Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NFRC Chair Reflects on Virtual Meeting

By NFRC Chairman, Steve Strawn

Throughout the July virtual meeting, I observed the number of people voting and soon realized I was witnessing an attentive and highly engaged audience in action.

This level of engagement reminded me just how progressive NFRC really is as an organization.

On completing our second virtual meeting, it appears that we have fully embraced the technology that enables us to communicate across time zones and geographic borders. Furthermore, we’ve shown we can achieve an effective level of synergy in a virtual environment.

Both of these remarkable accomplishments help us advance our mission, articulate our vision, and garner even broader support for our initiatives as we work together to develop new rating programs and maintain our existing documents, making them more meaningful for the public.

One of the key challenges NFRC continues to face is communicating its concerns clearly so others can relate to our position, connect to our underlying values, and commit to supporting our initiatives.

This meeting convinced me we understand our strategic objectives and appreciate the members’ needs to the point where we can make strides toward our goals whether we are gathered together in the same room or spread across the globe.

Given the resounding success of our second virtual meeting and the overwhelming support it has received, I envision NFRC carrying this format into 2012 and beyond.

Thank you to everyone who participated, and I look forward to seeing all of you in Atlanta for the Fall 2011 meeting (in person!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

BOD Approves Ten Action Items as Virtual Meeting Closes

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Virtual Committee Week Meeting drew to a close this morning with the BOD approving 10 action items.

Research and Technology Committee
During the Research and Technology Committee’s report to the BOD, the Research Subcommittee presented four action items, and all of them were approved.

A motion to extend the Window 6-Therm 6 Validation Research Project completion deadline until the fall 2011 membership meeting was approved 12-0-0.

A motion to extend the CMA CR Research Project completion deadline until the fall 2011 membership meeting was also approved 12-0-0.

Additionally, a motion to approve the Carli bid on the CMA Improved Algorithm Research Project was approved 12-0-0.

Finally, a motion to approve the Complex Fenestration VT Rating Research RFP was approved 12-0-0.

Technical Committee

The Technical Committee also presented four action items to the BOD, with all of them being approved. Two came from the U-factor Subcommittee, and two came from the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) Subcommittee.

U-Factor Subcommittee

A motion to approve the NFRC 100 Dynamic Glazing Ballot with implementation upon publication was approved 12-0-0.   

A motion to approve the NFRC 100 Product Grouping Ballot and NFRC 100 Sightline Ballot along with suggested editorial edits and alignment between the ballots with implementation upon publication was approved 12-0-0.

Solar Heat Gain Subcommittee

A motion to approve the NFRC 200 Section 4.5 and 4.7 Ballot with implementation upon publication was approved 12-0-0.

A motion to approve the NFRC 200 Sightline Ballot with implementation upon publication was approved 11-0-0.

Ratings Committee

During the Ratings Committee report to the BOD, two action items were approved.

NFRC 700 Certification Subcommittee

A motion approve the NFRC 700 Full CPD Number Ballot for approval with editorial changes included with implementation upon publication was approved 12-0-0.

NFRC 705 Certification Subcommittee

A motion to approve the NFRC 705 CMA Label Certificate for approval with editorial changes with implementation upon publication was approved 12-0-0.

Please fee free to provide your comments.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ratings Committee Closes Second Day of NFRC's Virtual Meeting

Chair Steve Johnson guided the proceedings during the Ratings Committee block late this afternoon as various subcommittees moved several ballots forward.

NFRC 700 Subcommittee (PCP)

This Subcommittee moved to approve the NFRC 700 full CPD Number Ballot to the Board with editorial changes and implementation upon publication, mandatory July 1, 2012.

One of the key aspects of this ballot involves proposed modifications to Appendix A and its labels is to include the Full CPD Number on temporary labels, providing traceability.

The motion passed 38-1.

You can read the full ballot and comments here

NFRC 705 Subcommittee (CMA)

This Subcommittee moved to approve the Label Certificate Ballot with editorial changes forward to the Board with implementation upon publication.

This ballot addresses various requests to make the Label Certificate more useful and easier to read. The CMA Labeling TG has developed a new version of the label certificate.

You can read the full ballot and comments here.

The motion passed, 33-1.

NFRC 712 Subcommittee (Attachments)

A move to approve NFRC 712 Section 1 and 2 and Section 7 Ballots with editorial changes and to remain at the committee level for full document development passed, 35-0

This ballot concerns the how the use of specific language within the documents impacts the overall meaning of the documents.

