New Organization Aims to Rate Window Attachments

The newly launched Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC), which is part of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, seeks to start a rating, labeling and certification program for energy efficiency in window attachments such as blinds, shades, shutters, drapes, awnings and solar shades. The organization was formed in January and is supported by $1.6 million in funding from the Department of Energy.

According to the AERC, attachments have the potential to save approximately 800 trillion British Thermal Units (tBTU) by 2030 thanks to their low cost and ease of installation. However, right now there is no accurate method to assess the performance of many individual products, or for consumers to distinguish between the energy-saving performance of window attachments.

Earlier in June, representatives from AERC member organizations met at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. The session brought together technical and marketing experts from AERC members to explore how the rating program will take shape. The group considered how the ratings would affect stakeholder groups such as homeowners, utilities, code officials and architects.

The attendees also worked on prototypes for product labels, database designs and additional tools to help consumers understand the energy performance of window attachments.

“AERC’s cross-functional team spanning marketing, technology and certification have taken a great stride in the organization’s development of processes, procedures and messaging to provide transparent, actionable, concrete, easy to understand stakeholder information to facilitate selecting a fenestration attachment system that meets their requirements for saving energy and improving comfort,” said John Crowley, AERC vice president and chair of the technical committee.

At the end of the session, AERC had prototypes for product labels and a product database that eventually will include both residential and commercial attachment products.

The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC), which rates products such as window film and awnings, provides performance ratings for some attachments that are integral to window systems (i.e. distributed or sold as whole units), according to Jim Benney, CEO of the NFRC. He said his organization is contributing to AERC’s work.

“NFRC is a member of AERC, and it is our goal to work with that organization to ensure that the ratings developed are fair, accurate and credible and meet the needs of the public,” Benney said. “We also want to ensure that NFRC ratings and any potential AERC ratings are complimentary and not contradictory; especially when it comes to consumers.”

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