Monday, July 20, 2009

Regulatory Affairs and Marketing Meeting Provides Wealth of Information

The Regulatory Affairs and Marketing Committee (RAM) provided a broad scope of information during its two-hour-long session this afternoon.

Building Codes

RAM Chair Garrett Stone spoke about the strong impact building codes have on the fenestration industry.

Stone said this is because states and local jurisdictions adopt them to meet minimum standards and added that the Federal government is now evaluating energy codes and their role since energy efficiency has become an important issue in our society, especially over the past several months.

Accordingly, Stone predicted the proliferation of energy-efficient windows in all the climate zones of the U.S.

Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC)

John Carmody, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota, reported that EWC’s membership has climbed to over 90.

Carmody says EWC provides everything from basic research to market transformation tools. Between 25,000 and 40,000 people per month visit the EWC Web site. One of the unique tools EWC offers is its “Window Selection Tool.” This provides specific information on the energy efficiency properties of windows, doors, and skylights according to state.

Department of Energy (DOE)

Alice Dasek, who works with fenestration products on behalf of ENERGY STAR, spoke about the revised criteria that residential fenestration products will need to meet to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. The revised criteria is designed to save approximately nine trillion BTU of energy compared to the current ENERGY STAR criteria for residential windows, doors, and skylights.

Furthermore, the new criteria are also designed to improve payback periods for purchases of efficient fenestration products and encourage more technology options. The revised criteria will be phased in and is slated to be completed by March 2010.
As part of this change, ENERGY STAR windows, doors, and skylights partners will need to submit "re-qualification" paperwork.

International Efforts

Ray McGowan, NFRC’s technical services manager, spoke about the organization’s international efforts. He pointed out that Bipin Shah has travelled to Jordan, India, China, and South Africa to evaluate opportunities. Although Shah sees potential with regard to the whole building envelope, he is focusing on windows and intends to help create an infrastructure in these countries and hopefully others. NFRC’s Executive Director, Jim Benney, recently travelled to Finland to create awareness of NFRC activities and programs.


Leonard Greenberger, Partner with Potomac Communications Group (PCG) and member of NFRC's communications and marketing team discussed the organization's communications and promotional initiatives.

Greenberger pointed out that the communications and marketing team has worked together to improve NFRC's brand recognition and reinforced its reputation as an industry expert by updating existing fact sheets to address changes in the external environment and creating new fact sheets to address emerging issues.

The communications and marketing team has also undertaken an initiative to reinstate its Retailer Program, whereby retailers provide information (via "tear sheets") on the energy efficiency of windows at the point of purchase. The advantage to this program is that it helps retailers sell more products, and it provides NFRC with additional recognition.

Finally, members of NFRC's communications team worked together closely to create a new exhibit booth that features a video monitor, which plays an endless loop DVD that provides an overview of NFRC’s mission and vision.

CMA Update

John Lewis, senior manager of business and outreach for NFRC, provided a progress report on the Component Modeling Approach (CMA).

Two of the key improvements CMA offers over the Site Built Program are that 1.) Approved components do not require re-certification, and 2.) A single label certificate per project takes the place of multiple certificates.

Beta testing of CMA is complete, and release of CMAST V 1.0.00 took place on July 6, 2009. Testing and evaluation continues as technical details are fine tuned. Several organizations have volunteered to take part of the pilot program, and the Heschong-Mahone Group in California will provide promotional efforts mainly in California. Ongoing promotional efforts, however, will seek to expand the CMA program beyond California.

Shannon Provides Legislative Update

Melissa Shannon, legislative affairs coordinator to NFRC, spoke about the value of the government’s formation of the Green Building Caucus. Shannon called the caucus an ideal platform to address issues regarding energy efficiency.

Shannon also spoke about the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which was passed on June 26, 2009. The ACES contains two especially important key energy efficiency provisions. One establishes a national energy efficiency building code for residential and commercial buildings. Another facilitates retrofitting initiatives throughout the country to achieve maximum cost effective energy efficiency improvements.

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