Glass Industry Representatives Voice Concern's Over NFRC's Push Toward Commercial Glazing

Members of the commercial glazing industry, including representatives from the Glass Association of North America, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and individual companies, are taking issue with the National Fenestration Rating Council's (NFRC) push for a non-residential certification and rating program. If implemented, the component-based rating system would consider all components of an insulating glass unit used in commercial glazing, including the glass, spacer system and frame.

In 2001 the NFRC, well established in the residential construction market with its energy-performance certification and rating program, began work on a system for rating non-residential products. The NFRC board of directors approved that procedure last March, and since then the organization's non-residential products task group has been working to develop the program protocols.

Many members of the commercial glazing industry are concerned about how they will be affected by this program. Because certification for each component of an insulating glass (IG) unit would be required, the program would be very costly for IG fabricators, glazing contractors and other component suppliers (frame, spacer, sealant). Critics also charge that the program was created without any input from those involved most heavily with commercial glazing.

Glass industry representatives are in Hawaii this week for the NFRC's spring membership meeting, where a question-and-answer session with the group's board of directors took place over the matter Sunday afternoon. Industry representatives discussed a number of topics relating to the NFRC's non-residential task group. Some issues of concern include a lack of substantial evidence that there is value in such a program for building owners/developers, architects; the fast speed subcommittee chairpersons are pushing for the program's development; the perceived lack of insufficient evaluation and understanding of commercial window wall, curtainwall and slope glazing market; and the lack of opportunity for input from the commercial industry suppliers.

Discussions will continue throughout the span of the meeting, which concludes tomorrow.


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