported on the condensation resistance pamphlet that the committee is working to develop. The pamphlet contains three basic sections, "what is condensation?," "how is condensation reduced?" and "what is the condensation resistance rating?" Franson noted that the subcommittee's most recent action was the addition of a chart showing some ranges of condensation resistance taken from the NFRC's database to the subcommittee's document.
After some discussion regarding the specifics noted in the chart, Patrick Muessig of Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Azon USA Inc. made a motion to remove the material specific to framing chart that intends to show material-specific ratings and replace them with a more general range. The motion was seconded and passed 27-3 with six absentions. The group agreed to change the notation "CR" throughout the document to the notation "condensation resistance rating."
Joe Hayden of Pella, Iowa-based Pella Corp., led the report on WINDOW 6/THERM 6 for the software subcommittee and noted that right now, the group is hoping to get some response from the industry on the program.
"We're definitely looking for feedback from the manufacturers on software," Hayden said.
Christian Kohler of the Berkeley, Calif.-based Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory also contributed to the update on the software. He noted that version 6.1 of the WINDOW 6 and THERM 6 software was released in October, without any major changes for basic products. He noted that the software can specify any coverage percentage and the subcommittee's goal is to add more and more validation to the software.
Tony Rygg of the California Energy Commission also provided an update on the CMA software specification task group and noted that the first bidders conference has been held and the second is already on schedule.
Mike Manteghi of Cranberry Township, Pa.-based TRACO Inc. chaired the CMA technical subcommittee meeting with Gary Curtis of the Salem, Ore.-based WestWall Group serving as sub chair.
In the subcommittee meeting, Mahabir Bhandari of Amherst, Mass.-based CARLI Inc. provided an update on the CMA technical program Road Map task group and Michael Thoman of York, Pa.-based Architectural Testing Inc., led the update on the CMA validation test task group.
Likewise, Jeff Baker of WestLab led the update on the CMA spacer grouping task group and Charlie Curcija of CARLI Inc., provided updates on the CMA frame grouping RFT task group and the CMA condensation resistance RFT task group.
Thoman noted that the task group still has lots of work before it on its scope.
"The task group will continue to need to do work on the parameters on exactly what's tested, so we'll continue after this meeting," he said.
Baker advised that the spacer task group has set before it three basic paths that spacer manufacturers can follow under the CMA. Path one will be a simple path for spacers that contain no metal.
"This is the solution for spacer manufacturers that don't want to do any work but just want to get the spacer in the system," Baker said.
Path two will be more specific but still a bit more generic than path three--a basic rating will be given to the spacers in this path. Path three will allow spacer manufacturers to have their ratings calculated on a range of measurements of the spacer.
Tracy Rogers of Cambridge, Ohio-based Edgetech IG brought forth a negative regarding the paths that the CMA spacer task group presented, which led to a heated discussion among those in attendance.
He asked the question, "If there is sputtered aluminum foil in a spacer is that considered metal?"
Rogers expounded further upon his point.
"We need to set a limit--do some research and find out what that limit is," he said. "The whole basis for what NFRC is doing is based on science."
Curcija, in turn, came forward for a motion.
"I motion that part one of Tracy's negative is persuasive. If the thickness of the metal is less than 10 microns, it doesn't constitute metal in the spacer," Curcija said.
After much discussion, this motion was not sustained.
Roland Temple of PTG Industries, of Bradley, S.C., then motioned to consider part one of Rogers' negative persuasive and send the issue back to the task group. Baker, who chairs the spacer task group, objected to this suggestion, noting that path one is for a small number of spacers only and to do further research on this issue would not be worthy of the group's time.
"If there is metal contained in the spacer, it just pushes you into path two, and that's not a punitive or more costly path," Baker said.
To this discussion, Temple responded with another motion.
"I'd like to make another motion to find item one of the Edgetech ballot to be non-persuasive and group one stays as it is--metal is metal," Temple said.
Twenty-one voted in favor of Temple's second motion, none voted against and Rogers abstained.
Next, Thomas Culp, of Birch Point Consulting LLC, motioned that it be recommended to the board that section 22.214.171.124 be deleted from the document and replaced with the following wording:
"Framing components shall be tested as a whole product unit, in an insulating glazing unit as selected by the manufacturer in accordance with NFRC 102 and in accordance with all frame and validation grouping rules. Validation shall be determined by the equivalence criteria of section 4.7.1 of this document."
The majority of those in attendance voted for Culp's suggestion and it was put through to the board.
May the Board Convene
Beginning in December, the following members will assume or continue positions on the NFRC board of directors:
After new board members were announced on Tuesday, the fall meeting continued on Thursday morning. During that meeting, the board discussed estimating costs for its CMA, how the new NFRC glossary should be incorporated, how to spend research funds and its current process for selecting board members.
In addition, committee chairpersons provided wrap-ups of the week's meetings to the board, along with several action items.
The CMA cost question was brought forth by Steve Strawn of Klamath Falls, Ore.-based Jeld-Wen Inc., chairperson of the ratings committee, when he made the following motion to the board:
"I motion that the board form a board-level task group to explore CMA
costs and estimates," Strawn said.
Greg Carney of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) echoed the ratings
"This has been such a big concern since we began this process and there's still much fear out there. We've got to answer this question," he said. "They need the number to make some informed decisions. We need to answer the question as fast as we can."