You can read the full ballot and comments here

Straw Poll Reveals Industry Preferences for Attachments Label

As the Attachments Certification Subcommittee began its discussions this afternoon, Chuck Anderson presented the results of a Straw Poll that indicated industry preferences regarding the attachments label.

One of the questions asked in the Straw Poll asked which kind of label the industry prefers. 78.6 percent said they want to see the actual values while about 50 percent said they are looking for the maximum amount of information. Only 21.4 percent said they would prefer the use of an iconic label.

A second question asked what information should be provided on the attachments label. More than 90 percent said Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, 85% said Visible Transmittance, and 78 percent said they wanted to see a Website link. 71 percent said they wanted to see the U-factor while only about 20 percent wanted to see the R-value.

Finally, the Straw Poll asked how important it is for the label to communicate code compliance. About 25 percent rated this "very important", and 35 percent rated it as "pretty important."

The discussion regarding the development of an attachments label will continue throughout the afternoon.

Please feel free to provide your comments.

Daylighting Subcommittee Creates Scope Statement, U-factor, SHGC Subcommittees Move Ballots Forward

Jeff Baker just led the full Technical Committee meeting as the Daylighting Subcommittee created its initial scope statement, and the U-factor and SHGC Subcommittees moved ballots forward.

Daylighting Subcommittee

The Daylighting Subcommittee created its initial scope statement during this morning’s proceedings.

The statement reads as follows, “To create a rating system for daylighting potential utilizing the existing NFRC VT rating combined with known, bright day incident illuminance values.”

While some members expressed concern over the precise wording of the statement, they ultimately agreed that the language would suffice for the time being and could be revised during the fall 2011 meeting if needed.

A motion to approve the scope statement passed, 40-2

U-factor Subcommittee

This subcommittee moved two ballots forward.

First, a motion to approve the NFRC 100 Dynamic Glazing Ballot and forward it to the Board for approval and implementation upon publication passed, 43-0.

Second, the Technical Committee addressed a motion to approve the NFRC 100 Product Grouping Ballot and the NFRC 100 Sightline Ballot along with the suggested editorial changes and alignment between the ballots.

The motion to forward the ballot to the Board for approval and implementation upon publication passed, 43-0.

Solar Heat Gain Subcommittee

The SHGC Subcommittee also moved two ballots forward.

A motion to forward the NFRC 200 Section 4.5 and 4.7 ballots to the Board for approval and implementation upon publication passed, 43-0.

Additionally, a motion to forward the NFRC 200 Sightline Ballot to the Board for approval and implementation upon publication passed, 45-0.

Monday, July 18, 2011

U-Factor Subcommittee Closes First Day of NFRC's Virtual Meeting by Tackling Five Ballots

Led by Mike Thoman, the U-factor Subcommittee took action on five ballots late this afternoon.

NFRC 100 Product Grouping Ballot

This ballot is a revision to the NFRC 100, Section 4.2.4 and

Section 4.2.4 identifies the possible product groupings and determination of the Group Leaders via a hierarchy.  Section is currently the grouping determination for Center-of-Glass (COG). This ballot proposes a change to the hierarchy that determines the grouping.

Currently frame groupings are done after all other groupings, which may result in simulating total products for multiple frame options when grouping spacer systems. The results of these different simulations will be different but the relationship between spacer systems will not change.

To simplify this process, the ballot changes the hierarchy so frame grouping takes place before spacer system grouping.

The ballot sets forth language to establish a hierarchy of spacer options to use when conducting the frame grouping process. The intent is to reduce the number of simulations required to establish the relationship of multiple frame options.

A motion to accept the ballot with editorial changes and implement it upon publication was approved, 33-0.

NFRC 100 Sightline Ballot

In this ballot, the Sightline Tolerance TG seeks to simplify a procedure for rating products with multiple sightline dimension options within a product line.

In part, this ballot will add a new section that allows manufacturers to establish sightline U-factor groups for products with sightline differences due to frame/sash base profile variations.The group leader is the individual product in the group with the highest total product U-factor.

Following a motion to implement an editorial change, the motion passed 33-0.

NFRC 100 Dynamic Glazings Ballot

This ballot concerned the definition of the term “Dynamic Glazing Product.”

