Thursday, July 31, 2008

Q&A with NFRC Chairman Joe Hayden

We sat down with Board Chairman Joe Hayden after the Board meeting to get his thoughts on everything that took place this week in Chicago.

What are your thoughts on the action taken on IG Certification?
I think we are where we want to be. The important thing is to get this program wrapped up. I think it is good that we established an implementation date that we can march towards. The first thing now is to get the procedures in place so that everyone knows what the rules are. Once we have a list of programs, then participants can begin to apply for participation in one of them.

Do you feel that any progress was made on the Component Modeling Approach program during the meeting?
I believe we are still making progress. There weren't as many negatives as there have been in the past. But as you can see, the consensus process can be slow and painful but it’s the right thing to do. We’re still working towards the mid-late 2009 goal.

There was a large focus on attachment products this week and these task groups seem to have already made a lot of progress in the short amount of time they’re been in existence. Will the Board be making any changes to way these groups work within the NFRC structure?
I am very encouraged by the increased interest in NFRC, it’s a positive thing. The Board will certainly take the issues raised during the meeting under advisement, but in the meantime work is continuing on storm windows and other attachments. We also approved adding the Dynamic Attachments for Swinging Doors. The language should be published shortly and those products will be rated and labeled.

We heard many voices speak up regarding the possibility of reducing the number of NFRC membership meetings to two per year beginning in 2010. What is your take on it?

There are certainly other options out there. I think people are interested in reducing travel and taking advantages of the electronic tools out there today. You can meet over the phone and the computer and it is a viable alternative.

You delivered a presentation during the Opening Session earlier this week and you also shared a few thoughts with meeting attendees at the close of the Board meeting. Anything else you want to let the membership know?
I have a tremendous amount of faith in this organization. It is one of the most hard working and dedicated organizations out there and I’m happy to be a part of it.

Board Meeting Comes to a Close with Q&A

During the Board meeting’s Q&A session, Ray Garries with Jeld-Wen, Inc. brought forth a concern with after-market attachments.

”Rating attachments is absolutely the right thing to do, the issue is how we rate them,” said Garries. “Products are being compared out there with the generic claim that they are NFRC rated.”

Garries noted that the Board questionnaire is a good first step, but also recommended the Board consider a few other items:

· Employ a model to segregate attachment products into a separate council
· Create a fenestration attachment rating brand by NFRC
· Allow for an overarching committee to control how attachment products are compared

The Board agreed to take the issue under advisement.

NFRC Considers Reducing Meeting Schedule

As the Board meeting continued, Chair Joe Hayden opened the floor for discussion on an item stemming from the Meetings Committee. Starting 2010, NFRC is considering going to two full membership meetings rather than the current set of three.

Explaining the methodology behind the committee’s thoughts on this matter, Meetings Committee Chair Jeff Baker of WESTLab explained that NFRC can take advantage of webinars and other forms of electronic technology to take care of business.

“I applaud reducing travel whenever we can,” said Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting, LLC. “It would require a change to our bylaws, but if we had a provision to assemble a Web committee meeting, we could move a ballot all the way through.”

Executive Director Jim Benney noted that NFRC’s operating policies allow subcommittee and committee meetings to take place via conference call or Web.

While most supported the concept, others questioned whether or not NFRC would be sacrificing the personal relationships built at a face-to-face meeting.

"As a newcomer to NFRC, we appreciate how the task group has been working via conference call,” said Michael Cienian of Hunter Douglas, Inc. “But as I see the process, I think it is important to have face-to-face contact and establish relationships with everyone. We are coming into a new phase with attachments.”

Attachment Subcommittee Chair Fred Higgins of Wayne-Dalton, Corp. echoed Cienian’s remarks. “I like the idea of two meetings for the cost factor but I have so many interruptions when I’m in my office.”

NFRC Reports on Financial State

The Board meeting continued Thursday morning with a financial report from NFRC Executive Director Jim Benney.

Benney noted the 2007 audit was completed and NFRC received excellent remarks from the auditor.

