With architects, builders, and manufacturers facing growing pressure to ensure that windows, doors and skylights reduce energy use, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is releasing a report on the potential benefits of high-efficiency windows in commercial buildings, titled “Characterization of the Commercial Fenestration Market – Opportunities for Enhanced Efficiencies.”

The NFRC establishes energy-performance ratings for windows, doors, and skylights, which are referred to as fenestration. The study, funded by NFRC and in part by the U.S. Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was conducted by research firm Guidehouse to assess the opportunities for energy-efficient commercial fenestration on a national scale.

From a thorough review of the current commercial building market in the U.S., the study found a significant need for energy-efficient façade and window systems. However, NFRC says in its release that the industry isn’t fully aware of the benefits of high-efficiency windows including cost savings, reduced energy use, and occupant health and comfort. According to the report, for widespread adoption of a commercial fenestration ratings program, the certification process must be simple, credible, and standardized in such a way that it does not delay the project. The NFRC says the new commercial certification program it is developing will help accomplish this goal.

Currently under consideration, NFRC is expanding its options for participating in its commercial program. These changes will make it easier to maximize energy efficiency in the built environment and reduce the time and effort required for testing, certification, and compliance.

A building’s energy efficiency can only be accurately measured when its commercial fenestration ratings are included in the calculations. Accurate ratings help communities set energy-use targets and estimate the savings potential when using energy-efficient windows, doors, and skylights.

“New York City, Washington, D.C., and other localities are implementing strong energy-efficiency mandates. The commercial sector, in particular, will need to adjust to stronger regulations for new facilities and complicated retrofits for existing structures,” said NFRC CEO Deb Callahan. “NFRC’s more than 30 years of fair, accurate, and credible ratings can help make this possible. Our certification provides peace of mind for building owners and occupants because they can be sure that the windows in their building contribute to a healthy workspace.”

The NFRC will present more from the report at its NFRC Fall Membership Virtual Meeting, and along with researchers from Guidehouse, share their solution to address the challenging needs of a multifaceted commercial market.