NFRC Looks at IG Certification Again

Sahely Mukerji
July 30, 2008

The National Fenestration Rating Council plans to add a requirement for IG certification to its rating and labeling program, but just how that will be done was still up for discussion at its summer membership meeting held this week in Chicago. The event also featured a forum designed to guide development of rating programs for various window attachments and the unveiling of software designed for rating commercial fenestration systems.
Roland Temple of AZS Consulting Inc., who chairs NFRC’s certification policy committee, opened up the IG certification forum. NFRC does not plan to set up its own IG certification program, but will instead require manufacturers seeking product labeling to use existing certification programs in the market. Temple outlined a plan under which NFRC would maintain a list of third party IG certification programs that have submitted a statement to NFRC stating they meet its requirements. The statements would be provided to NFRC on an annual basis but would not be independently verified.

Although NFRC’s earlier proposed accreditation requirements for these independent programs were widely criticized as being too onerous, the plan outlined at the Chicago meeting was greeted as too lax. “I feel like a pendulum. You guys have swung from here to way over there,” said Rich Biscoe of Architectural Testing Inc. Attendees at the meeting requested that NFRC go back to the recommendations submitted by the IG certification task group co-chaired by Tracy Rogers of Edgetech IG and Tina Jenkins of Simonton Windows and slightly modified by the NFRC board of directors. It was decided to develop new draft programs for review by both NFRC membership and its board of directors.

“If the accreditation program documents represent the far right, then what was proposed during today’s IG forum would be represented by the far left. One extreme to another, or too many teeth to toothless,” said Margaret Webb, executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. “In other words, we’ve gone a long way to go a short distance but hopefully we’re back on track now.”

The attachment forum, which drew about 50 people, featured a panel consisting of Jim Benney, NFRC executive director; Top Culp of Birch Point Consulting; Joe Hayden of Pella Corp., current NFRC chair; and Fred Higgins of Wayne-Dalton Corp. The group discussed the need to balance a "top down" versus a "bottom up" approach to attachment ratings to make sure that interested parties benefit both from guidance from the board of directors and the expertise present among the NFRC membership. The panelists also noted that it can be a lengthy process to develop a consensus rating method, while protecting the technical integrity of the NFRC rating and certification system .

In addition to the forum, the Chicago meeting featured task group sessions focusing on storm windows, dynamic attachments for swinging doors, interior attachments such as shades, blinds, and exterior attachments such as screens and awnings.

The NFRC meeting also featured a demonstration of NFRC’s new software tool designed for its component modeling approach to rating commercial fenestration products. Charlie Curcija of Carli Inc., the software developer, showed how the application stores data related to glazing, framing and spacer components and uses that develop rating numbers for an entire system.