Benney also touched on the 2008 financials. “A big portion of our revenues are PCP fees and we have more manufacturers participating in our program,” said Benney. “However, with the down housing market there are less labels being sold.”

NFRC forecasts a balanced budget through the remainder of 2008.

The full report will also be posted on the NFRC Web site.

Board Meeting Begins with Committee Reports

The final day of the NFRC Summer Membership Meeting began with the Board of Directors Meeting. First on the agenda were reports from each committee chair.

Technical Interpretations Policy Committee Chair Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting LLC, made a motion to approve nine interpretations:
  • Modeling Tape/Caming on Glass
  • Define Exterior
  • Rating Non-Standard TDD
  • Door Core Modeling
  • Apply Boundary Conditions to Door
  • Sill Frame Members Extends Beyond Rough Opening
  • Non-Operating Type Products
  • Default Door Lite-Frame
  • Minor Revisions

The motion carried by unanimous voice vote. Additionally, Culp noted that the NFRC 601-2008 was approved and will be published upon implementation of the Certified Products Directory, version 2.0. NFRC Laboratory Accreditation Program Manager Scott Hanlon added that labs already have this information dealing with the CPD 2.0.

Next, Roland Temple of AZS Consulting, Inc. delivered the report from the Certification Policy Committee. Three action items moved forward and were approved.

There was also discussion of the revised concept for IG Certification requirements. Temple motioned that the revised document be approved in concept so the CPC can move forward on developing a document for review and comment. NFRC Board Chair Joe Hayden of Pella Corporation asked to have CPC complete something for the Board to review on its August 26 conference call.

Finally, the Board approved a motion that IG Certification implementation be effective upon publication of all necessary documents, but that it be mandatory on July 1, 2010.

Technical Committee Chair Jeff Baker of WESTLab moved several items forward to the Board. From the CMA Subcommittee:

  • The Board approved the motion to incorporate the NFRC 100 CMA spacer groupings and frame grouping language into the NFRC 100.
  • Agreed to provide guidance and binding direction regarding the generic frame language from the NFRC 100 and NFRC 200. The Board will make a decision on this matter before the next meeting.

Closing out the committee reports, Ratings Committee Chair Steve Strawn of Jeld-Wen, Inc. introduced two items to the Board. There was some discussion surrounding the request to approve the CMA labeling certificate.

Regulatory Affairs and Marketing Chair Garrett Stone motioned to table the label certificate for further discussion. “The new label certificate retains a third page that has a whole set of non-certified values,” said Stone. “Do we want to have a label with numerous non-certified NFRC values?”

The Board will take this issue up and discuss at its September meeting.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

CMA Ratings Subcommittee Comes to Decision

The Component Modeling Approach Ratings Subcommittee convened this afternoon. There were a number of ballot comments to review regarding the CMA PCP (NFRC 705) document.

“My goal is to resolve a number of these negatives,” said Subcommittee Chair Gary Curtis of the West Wall Group.

The discussion centered around a set of negatives that stated the group should not approve the program language until the other referenced documents are complete.

“The Certification Accreditation Program provides details for how IAs are to inspect manufacturers based on the language in the PCP,” said NFRC Executive Director Jim Benney. “So until the PCP is approved, we can’t move forward with the CAP and LAP.”

“From a precedence standpoint, we just did this with IG – we want to see the language before approving the document,” said Rich Biscoe of Architectural Testing, Inc. “We are not willing to move forward on a document we feel, in itself, is not complete. My definition of complete is every reference is complete.”

“I want to make progress and it seems there is a difference between holding it here and sending it to the Board,” said NFRC Regulatory Affairs & Marketing Committee Chair Garrett Stone. “If there are specific problems in the document, we need to fix them.”

A motion was then introduced by Stone to find the negatives non-germane. The motion failed 11-18.

The group also discussed exploring the option of removing references to the other CMA documents in the PCP. A motion was introduced by Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting LLC, to find the negatives persuasive and substantive and that the PCP be re-balloted once all the accompanying reference documents are complete. It carried 17-11.

Curtis directed the NFRC staff to explore the possibility of removing references to other documents. The Ratings Committee will also bring the issue forward to the Board of Directors for guidance.

