Despite 2021 being a year of online meetings and missed connections with colleagues in person, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) succeeded in laying the groundwork for new and improved programs, engaged members, and increased dialogue within the industry. As plans develop for more in-person meetings, as well as continued online meetings, now is a great time to get involved with NFRC with these opportunities.

LEAFF Methodology Pilot Program Launch – After years of research, planning, testing, and drafting, the Linear Energy Analysis for Fenestration (LEAFF) methodology and the new Condensation Index rating, the pilot implementation is expected to begin in the summer of 2022. The LEAFF procedure has the potential to simplify the residential simulation procedures and reduce the time and cost to prepare the performance data manufacturers need. This also streamlines the effort to produce the thermal performance data for changes to products such as new frame design, adding low-e glass types, and new spacer systems. The LEAFF methodology allows NFRC to assist manufacturers as they incorporate and implement innovations into their products.

Information on the Condensation Index rating, how it is an improvement over condensation resistance, and how other organizations with condensation ratings are collaborating can be found here.

New and Improved Commercial Product Certification Program Closer – At the Fall Membership Virtual Meeting in October, members approved much of the document that will govern the new commercial program. The NFRC 715: Commercial Energy Performance Certification Program: Products and Projects, which is not yet published, still needs to be refined by the committee, and there will be additional ballots prior to implementation. While still being developed, manufacturers of components for the commercial fenestration market are invited to join NFRC to learn more about our program and how it will work with their products.

NFRC also co-sponsored a research report on “Commercial Building Fenestration Market Study,” which was presented at the meeting. The data analysis to determine the potential energy savings of using efficient commercial windows on a nation scale is underway and will be shared soon. To read the report, click here.

University Membership and Student Opportunities – Recognizing the opportunities that NFRC can provide to students studying green building architecture and engineering, sustainability, and other related fields, NFRC is inviting universities to become general members.

In addition to allowing a university to take advantage of the member benefits, the membership will also give its students access to NFRC information, supplement their education with fenestration-specific data, provide access to mentors in the industry and potential internship opportunities and link students to other universities and programs.

One of the most successful new discussions started this year was the introduction of the Industry Trends and Emerging Technology webinar series. With the inaugural series ending at the Fall Membership Virtual Meeting (listen to the audio recap here), NFRC is considering topics for 2022 that will educate researchers, product-developers, and potential partners on the process to bring these new technologies into the market and certified that are affordable for consumers.

NFRC continues its podcast Through the Glass. With 14 episodes already recorded, guests discussed aspects of fenestration as it relates to codes, energy efficiency, innovation and new technology, and NFRC programs. Guests were from the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Renewable Energy Lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, along with NFRC member companies, and NFRC staff and board members. Check back in 2022 for more interesting and compelling conversations with leaders in windows, doors, and skylights.

Women in Fenestration – In a male dominated industry, there are a growing number of women and NFRC has taken steps to provide support with the Women in Fenestration network. This group met for a virtual coffee break during the NFRC Fall Membership Meeting. This group will meet again in early 2022 and at the Spring Committee Meeting.

Sustainability Network – NFRC’s sustainability efforts began in 2021, with the generous support of six sustainability sponsors: Vitro Architectural Glass and Quanex Building Products at the gold level, Tremco and Schuco at the silver level, Thermoplast Extrusions as a bronze sponsor, and Veridis Solutions as a green sponsor.

NFRC also awarded the first Sustainability Member of the Year to VELUX Group for their commitment to becoming lifetime carbon neutral by 2041. VELUX shared their plan for this ambitious goal in a webinar for NFRC. View that webinar here.

In addition, these groups have shared calendars, forums, and discussions on NFRC’s Community website. These group pages provide resources and ways for the group members to have discussions with each other. Anyone interested in joining any of these groups may click on the links provided in the group name and click on “Join Group.”

These opportunities to join the discussion will grow in 2022. We hope you will join us.

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