NFRC Takes on New Task Groups
April 15, 2010

Several new task groups were instituted during the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) spring membership meeting taking place this week in New Orleans, meaning lots of new work for the group before its virtual meeting, July 19-21 (CLICK HERE for more information).

Among the new task groups is one to consider the need for rating spandrel products.

Charlie Curcija of Carli Inc. brought up the issue of spandrel panel ratings during yesterday's Technical Committee meeting (CLICK HERE for related story). As he explained during this morning's board of directors meeting, spandrels are "often modeled by commercial window manufacturers and their performance is requested by architects and code officials, but there is no sanctioned NFRC procedure for [rating] them. Procedures used currently are often inconsistent and wrong. Our proposal is to add spandrel panels to list of standard products and to establish rules for validation and modeling."

"There does seem to be some input from the commercial group that they need some help in validating this," Jeff Baker of WESTLab Inc. and Technical Committee chair told the board.

The concern of course is that spandrel panels include a wide range of products not limited to glass.

"Spandrel panels means a host of different things so we could be putting brick into a curtainwall and saying, 'OK, it's a spandrel panel,'" pointed out one listener this morning.

Baker advised that upon creating the task group the scope could limit the materials as appropriate.

Nils Petermann of the Alliance to Save Energy, a member of the board, asked, "People are rating this to the same procedure they're using for fenestration systems currently?"

According to Curcija, "They're not rated, but I've seen manufacturers are modeling them and supplying them to architects … There are numbers produced by manufacturers and from what I've seen it's all over the place and mostly not correct."

Ultimately the Technical Committee agreed to form a Task Group to investigate the technical feasibility of rating spandrel panels.

During the CMA Ratings Subcommittee, the group discussed the potential of a re-certification period. Now that use of the CMA process is underway (CLICK HERE for related story), and the group is looking at the long-term process, the discussion came up that down the road the components included in the CMA library "buckets" will eventually become outdated.

Ken Nittler of WESTLab noted that there are no provisions as to when those frames, insulating glass components, etc., placed into these "buckets" need to be reexamined.

"I'm worried three or four years from now we'll have these databases with all these materials and no provisions for removing old products," he said. "We need to know when the data is no longer valid."

"There does not appear to be any expiration for the products in the so-called buckets and this group will take a look at that and make some recommendations," board member Steve Strawn of Jeld-Wen elaborated.

Under its new business the Ratings Committee agreed to form an Annual Energy Performance (AEP) Rating Task Group, despite some cautions. Since the AEP Subcommittee has finished its task under the Technical Committee to "develop procedures to rate the annual energy performance of fenestration products and fenestration product attachments in homes," according to its scope, the activity is now moving to establishing such a rating.

During this morning's board meeting, Strawn reported that the committee has "has accepted that challenge to develop a AEP rating," adding, "so we have a AEP Ratings Exploratory Task Group." He reminded listeners that the focus is on "exploratory," as in this group will determine whether there is a need for such a rating.

Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting pointed out, "The board direction … from fall 2005 said that the technical procedure would be developed first before a rating could be developed." With the technical portion complete, the new task group will proceed to investigate an associated rating.

During the Rating Committee's Labeling Subcommittee, a Tubular Daylighting Device Label Task Group was formed, to be chaired by Dan State of Solatube. The group was formed with the "intent of creating language and form of matrix label similar to what we use in the door group," explained Strawn, chair of the Ratings Committee . "They have some concerns they will address and that Task Group has been formed," he added.

Stay tuned to™ for further updates from the conference.

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