Since its founding in 1989, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has issued about 400 project-specific commercial label certificates and roughly 8,500 unique commercial product ratings. But senior program manager Ray McGowan wants to see those numbers go up. Way up.

Microsoft PowerPoint - NFRC and Energy Codes Webinar-Dec 14 [Rea“We are just scratching the surface with our program, and we’d like to change that,” McGowan said on Thursday during a webinar about commercial fenestration code compliance.

It’s something NFRC is constantly working on, McGowan said. For example, the ComCheck software from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program recently incorporated NFRC ratings into its fenestration performance details.  ComCheck helps architects, builders, designers and contractors determine whether new commercial or high-rise residential buildings, additions and alterations comply with different code requirements.

NFRC ratings are already required for Energy Star, ASHRAE, the U.S. Green Building Council and the International Code Council. They’re also used to shape the ever-increasing number of construction codes in state and local jurisdictions across the U.S., which doesn’t have a single national building code.

While ever-more-complex construction codes might conjure images of red tape, McGowan says they’re generating serious energy savings.  A slide during the webinar showed that the average normalized energy use intensity (EUI) of buildings has dropped from 100 in 1975 to 50 in 2013. During that time, the number of new regulations has increased exponentially.

“The energy savings, that’s all code-driven,” he said.

To sort through the jumble of codes, McGowan urged webinar participants to bookmark the website for the Online Code Environment & Advocacy Network, http://energycodesocean.org/code-status, which breaks down commercial and residential codes by state.

McGowan also reminded webinar participants that NFRC isn’t just about code compliance and hard science.

NFRC’s online database lets users look up numbers in the Certified Product Directory for residential products and project label certificates for commercial products. The residential database has approximately 9.5 million rated products, while the database for commercial enables project-specific label certificates to be downloaded at no charge.

NFRC also has a couple of consumer-oriented websites to help homeowners find the most energy-efficient windows and window coverings.

http://www.nfrc.org/WindowRatings/

http://www.efficientwindowcoverings.org/