DOE Provides Update on ENERGY STAR Criteria

The Regulatory Affairs and Marketing Committee met this morning. DOE ENERGY STAR® Program Manager Rich Karney gave a brief status report on the ENERGY STAR criteria changes for fenestration.

Karney noted that DOE is still reviewing the draft analysis and report and will likely provide everyone a week to review it prior to the August 13 stakeholder meeting in Washington, D.C.

“The way the analysis has come out is we will be providing the two Northern Zones with trade-offs between U-Factor and SHGC,” said Karney.

DOE will accept comments on the draft report through the third week of September. According to Karney, DOE is hoping to put out the final criteria sometime this fall.

NFRC Members Gather for Dinner Reception

After a busy two days, the NFRC Membership Dinner was a welcome break for meeting attendees.

Members and participants gathered on the terrace of the Conrad Hotel for a festive, South American-style dinner.

More photos from Chicago will be available on the NFRC Meeting Page next week.

CMA Technical Discussion Turns Local

The Component Modeling Approach Technical Subcommittee convened this morning. On the agenda were reports from the CMA Validation Testing Task Group and the CMA Non-Standard Products Task Group, as well as reviewing comments on the following ballots:

- Generic CMA Frame Values – NFRC 100
- CMA Frame Grouping Rules – NFRC 100
- Generic CMA Frame Values – NFRC 200
- CMA Spacer Grouping Rules – NFRC 100

While discussion testing, the discussion quickly turned to a new fixture in the Chicago skyline – the Trump International Hotel & Tower. NFRC meeting attendees got a close-up view of the building during Tuesday’s membership dinner which took place on the terrace of the Conrad Hotel.

“Our conclusion was, based on what we could see, we would have no more than two simulations on that building,” said Marles McDonald of Quality Testing, Inc. “The total cost would be something of a thousand of a percent for all of the simulation and testing.”

According to Chicago Architecture Info, the 92-story skyscraper cost $750 million to construct.

Technical Committee Meetings Continue

Technical subcommittees continued this morning, starting with the Attachment Subcommittee. Chair Fred Higgins of Wayne Dalton, Corp., called the meeting to order at 7:30 a.m.

Five task groups currently report to the Subcommittee:
- Storm Window
- Dynamic Attachments for Swinging Doors
- Exterior Attachments
- Interior Attachments
- Storm Door and Storm Panels

Starting off the task group reports, Thom Zaremba presented an update on the Storm Window Task Group. “The current review plan is to hold two conference calls and to explore the possibility that storm windows be rated on a stand-alone basis.”

Next, Dave DeBlock provided the report from the Dynamic Attachments for Swinging Doors. “We’ve resolved most of our ballots,” said DeBlock. “I think our work is pretty much under wraps and we will stay reporting but hopefully not have a lot of work to do.”

As chair of the Exterior Attachments Task Group, Higgins updated the group on the work that has been done since its formation last fall. “The Board gave us some direction and that has been positive.” Higgins noted that the group has been gathering additional product information. “We don’t want to leave any stone unturned and we’re looking at all exterior attachments – products that attach to fenestration products.”

Higgins also emphasized the importance of looking at what other countries are doing. John Gant of Glen Raven, Inc. gave a brief presentation on European Standards.

Michael Cienian of Hunter Douglas, Inc. reported on the Interior Attachments Task Group. “A lot of the work we’ve done so far is outreach so everyone knows what we’re doing.”

“The next steps are to decide on reference base case windows and complete the listing of products for inclusion in windows software.” Some of the products the task group is looking at include storm windows, applied films, venetian blinds, roller blinds, and sun screens.

The task group’s goal is to submit an interior attachment ballot for the spring 2009 meeting.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Q&A with NFRC's Jim Benney

NFRC Executive Director Jim Benney sat down with Sahely Mukerji, news editor and managing editor of Glass Magazine, this afternoon to discuss the CMA program, new product ratings, and NFRC’s decision on IG Certification.

