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USGNN Original StoryCodes, ENERGY STAR® and More Discussed During NFRC Fall Meeting

Days were chilly and grey much of this past week in Jacksonville, Fla. So perhaps it was the lack of beautiful weather that helped members of the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) stay focused on their agendas to accomplish much. Some of the biggest news to come from the meeting was that after nearly five years of work the board approved language for the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) Product Certification Program (CLICK HERE for related story). However, there were also a number of other discussion topics covered as well.

The NFRC met for its Fall Meeting in Jacksonville, Fla.

As part of the Regulatory Affairs and Marketing Committee meeting Garrett Stone of Brickfield, Burchette, Ritts & Stone, P.C., gave codes update. Specifically, he talked about the results of the recent International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) hearings. As a result of the hearings, the 2009 IECC will have a lower solar heat gain coefficient in the South and also a lower U-factor in the South. The code will also have an improved performance path.

"Overall changes result in a 10-15 percent more efficient residential code," said Stone.

He also talked about some of the energy code improvements within individual states. California, for instance, adopted revised 2008 energy-efficiency standards in April that will take effect July 1, 2009. Also, Florida is in the process of finalizing 15-percent energy efficiency improvements to its 2007 residential code. According to Stone, the new requirements call for the use of the most recent IECC as its model plus a [certain] percentage improvement every few years.

"This puts Florida on track to have substantial improvements in [energy efficiency] every few years," he added.

In addition, Stone noted that the federal energy-efficiency tax credit for doors and windows was extended for 2009, as well as a new energy-efficiency home tax credit.

He added that with the new presidential administration future energy-efficiency requirements might also be likely.

"My guess is we will see legislation … requiring improvements in energy-efficient building," said Stone.

Next, John Carmody gave a report on the activities within the Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC). He said at the GreenBuild show, taking place November 19-21 in Boston, they will be introducing a new version of the ComFen software tool for the commercial market. In addition, he said they will be launching a new commercial window design tool website (www.commercialwindows.umn.edu) that will "help with the decision making process early on in the design phase."

Rich Karney from the U.S. Department of Energy also provided an ENERGY STAR® criteria revision update. He explained that they are now in the comment period and expect to receive all comments by the end of next week.

"The comments so far have been very good and constructive," said Karney. He said they are hoping to announce the final criteria by the beginning of 2009 with the earliest effective date nine months later. Revisions will come by way of two program phases, starting with six climate zones and dropping to five in phase two.

"The purpose of the two phases … will allow for modest changes in the near term and give the industry more time to make aggressive changes in the future," said Karney. "We will also look at adding trade offs in the South, and the requirement for insulating glass certification will go into effect once implemented by the NFRC."

USGNN.com™ will provide updates on the ENERGY STAR revision process as they are made available.

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