Manufacturers and NFRC Prepare for CMA's Full Implementation Starting January 1, 2010
December 14, 2009

Glazing contractors, look out-the National Fenestration Rating Council's (NFRC) Component Modeling Approach (CMA) Product Certification Program, which has been the source of controversy throughout its conception (CLICK HERE for related story), is scheduled to be "fully implemented" as of January 1, 2010. According to NFRC executive director Jim Benney, that means that the modeling program for establishing whole-product energy performance ratings for nonresidential projects will be fully ready for use in California, where it is among the requirements for the state's updated Code of Regulations (Title 24), and across the country.

The program has been in a "pilot phase" for several months as NFRC works to train approved calculation entities (ACEs), or those manufacturer representatives who generate a product's CMA label certificate; train the inspection agencies (IA) that will approve components before they are available for use in a label certificate; accredit simulation labs to test the components; and complete aspects of its software tool, such as tying financial tools to the software that allow users to pay online.

"January 1 is when we expect [the program] to be out the door for use in California, as that's when Title 24 becomes required," Benney says.

Some glass product manufacturers-including those who may take issue with some aspects of CMA-are beginning to test their products for compliance.

"At Peerless, we're starting the process of doing the necessary validation testing," says Jason Davis, an engineer with Peerless Products Inc. in Ft. Scott, Kan. "Once that's done we're going to be getting all of our frame components in [the libraries]."

"We're looking to get into it," adds Chuck Knickerbocker, curtainwall manager for Technical Glass Products in Snoqualmie, Wash. "If we sell work in those three territories or it's coming online obviously we want to be in front of that curve, but it's a work in progress."

Knickerbocker has been among the program's many outspoken critics (CLICK HERE for related story) who say that while an energy rating system may be useful for an industry increasingly promoting its energy-efficient side, this particular program has a number of holes to fill. Still, even before its start date, NFRC certification is creeping into project specifications.

"It's showing up in specifications we see from across the country that you need NFRC certification," Knickerbocker says. "California, Washington and Nevada seem to be on the front line."

While concerns may still echo across the glazing industry, in a few weeks time industry professionals will learn firsthand the advantages or shortcomings of CMA.

"This is a new approach to things so I'd say patience would be something to keep in mind as everybody works to get through the first year," Davis advises. "I'm sure there's always going to be some issues that come up."

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