Does Window Film Need Another Rating System?

Is there room for another window film rating system? The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) thinks so.

With a $1.6 million cost-shared grant from the DOE, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) has launched the new Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC).

According to a press release, AERC “will design and administer a new energy rating and certification program for the fenestration attachment products,” including applied films.

“This project allows members of the window attachments industry to be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency,” says Ralph Vasami, executive director of WCMA, “as well as collaborate with a diverse set of stakeholders, and, most importantly, present consumers with reliable product information.”

According to the release, under this Council, key market and technical data will be gathered to develop credible rating, certification, labeling and performance verification procedures that will be adopted by the attachments industry. “At present there is no accurate method to assess the performance of individual products or for consumers to distinguish between the relative energy saving performance of competing window attachment products,” the release reads. “The AERC’s work will fill this gap and pave the way for potentially billions of dollars in energy cost savings for U.S. households and businesses.”

Officials at the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which already has a rating system for window film, say they are unsure of what the AERC’s end goal is regarding film.

“We don’t know what they’re doing yet [except] forming the board members,” says Ray McGowan, senior program manager at NFRC, who hopes to send representatives to AERC’s meetings. He says there’s no need for another rating system for window film. “It’d be a waste of their time. We find it a little puzzling since we already have a rating. We certainly don’t want two ratings out there.”

Window Film magazine reached out to the DOE regarding NFRC’s already-existing ratings and they released this statement: “The Department has developed a strategy to support the rapid deployment and installation of energy-efficient fenestration attachments based on its own analysis and stakeholder feedback. As a part of this strategy, and to make it easier for consumers to understand how these products conserve energy and to help them compare various products and models … It is unclear how the NFRC and AERC ratings for window films will compare to one another. The AERC ratings have not yet been finalized.”

When asked if a second rating was needed since there’s already a rating in place, the DOE declined to comment.

As for whether they will include window film manufacturers in the process of developing a rating system, AERC spokesperson Zachary Koser says they “are encouraged to become members of the AERC.”

Membership forms are available here.

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1 Response to Does Window Film Need Another Rating System?

  1. sean says:

    I don’t know much about window films. However, it seems that if the professionals in the industry feel that one window film rating isn’t sufficient, then there should be another. What does a single rating system do anyway? Is it like a certification of sorts?

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