What is the status of outside development support funding for the Component Model Approach program?
We got approval for $200,000 from the Department of Energy. Also got in-kind support from Southern California Edison CTAC. [Edison CTAC, in partnership with NFRC, is hosting a training workshop in Irwindale, Calif., to discuss among other things, the benefits of CMAST, the new CMA software and how the component modeling approach works.]

To access the entire interview, click here.

Air Leakage Fate Discussed

The Technical Committee block meetings began this afternoon, with the Air Leakage Subcommittee convening at 2:30 p.m.

NFRC Board Member and Subcommittee Chair Mike Thoman of Architectural Testing, Inc. picked up where the group left off at the Spring Meeting, where there was a motion to remove the NFRC 400 standard.

Thoman presented three possible courses of action to the group:

1) Maintain the status quo, essentially keeping NFRC 400 in its existing form

2) Use NFRC 400 as a shell document and heavily reference AAMA 101 in the technical spec

3) Revoke NFRC 400 and reference both AAMA 101 and ASTM E283 in the PCP

AAMA’s John Lewis made a motion in support of option #2, which would in the short term use the North American Fenestration Standard and ASTM E283 within NFRC 400, with the long term goal of phasing out NFRC 400. After a hand vote, the motion passed.

To pursue this course of action, Thoman formed a new task group. John Lewis volunteered to serve as chair. Others interested in joining the task group should contact Thoman.

NFRC Member of the Year

NFRC members really know how to work. The level of commitment that our volunteer members put into our organization is incredible, especially considering they all have day jobs! We truly appreciate all of the time our members give.

To formalize our appreciation, NFRC will offer its first-ever Member of the Year award. The NFRC Member of the Year award will recognize the recipient’s talent, achievements, and notable contributions to the fenestration industry that support the NFRC mission.

Additionally, the recipient shall:

- Be a positive advocate for NFRC when addressing code officials, utility companies, governmental agencies, the media, etc.

- Regularly attend NFRC membership meetings and actively engage in critical discussions and decisions

- Exhibit respect for all members, genuinely embracing the philosophy of a consensus process

The award recipient will win a free NFRC meeting registration to be used in the next calendar year, as well as $1,500 for meeting expenses.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Member of the Year award, please visit to download the form.

All submissions must be returned to NFRC by August 31, 2008. Please email with any questions.

Optical Properties Subcommittee Considers Ballots

The NFRC Optical Properties Subcommittee considered two ballots during its meeting Tuesday morning at the NFRC Summer Membership Meeting in Chicago.

The group discussed a number of negatives to the ballots for NFRC 300/301 and NFRC 302, and because several were found to be persuasive and germaine, the subcommittee sent both ballots back to task groups for further review and revision.

Day Two Begins

Day two got an early start this morning. The Research & Technology Committee block kicked off at 7:30 a.m. with the Research Subcommittee meeting.

Subcommittee Chair Bipin Shah of WinBuild, Inc. and NFRC’s Technical Services Manager Ray McGowan began the meeting by providing an overview of NFRC’s research budget and a brief status report of active projects.

Currently, NFRC has six ongoing research projects.

- WINDOW 6/THERM 6 Validation Research
- Non-Standard Products for CMA Methodology
- Complex Product VT Ratings
- Spectral Weighting Function Revision Research
- Condensation Resistance Procedure for CMA
- U-Factor for Tubular Daylighting Devices

Project Monitoring Task Group Chairs for each of the ongoing research projects provided status updates.

Willie duPont of Sunergy Consulting presented a detailed overview of the methodology he will apply to the WINDOW 6/THERM 6 research. He noted that new features will include the ability to calculate the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and U-Factor of woven shades and venetian blinds.

Charlie Curcija of Carli, Inc. provided a report on the status of the Condensation Resistance Procedure for CMA. According to Curcija, all of the glazing, spacer and frame models are completed, and he is currently plotting the relationship between spacer effective conductivity and center glazing S and SS values. The final report is expected to be submitted by the middle of October.

Finally, the Non-Standard Products for CMA research and Complex Product VT Ratings research are both in the final stages. A motion moved forward to approve the Non-Standard Products research and the Complex Product VT Ratings research is pending final review from the task group. The Board could approve the completed research during its next conference call.

