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USGNN Original StoryNFRC Meeting Concludes with Board-Level CMA Discussions

The National Fenestration Rating Council's (NFRC) fall meeting, which concluded Thursday morning with the board of directors meeting, was light on controversy and heated debates compared to previous meetings. The Component Modeling Approach (CMA), however, was still a major discussion point at the board level.

The NFRC fall meeting concluded Thursday with a meeting of the board of directors.

Rod Van Buskirk, chairperson of the National Glass Association (NGA), had been scheduled to address the board regarding NGA's position on the development of CMA. However, due to a sudden illness, Van Buskirk informed the NFRC board on Wednesday that he would not be able to attend the meeting, and requested that a letter of NGA's position be read during the meeting. In the letter, read by Jim Benney, NFRC executive director, Van Buskirk stated that the NFRC's "efforts to create a systems approach are unneeded, antiquated and are simply a waste of the NFRC's time and resources. If created, it is most likely that a new NFRC site-built commercial products labeling system will simply be ignored by the domestic commercial construction industry as the NFRC's current site-built programs are."

The letter went on to state, "should the NFRC attempt to place such a system into building codes and specifications, the NGA will oppose those efforts on behalf of the American fenestration industry and the American public."

While several industry trade organizations - including the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association (IGMA) - have been actively involved in representing the industry, participation in the program by NGA has been minimal.

"We'll thank the NGA for the letter and respond appropriately," said Marcia Falke, chairperson of the NFRC board.

Greg Carney, technical director with the Glass Association of North America (GANA), next addressed the board on several concerns regarding information laid out in the NFRC's 2005 strategic planning initiatives related to CMA. One of the points he raised related to the financial aspect of CMA and NFRC's efforts to secure funding. Carney stressed how gaining funding from those who feel and see the need for CMA is critical.

Alicia Ward with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and an NFRC board member said they have been moderately successful in gaining outside funding, but could not comment further, as they wanted to have "final answers" before releasing more information.

Rich Karney from the Department of Energy (DOE) later said the DOE is hoping to make a "significant contribution" to the CMA efforts, though he did not know what the exact amount would be.

"It's our hope that by doing so others will support this effort," Karney said.

Providing information to customers and bringing information about CMA to the marketplace was also a concern for Carney. He said it would be helpful to organize discussions with those in the industry, such as architects and specifiers, who need to be made more aware of the program that is being developed. Ward agreed with Carney in that it is important to have dialogue with the industry. Carney again stressed, though, that the CMA program will affect a vast number of people and the efforts to develop it need to involve more than just those individuals who are a part of NFRC.

"The effort can't be successful if it's only created in this room," Carney said. "The marketplace is bigger than just this room."

Benney agreed and said the NFRC could use help and assistance in educating the industry from groups such as GANA that reach audiences that the NFRC does not.

John Lewis, technical director for AAMA, an NFRC independent administrator, also addressed the board. He talked about how NFRC was formed to provide a rating program for residential fenestration products, for which there was and is a need. "But when you start talking about commercial [fenestration] it's a completely different marketplace," Lewis said. He suggested the NFRC consider finding a way to separate the CMA software tool from the certification program.

"I believe there is value in the software tools and NFRC should explore ways to get that tool out there so the industry can start using it," said Lewis.

The software tool is being developed to use for rating the system, and, according to Lewis, would be a valuable tool for the industry to have.

The next NFRC meeting will take place March 3-6, 2008 at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.

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