Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Consumers Want Energy Codes Enforced, Seek Awareness

Students at Bentley University collaborated with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute and Consumers Union to poll the general public about the importance of energy codes. Of the 142 respondents, 90 percent agreed or strongly agreed with the three following assertions:
  • Disclosure of a home’s energy usage would enable them to make an informed decision about a new home purchase.
  • Homebuilders should make more efficient homes to benefit consumers.
  • Energy codes should be enforced like other safety and quality standards of construction.
Based on the results, study authors hope those involved in the construction industry will take notice and recognize that energy efficiency is a growing trend in the U.S. The authors further concluded that the average consumer demands a more energy efficient home, but making more informed decisions requires consumers to have access to additional resources. They point out that nationally coordinated education and training programs are essential components of reducing market barriers.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) offers several AIA-accredited continuing education courses to raise awareness about the importance of building energy codes. These courses help participants understand NFRC's placement in ASHRAE and IECC codes and learn how to use the NFRC label to meet or exceed building energy codes.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Research Subcommittee Get Things Done Virtually

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Research Subcommittee met virtually yesterday during a special session that included over 35 members discussing and voting on two summary pages as well as other pending business.  Attendees took advantage of the virtual environment to elicit important feedback on projects in various areas of the fenestration energy industry.

Items Discussed

The Improved Validation for Surface 4 Low-e Products summary page will be reconsidered by the Test Lab Test Group. The Research Subcommittee advised the task group to consider mathematical methods and to further review other recent NFRC test ILCs before beginning to test products for better validation.

Additionally, the Research Subcommittee returned the Artificial Light Source Summary page, citing the lack of current need for this method and encouraging industry to pursue building such a device prior to NFRC funding research.

Finally, the Research Subcommittee agreed with a recommendation from the Complex Fenestration VT Rating RFP Bid Review Task Group not to accept a bid from the University of California at Davis (UCD). This recommendation resulted from UCD’s desire to share the intellectual property rather than turn over full rights to NFRC as required. The RFP may be altered and reissued in the future.


“One of NFRC’s goals in creating this special virtual session was to keep the development of our ratings moving forward,” said NFRC’s Meetings Manager, Cheryl Gendron. “The virtual format provides a venue for getting things done while providing cost advantages to everyone who participated.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

California Becomes First State in Nation to Add Window Film Into Building Code

The California Energy Commission recently placed window film into its state building code -- the first move of its kind in the United States.

The milestone decision, resulting from a May 31 vote, becomes effective January 2014, according to the International Window Film Association (IWFA).

Following the decision, window film is recognized across California primarily for retrofit applications. The polymer material has the ability to reduce energy consumption, glare, UV exposure, and fading. 

The executive director of the IWFA called the addition of window film to the code a major step forward for energy efficiency in California and said the change will further the state's reputation as an environmental leader.

Among the items the new building code for window film requires is a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) certification label.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CEC Approves Standards for More Efficient Buildings in California

The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently approved energy efficiency standards for homes and commercial buildings, a move it sees reducing costs and improving comfort. 

California’s Energy Commissioner praised the new standards, saying they will save energy for decades.

The 2013 Building Energy Standards, which take effect on January 1, 2014, are 25 percent more efficient than previous standards for residential construction and 30 percent more efficient for nonresidential construction.

Two improved measures impact the fenestration industry. First, more efficient windows will allow increased sunlight while decreasing heat gain in residences. Second, high performance windows, sensors, and controls will maximize daylighting in nonresidential buildings.