Monday, November 8, 2010

NFRC CEO Expresses Support for Blind Product Rating Verification Pilot Program

Benney explains blind product rating verification pilot program
NFRC’s CEO, Jim Benney, explained during today’s opening session that NFRC is one of the first organizations to date to become a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Recognized Certification Body for the ENERGY STAR® Program.

Effective January 1, 2011, ENERGY STAR will require any product seeking program participation to have its energy performance validated by a third-party certification body prior to product labeling.

These products must also undergo post-market verification testing to validate continuing energy performance.

Benney pointed out that in accordance with this program, NFRC is developing a blind product rating verification pilot program. This program is important because it verifies that ENERGY STAR qualified and NFRC rated fenestration products sold in the marketplace are consistent with the products listed in the NFRC Certified Products Directory (CPD).

Benney emphasized his strong support for the blind product rating verification pilot program, saying it ultimately benefits the public. The program is slated to be implemented between the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012.

Under the blind product rating verification pilot program, individual fenestration products would be purchased annually by NFRC. The actual percentage of products NFRC would purchase would fluctuate as determined appropriate by NFRC and the EPA.

Such purchases would be conducted with no involvement from the manufacturer and would be facilitated by purchasing through a variety of agents or contractors, purchasing through the customers of a manufacturer, and/or by purchasing directly from a distributor or retailer.

Benney closed his presentation by acknowledging that the program faces certain challenges and also reaffirming NFRC's commitment to meeting those challenges. Benney also told the audience that NFRC staff would keep them well informed of developments as they arise.

Windows May Have a Future in PGE's Sustainable Electric System Initiative

Larson speaks about PGE's sustainable electric system
The Opening Session got underway with Duane Larson, Director, Mass Market Energy Solutions and Service Integrated Demand-side Management, for Pacific Gas & Electric (PGE) delivering the keynote speech.

Larson began his presentation by pointing out that Newsweek magazine ranked PGE the greenest utility in the U.S. in 2009. Accordingly, his presentation was entitled, “Enabling a Sustainable Electric System.”

Larson emphasized the need for PGE to promote renewable energy. In promoting this initiative, the company has undertaken an initiative to educate the public regarding energy use management. PGE seeks to provide this education by understanding its customers on a personal level so it can provide them with customized advice on how to save energy.

“It’s all about working together so we can help create an integrated management system inside the customer’s home,” Larson said. “This helps us become partners with our customers, and it puts PGE in a great position to deliver solutions for managing costs.”

During the question and answer session, Marc LaFrance (DOE) asked Larson how he sees windows fitting into PGE’s future.

Larson responded, saying that utility providers across California are always open to considering new technologies and implementing incentives depending on the potential gains.

Hanlon Discusses Survey Results During PCP TG Meeting

During this morning’s Product Certification Program (PCP) Review Task Group Meeting, NFRC’s Director of Existing Programs, Scott Hanlon, presented the results of a survey that solicited concerns on placing the full Certified Product Directory (CPD) number on the temporary label.

The inclusion of the full number on the label was approved by NFRC’s Board of Directors (BOD) during spring 2010 and slated for implementation by January 2012. The survey was conducted to determine specifically what potential obstacles were foreseen.

Hanlon reported that implementation emerged as the primary concern. Many respondents indicated they were unsure whether they could readily gain access to needed information, update appropriate databases, and complete required software modifications. These respondents also said the time and cost associated with resolving these issues would be burdensome.

Other respondents indicated they feared such a change would increase the likelihood of mislabeling while adding complexity to the labeling process.

NFRC Chair, Joe Hayden, said the ultimate goal of this initiative should be to enable NFRC customers of every description to be able to simply remove the label from a product, enter it into their computer, and have just one product show up in NFRC’s CPD.

Hanlon plans to convey the results of the survey to the Certification Policy Committee (CPC) and to NFRC’s BOD for review. In the meantime, however, the initiative will move forward, and barring any intervention, will not be revised.

Garage Door SHGC TG Discusses NFRC 200/201

The Garage Door Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) Task Group met this morning and discussed the NFRC 200 and 201.

This working Task Group is charged with drafting a revised method of calculating garage door SHGC for inclusion in NFRC 200 based on the absorptance of the non-glazed areas. A new default absorptance will be evaluated and checked against NFRC 201 for accuracy. The group’s work is subject to review as necessary by NFRC’s SHGC Subcommittee.

Chair, Joe Hetzel, (DASMA), reported that a change to NFRC 200 following this summer’s virtual meeting removes the requirement for a specific panel size for garage doors, rather than being descriptive, and allows the manufacturer to make this determination.

Hetzel also discussed DASMA’s research on testing to NFRC 201. Several members expressed concern about calculating the SHGC of garage doors with just 20 – 25 percent glazing.

In certain cases, the SHGC was found to be 0.09. Testing conducted per NFRC 201, however, validates the calculation methods in NFRC 200.

Garage/Rolling Door U-factor Task Group Discusses Vertical Jamb Hardware

The Garage/Rolling Door U-factor Task Group convened this morning and discussed a DASMA research project that involved the evaluation of rolling steel door vertical jamb hardware.

This Task Group evaluates all known existing testing and simulation methods including available data or conclusions from use of such methods, to determine practicality of simulation, and to draft recommended provisions – including multiple testing and/or simulation methods if feasible – for review by the NFRC U-Factor Subcommittee.

Chair, Joe Hetzel, explained that the DASMA project considered whether vertical jamb hardware needed to be mounted in order to achieve accurate test results on rolling steel doors. It also sought to determine whether they play enough of a role to influence results.

Hetzel said test results improved slightly when the hardware is removed and added that it is appropriate to suggest removing the hardware for simulation in NFRC ratings.

NFRC Fall Membership Meeting Kicks off with New Member Orientation

NFRC's CEO, Jim Benney, addresses new members
The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Fall Membership Meeting got underway at 7:00 a.m. today with a new member orientation.

The orientation started with NFRC’s CEO, Jim Benney, addressing the 34 new members saying, “NFRC is important because energy is important.” Benney also explained to the group that there are many complex issues involved with energy, and as NFRC members, they can help make a difference in the world.

NFRC’s Director of Existing Programs, Scott Hanlon, followed Benney’s opening address by explaining NFRC’s committee structure. Hanlon described how the majority of work done by NFRC members takes place in its Committee Structure through Task Groups, Subcommittees, and Committees. Hanlon emphasized that NFRC develops its standards and program documents in accordance with consensus procedures and encouraged all of the new members to get involved and stay active.

NFRC’s Membership Manager, Anita Marsh, echoed Hanlon’s comments, pointing out that one of the most valuable aspects of NFRC membership is that it provides a voice and a vote. Marsh said other membership benefits include access to inside information, networking opportunities, and the chance to build consumer trust in the marketplace.

“Our members lead change, and making the most of your membership helps NFRC serve the public good,” Marsh concluded. “The transformation of our industry starts with you.”