The advancement of our profession relies on research. Whether the goal is product improvement at the R&D level for proprietary purposes, for the purposes of innovation, to verify that the procedures we rely on to develop standards remain accurate when applied to these new products and applications, or any other essential purpose to support the health of an industry and its customers, all types of research must be a priority.

It’s not always as visible as it could be, though. NFRC is fortunate to have several well-respected and influential researchers involved with the organization at the board level. The research that these scientists and their teams conduct, oversee and collaborate on is of immense value to the fenestration industry – not only to guide ratings efforts for organizations such as NFRC but also as potential catalysts for innovation.

I think they – and their research – are worthy of more attention.

This summer, Ravi Srinivasan, Ph.D., professor and director of graduate programs and research at the University of Florida’s M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, co-authored a paper titled “Ultraviolet Radiation Transmission in Buildings’ Fenestration: Part 1, Detection Methods and Approaches Using Spectrophotometer and Radiometer.” This project examined the research available on methods for measuring ultraviolet (UV) radiation and looked at UV transmission through various glazing options. Part two of the research, which we hope to share when published, will examine potential alternate approaches to measuring UV transmission that are less costly and complex than current methods.

Robert Tenent, Ph.D., Innovation Lead for Architectural Windows and Scientist V, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), was featured on Colorado Public Radio (CPR) October 5, discussing “Why windows remain one of the clearest climate solutions in the U.S.,” and how the U.S. is falling behind other parts of the world in what is available on the market. At NREL, Tenent focuses on the development of cost-effective, manufacturing-friendly methods to produce materials for both energy generation and efficiency.

At the NFRC Fall Membership Meeting in College Park, Md., Julian Wang, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate programs officer at Penn State University’s College of Engineering, gave a presentation titled “Human-Centered Architectural Windows.” This fascinating research looks at the effects that smart lighting and daylighting have on circadian health, and the effect windows have on thermal comfort and resilience. We hope to share additional findings of the research presented at the meeting once they are published.

Dr. Wang also introduced two students who have received grants from the National Science Foundation for research that will be conducted in collaboration with NFRC. One will provide Chenshun Chen, a Ph.D. student, with the opportunity to work with the Efficient Windows Collaborative to maximize the product selection in the Window Selection Tool. The second project will provide Shevvaa Beiglary, a research Ph.D. student, with the opportunity to collaborate with NFRC on developing daylighting metrics for windows. Both projects will begin in January 2024.

Thanks to introductions from these board members, we have been able to bring other research to NFRC’s stakeholders through the Emerging Technology and Sustainability series. The NFRC Fall Membership Meeting provided attendees with information on research being conducted at the University of Maryland (UMD) on vacuum insulated glazing. UMD assistant research professor Ratnesh Tiwari, Ph.D., presented “Vacuum Insulated Glazing (VIG): A Path to Zero Energy Buildings,” which shared information on the current challenges and opportunities for bringing VIG products to production.

To continue the discussion and sharing of research, NFRC will be hosting a webinar with researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, titled “Industry-University Collaborations to Drive Progress in Building Sustainability and Window Systems,” on November 7. Join the conversation by registering HERE. This presentation and the research sessions at the NFRC meeting will be available on the NFRC website HERE.

The more we share, collaborate and generate ideas, the more we can demonstrate the relevance of the work that we all do daily. The intersection of industry and research is vital for the advancement of any field. While many manufacturers invest heavily in proprietary research and product development, the research that is being conducted at the national labs and universities benefits all.

If you see research that you believe would be of interest to others, please send a link to it to our communications department at communications@nfrc.org.

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