Rich Biscoe, also of Architectural Testing Inc., came to the microphone with a different outlook.
"With all due respect, this beating up on the board about this fee thing is silly," Biscoe said.
In response to this discussion, Alecia Ward of the Midwestern Energy Efficiency Alliance of Chicago, motioned to table the motion, stating that the board will convene again on November 27. She said that forum will give the board a good chance to figure out how to go about determining the fees for CMA, rather than forming a task group to plot this course.
The board voted in favor of Ward's motion.
Hayden, who chairs the research and technology committee, reported on the glossary and terminology task group's work and motioned to the board to approve the glossary as revised and implement immediately upon publication.
Thoman seconded the motion with a friendly amendment that NFRC also make the definitions consistent with those in the existing documents and remove all definition from the NFRC's existing documents and include references to the glossary in place of the definitions.
Hayden, however, mentioned that the task group's plan had been that all existing documents would stay the same for now and would be adapted in the 2009 code cycle.
Based on this, Thoman withdrew his amendment.
The original motion by Hayden was then approved by the board.
Thoman followed up with a second motion that all definitions be removed from the existing documents.
"I want to start using the glossary immediately," he said. "We've done the right thing by making the glossary--let's finish the job."
Baker sided with Hayden.
"I would much rather see that the glossary be kept up-to-date I'd rather leave the documents as is, though, until the 2009 code cycle," Baker said. "I think it's going to create a lot of confusion with the current documents."
Curcija, who has been involved with the glossary task group for eight years added that, due to the technology available to the NFRC, the documents could be updated electronically immediately.
After much discussion, Thoman's motion was approved by the board.
Hayden also provided a budget update for the research and technology committee, stating that the committee currently has a balance of $663,639 available.
"We have a lot of money out there for research, so we need to figure out how to get that research done," he said.
Biscoe agreed, noting that bringing someone on to the task group with more experience in research could be helpful to the group.
"I'm concerned about the balance that NFRC has in its research account. We need to do a better job of utilizing that," Biscoe said. "If we can get somebody who's much more professional and experienced with research it could help us with the program and help us to be more efficient."
Thoman brought a chuckle to the crowd when he responded, "With volunteers, you get what you pay for."
On this note, the board moved on to other business.
After updates from each of its committee chairpersons, the floor was opened for new business. At this time, Margaret Webb of the Insulating Glass Manufacturing Alliance brought forward her concern regarding board of director selection and the fact that all committee chairs hold ex-officio positions on the board, meaning that they can contribute to all board discussions and attend both open and closed board meetings, but cannot vote. Webb pointed out that, of the board of directors' 19 members, currently ten are official board members and nine are ex-officio directors.
She also offered some suggestions for resolving the issue.
"If someone's going to run for the board, I think they should also have to serve as a committee chairperson," she said.
She continued, "I'd like the board to start considering three ex-officio members, Jim [Benney, NFRC executive director], Scott [Meza, legal counsel for the association] and the DOE [Department of Energy], and the rest of the board members shall serve as chairpersons of committees."
Ward, who serves as both a board member and as a member of the governing committee, advised this topic is not new.
"We believe there's a significant value in retaining that knowledge [of the ex-officio directors]. This is a topic we have regular conversations about," she said.
Gary Curtis of the West Wall Group LLC, also a board member, agreed.
"I've had two different opportunities to serve on the board in general I've found the ex-officios to be very valuable in helping to make decisions," he said.
Thomas Culp of Birch Point Consulting LLC agreed with Curtis, but still echoed Webb's sentiments.
"There's no doubt that certain ex-officios are valuable and provide information on their committees, but there are certain ex-officios who use their position[s] to exert influence over the board," Culp said.
Many board members responded, advising that all NFRC membership has the ability to influence the board and share information with them.
"There is nothing to stop any of the directors from going out to any member to get their opinion, but the problem is, sometimes, you're only getting one opinion," Webb said.
Carney agreed, noting that with NFRC's move toward CMA, this issue could become more pressing and the board may be compelled to expand itself to include some members from the commercial side of the industry.
Meza noted that this has been a concern of his as well.
"We absolutely should have your industry represented on this board, but we've asked people to run and they've declined," he said.
Darrell Smith of the Martinsville, Va.-based International Window Film Association suggested that the NFRC follow the suit of other organizations of which he is a member and have each member be directly involved with a committee chairperson to serve as a liaison for the board.
After much discussion, Chuck Anderson of Simonton Windows motioned that the governance board look at having the board members being selected directly by the membership and to study the feasibility of changing the process by which board members are selected.
Thoman seconded the motion. Six voted in favor and two abstained, and needing a vote of seven to move forward, the motion was tabled.
Garrett Stone of Brickfield, Burchette, Ritts & Stone P.C., whose regular board term ended with this meeting and who will now serve as an ex-officio as chair of the regulatory affairs and marketing committee, was one of those who abstained. He explained that he felt it was a conflict of interest to be involved in the vote. He did note, however, that he feels strongly that ex-officio directors are helpful to the board.
"Having worked as a voting member for six years, having as much information available as possible is a good thing," Stone said.
Ward noted that reviewing the process is already on the governance board's agenda for 2007 and the committee will report on this review at the NFRC's next meeting.
Penny Stacey is a contributing writer for USGlass magazine.
© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc.
All rights reserved.