IG Certification and Possible New ENERGY STAR™ Requirements Discussed at NFRC Meeting

Window manufacturers will be interested to know of two major topics discussed at the recent meeting of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)-the first being possible changes to ENERGY STAR requirements.

"We're looking at changing the requirements for ENERGY STAR windows," said the Department of Energy's (DOE) Rich Karney. "The reason is that in many cases ENERGY STAR barely, if at all, meets the codes, especially in the north."

Karney said that 53 percent of the market for windows is ENERGY STAR, which means the ENERGY STAR label is losing its meaning to consumers.

He added that formal research on the revisions has been done and the formal process is likely to begin this fall. He said they are looking at six guiding principles:

  1. There must be significant energy savings;
  2. It must be cost effective for the consumer;
  3. Energy savings must be measurable;
  4. Functionality and performance cannot be compromised;
  5. Proprietary technologies cannot be included to ensure consumers have multiple choices; and
  6. The ENERGY STAR label must provide meaningful differentiation to the consumer.

The earliest effective date will be January 1, 2009.

IG Certification
Also at the NFRC meeting, the IG Certification task group discussed a proposal for the implementation of mandatory IG certification for NFRC certification and labeling (see, DWM, May issue, page 48). A number of revisions were made to the proposed document, which was forwarded to the Certification Subcommittee, but it was again debated at that level. Margaret Webb, executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance spoke out against a portion of the proposal, specifically disagreeing with the requirement for national accreditation of testing laboratories.

"If testing labs are required to be accredited to perform every single test protocol … it will probably double the cost of testing," said Webb. "I'm concerned about the affect this will have on the smaller manufacturers that don't already test because the increased cost will make it difficult for them to participate in the NFRC program [i.e. certifying and labeling]."

Webb stressed that the testing laboratory approval programs currently in place have been accepted by the industry for decades and do not need to have additional requirements placed on them that will only increase costs.

Carney agreed, saying "[Groups such as] the Insulating Glass Certification Council and Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada have been in existence for more than 30 years and are extremely recognized," he said. "I don't think it's necessary to add this level of cost and complexity."

While some members opposed Webb's position as they were of the opinion that there is insufficient oversight of IG testing labs, the majority of members voted in favor of Webb's amended proposal to not require national accreditation of testing labs.

The proposal was then approved during the ratings committee meeting and forwarded to the board. There, it was also accepted and the board will provide direction after reviewing.

The next NFRC meeting will take place November 5-8 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center in Tempe, Ariz.

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