The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is getting close to launching the Independent Verification Program (IVP), which means that beginning in 2013, all fenestration products listed in the Certified Products Directory (CDP) will be subject to what I refer to as a Real World Evaluation.

Real World Evaluation means the NRFC will go out into the marketplace and purchase samples of fenestration products that are listed in the NFRC’s CDP just as a consumer would do so. The EPA is requiring that the NFRC needs to test 10 percent of the products that are listed in the CDP, so a manufacturer’s chances of getting at least a few of its certified products tested are fairly good.

How will the products to be evaluated be selected? Well the NFRC will use a selection algorithm. But the EPA may also nominate products based upon feedback from third party sources such as consumers, consumer groups or regulatory agencies. This means if somebody out there thinks you are making a bogus product, they can call the EPA and nominate your product for verification!

This program throws a whole new meaning into what it will mean to build an NFRC certified product. Remember in school how we feared the pop quiz? Sure, if the teacher told us that there was going to be a quiz next Tuesday, we could prepare for it. Monday night, or in my case Tuesday morning, we would be cramming all of the facts into our brains on whatever topics we were discussing in class. I always did well on those tests.

But what I really feared was the pop quiz! One never knew when it was coming and it could include anything we talked about since the beginning of the semester. It really was a true test of our proficiency that we were acquiring on a day to day basis….a Real World Evaluation! It was also much harder to maintain high scores on the pop quizzes. It really was a great way for the professor to lower the average student grade if he so desired.

And so will be that case with the IVP. NFRC Certification status will take on a whole new meaning in 2013. It will no longer mean that manufacturers are merely capable of building products that meet certain U-Value requirements. It will now mean that they are doing so on a daily basis, given all of variances that arise due to daily production requirements, material storage & handling problems, people issues, equipment maintenance issues, and most of all quality assurance issues that arise on a daily basis.

Just as my class professor used the pop quiz to lower the average class grade, the NFRC will use the IVP to reduce the number of fenestration products on the CDP and/or raise the U-Values that manufacturers are able to achieve on the CDP.

Combined with more stringent or lower U-Value requirements that are soon to be outlined by the EPA for the Energy Star Program, we will soon see the number of Energy Star qualified products drop significantly. This will be bad for some manufacturers but great for the consumer as the value of an Energy Star qualified product will increase.

Welcome to the NFRC’s Pop Quiz!

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