Sunday, November 7, 2010

NFRC Meeting Attendees Tour LBL, Broaden Knowledge of Fenestration Testing Procedures

Jonathan Slack (left), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) scientist in the Building Technologies Department, Environmental Technologies Division and National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) meeting attendee, Gregg Vincent, Natural Light Energy Systems, discussed how LBL is working to help reduce the amount of energy lost through windows during a tour of the LBL facility on Sunday afternoon.

The tour, held one day prior to NFRC's Fall Membership Meeting in San Francisco, hosted 32 meeting attenees in all.

According to its Website, LBL is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines, including the energy efficiency of windows.

Located on a 200-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus, Sunday’s tour offered visitors some unique insight regarding the lab’s work along with some spectacular views of the sunset over the San Francisco Bay.

One of the core messages Slack delivered during the tour, is that energy losses through windows in the U.S. exceed 3.9 quadrillion BTU’s, which costs about $32 billion annually.
Slack said one thing LBL is doing to help improve this situation is testing a prototype smart window, which uses LBL’s Transition Metal Switchable Mirrors (TMSM). Such technology may be able to save 25 percent or more of this energy.

Slack added that when used as an active window coating, TMSMs can offer both improved building energy performance and a new method for daylighting control. Furthermore, dynamically controlled windows respond to changes in lighting and weather conditions in real time, controlled by either occupants or sensors monitoring ambient conditions. The result is optimal energy performance, daylighting levels, and occupant comfort.

Many of those who attended the LBL tour said Slack's presentation, along with presentations provided by several other LBL staff members, broadened their knowledge of fenestration testing procedures and added that they would like to see NFRC offer similar educational opportunities in conjunction with future meetings.

Live coverage of NFRC's Fall Membership Meeting will begin tomorrow morning. Be sure to check back frequently for updates.