The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a letter to Energy Star Windows, Doors, and Skylights stakeholders this week informing them that it is opening verification testing for Energy Star Windows, Doors and Skylights to all certification bodies (CBs) that meet EPA’s requirements.

“As a reminder, windows partners have agreed to verify ongoing product qualification as part of their partner commitments through participation in third-party verification testing of products. In order to allow other CBs to provide this service for manufacturers, EPA will be modifying the partner commitments to remove the exclusive reference to the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), aligning the commitments with those for all other Energy Star products. Ultimately, this change will provide manufacturers with greater flexibility in fulfilling their partner commitments for verification testing,” according to the EPA notice.

Jim Benney, NFRC chief executive officer, clarifies to DWM magazine that he met with EPA representatives on February 7th and at that time was given a letter saying they no longer had exclusive rights.

“We were the only certification body in any of the Energy Star programs that had exclusive rights,” he says. “Although we were given exclusivity in 2010 their general counsel determined it wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Benney points out however that even if a company opts to go through another certification body, NFRC certification and labeling is still required for all fenestration manufacturers who wish to participate in the Energy Star Program.

Benney says the EPA notice has prompted many questions from door and window manufacturers.

“Manufacturers are calling us and asking what it means,” says Benney. “Other approved Certification Bodies can offer verification testing, though I don’t see the advantages … Obviously companies would have to go through steps to become EPA approved.”

Manufacturers aren’t the only ones who have questions.

Jon Hill, president, Keystone Certifications Inc., based in Etters, Pa., reiterates that “It is a little confusing to everyone.”

“This isn’t going to happen overnight,” says Hill. “I would be surprised if anyone can get set up to do it this year. There are a lot of question marks.”

“It can cause some confusion,” adds Benney. “Because it is incredibly important for the industry to have one way to test and report for product performance. If another body is approved they need to make sure they meet the stringent requirements we have established … How is EPA going to assure everything is the same? That is very important.”


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