As it is currently written, term is defined as follows:

“Any fenestration product that has the fully reversible ability to change its performance properties, including U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), or visible transmittance (VT). This includes (but is not limited to) shading systems between the glazing layers and electronic or electrochemical switchable glass coatings or construction.”

One of the group’s concerns is that it is not clear what the result would be if test reports and ratings were submitted for certification for any dynamic glazing product that does not exactly fit the explicitly included types in the definition.

This ballot was developed to clarify what features define certifiable dynamic glazing products, to give guidance to laboratories and IA’s when presented with other types. 

One comment regarding this ballot is that some of the language may need to be revised once Window 6 – Therm 6 is approved. 

A motion to move the ballot forward to Technical to be implemented upon publication was approved, 29-1.

NFRC 100 Entrance Door Ballot

Multiple Technical Interpretation Requests (TIRs) gave rise to this ballot, which concerns the handling of default frames and sills for steel and aluminum doors, typically not installed in residential homes. 

Upon review of the TIRs on TIPC determined that TI Requests 2011-10 "Steel Swinging Door Slab" and 2011-11 "Aluminum Swinging Door Slab" were introducing new language and would need to be incorporated into the NFRC 100 and balloted for membership approval. 

One concern was to remove the steel door maximum skin thickness (< 0.8mm) requirement. The reasoning here is that there are steel doors with skin thickness greater 0.8 mm used in residential applications.

Accordingly, the concern is that NFRC 100 must not prevent steel doors with skin thickness greater than 0.8 mm from being modeled with the default wood frame and wood/aluminum sill.
A motion to return the ballot to task group for further work passed, 32-1.

NFRC 100 Skylight Appendix A.3

The proposed new Appendix A.3 is patterned after the existing Appendix A.2. It addresses an emerging need by specifiers for project-specific skylight U-factor ratings similar to those available for non-standard window sizes, as described in A.2.

As building codes continue to reduce maximum allowed U-factors for all fenestration products, it is important to allow for non-certified ratings to be made available for skylights at actual installed slopes. 

The skylight U-factor at slopes approaching vertical is typically 20 percent to 30 percent less than that yielded at the standard 20-degrees-above-horizontal slope. This can be critical for code compliance on many projects. It also provides HVAC designers with more accurate data for the building envelope heat loss estimates. In turn, this results in better efficiency levels inherent in selecting right-sized mechanical systems.

One concern is that the ballot does not provide the technical methodology for the simulator to perform the simulations at non-standard slopes. Boundary conditions are only present the THERM for 20 degree.

Therefore, a motion to move this ballot back to the task group was approved, 30-1.

New R&T Chair DeBlock Leads Discussion, Announces Winckler as Vice Chair

The Research and Technology (R&T) Committee, led by new Chair, Dave DeBlock, convened this afternoon, approving three motions brought forth by the Research Subcommittee.

DeBlock also announced that Lisa Winckler will serve as the R&T Committee's Vice Chair.

Motions Moving Forward

First, a combined motion to extend the Window 6 – Therm 6 Validation Rating Research Project and to extend the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) Condensation Resistance Research completion deadline until the Fall 2011 membership meeting was approved, 42-1.

Second, a motion to approve a bid for Carli, Inc. to proceed with the CMA Improved Algorithm Research Project was approved, 34-8, and will go to the Board for final approval.

Additionally, a motion to approve the Complex Fenestration Rating RFP with APC integrated, moving it to the Board for final approval passed, 39-2.

Feel free to provide your comments.

Vinograd, McCluney Request Input on TGRF

Yossi Vinograd and Ross McCluney just called on NFRC members to provide their input on the Task Group Request Form issued earlier this month by the Translucent Panel Visible Transmittance (VT) Task Group (TG).

The TGRF concerns the development of a ballot aimed at improving NFRC’s ratings for certified translucent products – specifically flat translucent daylighting panels.

The central issue here is whether information found in NFRC’s Certified Products Directory (CPD) may be misinterpreted.

Currently, users find the value, “-1” under the VT column. The TG is concerned that users may interpret this as a dash followed by the value, “1,” which according to some can indicate a 100 percent VT value, which is unachievable.

The Translucent Panel Visible Transmittance (VT) Task Group is utilizing the TGRF process to obtain input on the NFRC 202 VT Test Procedure. They will propose a ballot later this fall that provides a method for measuring the VT for translucent glazing, which is based on existing translucent VT measurements established by ASTM International standards.

