Monday, November 16, 2009

Attachment Ratings: Numbers, Stars or Bars?

Prompted by feedback from the Board of Directors indicating that attachment manufacturers should consider communicating traditional numeric ratings (U-Factor, SHGC, etc.) in another form, the NFRC membership kicked off Monday morning’s Attachment Block with a spirited discussion of alternative attachment ratings.

What form those ratings would take remains unclear, but two of the options discussed included a star or bar system and an annual energy performance number.

Members raised a number of issues that need to be addressed before a path forward can be identified. NFRC Chair Joe Hayden, from Pella Corporation, pointed out that while he believes it would be advantageous to make it clear to the public that fenestration products and attachment products are rated differently, NFRC is already certifying two attachment products with numeric ratings.

“If we move to a different way of communicating attachment ratings, those manufacturers need a reasonable amount of time to shift to the new scheme,” Hayden said.

Several members said that no matter what, they always will need the numeric ratings to do business. “The film industry hasn’t been working all these years to get a ‘star,” said Lisa Winckler from Solutia, Inc. “We need real numbers.”

Ultimately, the group agreed that NFRC serves many different customers who need many different kinds of information.

“There’s a place for very simple numbers and a place for third-decimal point ratings,” said Steve Selkowitz from LBNL. “We ought to define what it is we do and what it is we don’t do and perhaps partner with other organizations to fill gaps. We don’t necessarily need to provide all the data to all the publics.”

Also during the Attachment Block, presided over by Michael Cienian from Hunter Douglas, several task groups provided reports on their efforts to develop ratings for interior/exterior attachments, awnings, door attachments, storm windows and applied film. For example, Willie DuPont from Sunergy Consulting discussed a series of residential and non-residential window and skylight and sloped glazing base case products that have gone out for ballot.

Door Task Group Discusses Standardization
At the Door Task Group meeting, held concurrently with the Attachments Block, participants discussed the NFRC door label and the possibility of standardizing simulation methods for doors. “Everybody does it a little differently, and it would be nice to be able to standardize the spreadsheet,” said Dave De Block, the task group’s vice chair.

The Door Task Group will report on its meeting at the U-Factor and Labeling subcommittees, as appropriate.

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