“Without change there is no innovation.” — William Pollard

An important industry change/innovation happened this week. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) membership approved the 401 Ventilation Rating standard for use during the Spring Committee Meeting in Alexandria, Va. This quest to standardize and promote the benefits of natural ventilation will help door and window manufacturers tell the complete story of fenestration.

The story behind this standard shows how important change happens in our industry:

• For years, window manufacturers have offered “vent area” numbers for standard sizes in traditional catalogs;

• Some states and some architects needed a minimum ventilation percentage for rooms, and the older “vent area” numbers could work for this need;

• It was common to discover that manufacturers calculate their area numbers using different rules and methods;

• As the need for green building and lower carbon impacts grew, natural ventilation was beginning to be promoted as a method to cut costs and carbon;

• At the same time, advocates for the reduction of windows and the promotion of power ventilators to save energy in buildings were gaining momentum;

• Members of NFRC realized that a standardized way to measure ventilation and to create a ventilation rating (VR) would have value to consumers;

• A task group was proposed and approved in 2012 to pursue methods for creating a rating;

• The task group held 30-plus meetings/calls to resolve sizing, methods, screens, rating protocols, and rules for fair and credible comparative ratings, and ;

• Four ballots were circulated to membership and many negatives were resolved with the final ballot approval on April 4, 2016.

This innovative standard represents the first time that NFRC has rated a window in the open position instead of just rating its resistance to thermal flow. This is a major change for the 25-year-old organization, and it gives everyone in the industry a new tool to sell the full benefits of operating doors, windows and skylights.

A preview of the ratings is shown in red on the following label example:

A special thanks to go to the dedicated members of this task group and especially to Joe Jonely of Amsco Windows, who served as vice chair and created the  background calculations. Joe also announced he was retiring this summer. Everyone at NFRC, AAMA  and Amsco will miss Joe’s great guidance, attention to detail and his leadership for the industry. Thanks, Joe!

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