Monday, July 28, 2008

CMA Software Demo Closes Day One

Closing out the day Monday, Charlie Curcija of Carli, Inc. gave a live demonstration of the CMA Software, CMAST.

Curcija, whose firm is developing CMAST, explained that the application on a user’s computer will have its own database that stores all of the client’s data. Components, certified products, and label certificates are then synchronized to the main server database for public view.

Users can also share data with their entire company. “The software allows you a flexible way of sharing different information on the server,” said Curcija.

During the hour-long demonstration, Curcija ran through a number of scenarios and explained in-depth how the software will function.

“This demonstration was extremely informative and gave everyone a real-time view of CMAST,” said NFRC Executive Director Jim Benney. “After all of the hard work that has been put into developing this – and other aspects of the CMA program – it’s really exciting to see the pieces come together.”

NFRC Holds IG Certification Forum

Certification Policy Committee Chair Roland Temple opened up the IG Certification Forum this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Temple began by explaining the set of criteria that a third-party IG Certification Program shall include.

According to the outline presented, NFRC will maintain a list of third party IG Certification Programs that have submitted a statement to NFRC stating they meet the requirements. This statement is to be provided to NFRC on an annual basis, but will not be independently verified. Rather, it is up to the program participant to verify they are in fact using an NFRC-listed certification program.

Temple opened the floor to debate and discussion ensued about this set of requirements versus the previously issued document.

Rich Biscoe of Architectural Testing, Inc., remarked that NFRC has “swung to the other side of the pendulum.” He added, “I was really hoping that this would be a way to take the IG Programs in the industry and take them a step further. Even the good programs out there today won’t need to be looked at.”

Others in the room were pleased with the new direction. “This is a major improvement,” said John McFee of the Window and Door Manufacturer’s Association. “It catches the original intent form the Board of Directors and membership.”

Moving forward, NFRC Chair Joe Hayden suggested that CPC issue a revised draft program document by the end of next week to distribute to the membership for comment.

Margaret Webb of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and Tracy Rodgers of Edgetech I.G. Inc. agreed to present a concept for CPC to bring to the Board of Directors on Thursday.

“Let us provide you with what was approved and what was accepted,” said Rodgers. “We certainly don’t want to go back to the task group level.”

The goal is to finalize the program language by the end of August.

Does the NFRC Label Expire?

The Certification Policy Committee handled a number of PCP interpretation requests during the committee meeting this afternoon.

Among the interpretation requests were two clarifications concerning the NFRC label.

Q) Does an NFRC label have an expiration date?
No, an NFRC label that is valid at the time of manufacture and application does not have an expiration date.
Q) Can NFRC’s permanent labeling requirements be met by placing a permanent label beneath a stop or glazing bead?
Yes, the permanent label shall be visible from the interior after product installation, or alternatively in a consistent location as identified by the manufacture in the NFRC Certified Products Directory.

CPC Chair Roland Temple of AZS Consulting, Inc. will report these interpretations to the Board on Thursday, July 31, and the next step will be to publish them in the PCP.

Housing Market Poised for Rebound

Pent-up demand and the need for improvements in the nation’s aging housing market portend a rebound in the U.S. housing market, according to Michael Collins, vice president of the Building Products Group at Jordan, Knauff & Company.

Collins, who spoke at the NFRC Summer Membership Meeting’s Opening Session in Chicago, told attendees that numerous signs suggest that the current housing crisis may be coming to an end.

“Four million net new jobs were created over the last four years and many renters are waiting on the sidelines” for the first sign that the economy is beginning to recover, Collins said. Combine that with aging homes and high energy prices, which will drive many homeowners to remodel with higher efficiency products – including doors and windows, and Collins said the stage is set for a recovery.

Conversely, the commercial market is beginning to soften, according to Collins, though unlike the residential market it will continue to grow – just more slowly than in the last several years.

“Commercial lags residential by about 18 months, so it’s coming into a bit of softness right now,” Collins said.

