CMA Fee Structure Draws Much Debate During NFRC Board Meetings

by Ellen Giard

The National Fenestration Rating Council's (NFRC) proposed Component Modeling Approach (CMA) fee structure was an item of much debate during yesterday's NFRC board meting. The proposed fees were announced earlier this summer and were met with opposition from some representatives of the commercial glazing industry who view the program as unnecessary.

Marcia Falke, NFRC chairperson of the board, explained during yesterday's meeting that the original fees were based on the start-up of initial costs, about $2 million, and are based on 10-percent market penetration. She explained that the fees could be reduced through additional outside funding and through increased market penetration.

Denny Raske with Allmetal spoke out, saying NFRC needs to "step up to the plate" to get the CMA program finalized.

"It can't happen at a cost of time. NFRC has to find some way [to get] this up," Raske said, comparing the development to that of ASTM E 2190, which was completed in two years, primarily by four people. "You have to take a look at the industry and not NFRC. NFRC's got to get better market penetration--only 10 percent after [18] years is not much. Inform the industry and if you do that they will understand the fees."

Greg Carney with the Glass Association of North America asked what measures have been taken by NFRC to try and gain additional outside funding.

Jim Benney, BFRC executive director, said they had been in communication with utility companies in California [energy service providers] and were also working with the Department of Energy to see what type of funding is available. Benney said he was not certain what funding would be available, but he is optimistic about it.

Carney also stood before the board and stressed how a program for certifying and labeling the energy performance is not necessary for commercial glazing products used in high-rises since these buildings are already using high-performance glazing.

"If you want to target a market need area of the industry I might suggest storefronts [and other low-rise construction] where energy efficient products are not used," Carney said. "There's more opportunity there."

Tom Culp with Birch Point Consulting agreed with Carney. "Look at LEED buildings-they are not using NFRC but they are still measuring energy and they are doing so by using other tools [available], such as those from LBNL," Culp said.

Frank Fisher with Arcadia Windows spoke out on the urgency for his business that the CMA program be completed and available.

"I have potentially thousands of product variations and I need to be able to see if I put all these components together what's the number I'm going to get," Fisher said.

"I need this program." No final decisions were made regarding the program, though board members agreed to take everything discussed into consideration.

Ellen Giard is the editor of USGlass magazine.