On January 5, DWM published an article to introduce Window Technology Pathways, a white paper from the EPA and D+R International that outlines a new proposed methodology for analyzing window thermal performance. The call to action was for fenestration stakeholders to provide feedback. While the deadline to submit comments was February 3, it’s still worth a thorough review if you haven’t reviewed it all already. (View full white paper.)

In summary, the paper lays out an approach to grouping components from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Certified Product Directory (CPD) and bracketing the range of performance for different combinations of operator type, frame material, spacer system, glass configuration and gas fill. Goals of this initiative include finding low-cost technological pathways to achieving better performance levels.

Pathways were assembled using the following process (excerpt from page 2 of the white paper):

  1. In December 2015, EPA requested from NFRC a copy of the CPD data for all Energy Star product lines (product lines identified as having Energy Star-certified options as part of the IVP program).
  2. EPA analyzed the data to identify similarities among different operator types, frame materials, glass configurations, spacer systems, and gas fills. EPA grouped some variables based on descriptive characteristics and combined other variables based on analysis of performance similarities.
  3. Using data queries, EPA assigned each window option in the database to a pathway. EPA also assigned each option to performance bins for U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).
  4. Finally, EPA used Microsoft Excel’s Power Pivot function to count the number of distinct options at each performance level for each pathway, as well as the numbers of distinct product lines and manufacturers that contain an option at each performance level for each pathway.

It’s worth nothing that, to protect individual companies, no manufacturer names or component brands are included in the information. And in some cases, glass and spacer types are combined within ranges.

What this means to window manufacturers.

You might ask, how will this help me? In short, knowledge is power.

First, the raw data from the D+R International spreadsheet will enable you to select combinations that match your products, and you can see where you stand against the best and worst for that combination. This could be very helpful if you are trying to improve U-factor results for a particular system.

Second, if you are developing a new product, you could potentially save the time and expense testing different configurations if you have a general idea of how different combinations will perform. You can also look for the lowest-cost combinations to hit your targets.

The View from Here

The Window Technology Pathways white paper has been out for several weeks, so you may have already seen some comments in DWM or gone on to read it for yourself. Best-case scenario — you were able to provide comments before the deadline.

If this is the first you are hearing of it, The View from Here – and my usual motto – is that it’s important to be well informed and know where you stand against competitors so you can make the best possible business decisions.

What’s your View? Email me directly at Eric.Jackson@quanex.com.

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