Collins also addressed Building Information Modeling, or BIM, saying that the technology will change the way that U.S. window and door manufacturers do business. Most prominently, Collins said, BIM will open up U.S markets to foreign companies and put pressure on U.S. companies to adopt BIM and compete.

“If you’re a commercial product manufacturer and you ever get spec’d by an architect, you’re going to want to be in there,” Collins said.

Collins also reported that the latest Jordan, Knauff survey of window and door manufacturers showed that NFRC was the most common certification, followed by ENERGY STAR(R).

Collins can be reached by e-mail at

NFRC Honors Founders

NFRC Executive Director Jim Benney honored the organization’s founding members and participants – or those who have belonged to or participated in NFRC for at least 15 years – today at the NFRC Summer Membership Meeting.

All together, NFRC honored 35 companies and roughly 10 were present in Chicago to receive their awards.

“We want to recognize those members who have been working to fulfill NFRC’s mission from the very beginning,” Benney said.

The founding members and participants are:

Alside Window Company
Amsco Windows
Andersen Corporation
Jeld-Wen, Inc.
Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., Inc.
Marvin Windows and Doors
Mercer Industries, Inc.
Metal Window Corporation
MI Windows and Doors, Inc.
Milgard Manufacturing, Inc.
ODL, Inc.
Pella Corporation
Simonton Windows
Valley Glass Corporation
VELUX - America, Inc.

ABC Window Company, Inc.
Alenco Windows
ATI Windows
Atmos Corporation dba Merzon Industries
Atrium Companies, Inc.
Empire Pacific Windows
Fleetwood Windows & Doors
General Aluminum Company
Hurd Windows & Doors, Inc.
Hy-Lite Products
International Window Corporation
Jordan Company
Loewen Windows
Peachtree Doors and Windows
SNE Enterprises, Inc.
Tashco Industries, Inc.
Thermal Line Windows
Weather Shield Mfg., Inc.
Weathervane Windows LLC
Westview Products, Inc.
Window Logic Corporation
Windsor Windows and Doors

By The Numbers

Chicago proved to be very popular among NFRC’s members. The Summer Membership Meeting has attracted:

-- 117 attendees representing 84 different companies

-- 12 first-time attendees

-- 3 new member companies: Glen Raven, Inc., the National Glass Association, and the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association

Welcome to everyone!

And We’re Off…

NFRC’s Summer Membership Meeting got underway this morning with a series of task group meetings along two parallel tracks.

One track included task groups on CMA and the other task groups on storm windows, dynamic attachments for swinging doors, interior attachments (shades, blinds, etc.), and exterior attachments such as screens and awnings.

With so much interest in attachment ratings, an expert panel held an Attachment Forum that drew close to 50 participants. The panel, which included Jim Benney, Tom Culp, Joe Hayden, and Fred Higgins, discussed:

-- The length of the process, which is necessary to reach consensus and protect the technical integrity of the NFRC rating and certification system.

-- How to move forward on exterior attachments through consultation between the task group and the Board.

-- How to balance a "top down" v. "bottom up" approach to attachment ratings in order to make sure that interested parties benefit both from guidance from the Board of Directors and the expertise present among the NFRC membership.

Also meeting Monday morning: the CMA Labeling Task Group, the CMA Validation Task Group, the CMA Technical Task Group, and the Garage/Rolling Door Task Group.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Live From the Conrad, it's NFRC!

Welcome to our first-ever meeting blog.

In recent years, most of us have changed the way we get our news. What used to be a weekly magazine or a nightly broadcast is now at your fingertips the instant it happens. That’s why we developed this blog specifically to report the latest and greatest directly from the NFRC meeting room.

We invite you to visit often so you can read highlights of each day’s meetings as they happen, view photos and videos, receive summaries of key proceedings throughout the week, and share your thoughts on what happens in Chicago beginning Monday, July 28.

NFRC is dedicated to giving everyone a chance to keep up with the latest decisions being made during the meeting no matter where your schedule takes you. Even if you won’t be able to join us in Chicago, we’ll keep you informed every step of the way.