These standards are known as ASTM E 972 and ASTM E1084. They would allow NFRC to physically test panels that currently cannot be measured using existing NFRC methods. The ASTM standards have been recognized by translucent product manufacturers for many years.

While the TG recognizes this step may not represent a final solution, they believe it represents progress.

The TGRF is available here.

Please feel free to provide your comments.

Closure on Window 6 - Therm 6 Extended, CMA Refinements Pending

The Research Subcommittee began NFRC's Virtual Committee Week Meeting this morning, reporting on a number of issues.

One of those issues was the status of the Window 6 – Therm 6 Validation Research Project.

A recent Webinar held to discuss the results of the project revealed the need for further refinements, and these refinements are still under review.

Members can view the updated version of the presentation here.

It is estimated that one more meeting cycle is needed to bring the Window 6 - Therm 6 Validation Research Project to closure, and a motion to extend finalization until the fall 2011 conference was approved 42 -1.

Bid to Improve CMA Methodology Approved

A second issue under discussion during this morning's proceedings was a bid from Carli, Inc. to refine the CMA algorithms.

The purpose of this initiative is to further improve the accuracy of CMA as it is being applied to more advanced fenestration products.  

The bid, which proposes a nine-month-long project at a cost of approximately $58,000 was approved, 36-6.

Feel free to provide your comments.

Virtual Committee Week Meeting Underway

The National Fenestration Rating Council's (NFRC) Virtual Committee Week Meeting began at 10:00 a.m., and the Research Subcommittee is set to begin discussions.

Be sure to check back frequently to learn what's happening with the issues that may influence the way you run your business.

Feel free to provide your comments if you like.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DeBlock Brings Knowledge, Vision as Research and Technology Committee Chair

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is pleased to announce that Dave DeBlock will serve as Chair of the Research and Technology (R&T) Committee.

DeBlock will lead the committee’s work as it develops and maintains the technical data used to support the NFRC rating procedures. The R&T Committee is responsible for optical properties, technical research, thermo-physical properties, and long-term energy performance research.

With 18 years involvement in NFRC, DeBlock brings a wide range of knowledge and vision to the Chair position.

He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and also served on NFRC’s Tubular Daylighting Devices Task Group where he assisted in developing standards and procedures for nearly 10 years.

DeBlock also volunteered as Vice Chair of the Door Task Group for four years and most recently served as Vice Chair of the Research and Technology Committee under recently-retired Chair Werner Lichtenberger.

“I was motivated to seek the R&T Chair position by my desire to take ownership of the progress in designing the most energy efficient fenestration products possible,” DeBlock said. “Given my skills and background, I am uniquely qualified to help make that happen.

An Eye on the Future

DeBlock says that throughout his many years of involvement with NFRC he has always kept a keen eye on what scientists have been doing with fenestration solutions and energy performance. Accordingly, one of his primary goals as R&T Chair is to keep knowledgeable and progressive scientists coming to NFRC’s meetings so the flow of new ideas will continue to increase.

“We’ve got some great minds that are willing to work with the fenestration industry, and we need to capitalize on that,” DeBlock concluded. “By conducting the right kind of research, we can assure our ratings are reliable and repeatable, and that will make all of us more successful."

CEO Welcomes DeBlock’s Perspective

NFRC’s CEO, Jim Benney, said having DeBlock assume the R&T Chair position is the next logical step for someone who has contributed many years of hard work and dedication to the organization’s mission.

“We’ve all been fortunate to benefit from Dave’s specialized knowledge, diverse talents, and persistent ambition,” Benney said. “It’s great to see him step into a leadership position where his insight can help further develop the R&T committee’s focus and objectives while contributing to NFRC’s strategic objectives.”

Please contact NFRC's Communications and Marketing Manager, Tom Herron, with any questions.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

College Dorm Looks to High-Peformance Windows to Help Exceed Building Codes

A green dormitory known as the Terrahaus, which is located on the Unity College campus in Unity, Maine, is expected to emerge as the most energy efficient building of its kind in the country, due in part to the installation of high-performance windows.

Construction on the Terrahaus will completed in August 2011, and the building will play home to ten students when school resumes in the fall. Terrahouse is expected to use 90 percent less energy for space heating than a normal code compliant building in Maine.

School officials hope similar projects will catch on with other campuses across the country. The school also plans to build two more similar dorms in the future.

View the video on Terrahaus here