NFRC Subcommittees Meet Today in D.C.

The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) convened in Washington D.C. this morning at the DoubleTree Hotel to wrap up its week of meetings with its technical committee block, including the solar heat gain subcommittee, U-factor subcommittee, condensation subcommittee, software subcommittee and CMA technical subcommittee.

Jeff Franson of Mikron led the condensation subcommittee meeting, and reported on the condensation resistance pamphlet that the committee is working to develop. The pamphlet contains three basic sections, "what is condensation?" "how is condensation reduced? And what is the condensation resistance rating? Franson noted that the subcommittee's most recent action was the addition of a chart showing some ranges of condensation resistance taken from the NFRC's database to the subcommittee's document.

After some discussion regarding the specifics noted in the chart, Patrick Muessig of Azon USA Inc., made a motion to remove the material specific to framing chart that intends to show material specific ratings and replace them with a more general range. The motion was seconded and 27 voted in favor of the motion, 3 opposed it and six abstained. In addition, it was agreed to change the notation "CR" throughout the document to the notation "condensation resistance rating." Joe Hayden of Pella, Iowa-based Pella Corp., led the report on WINDOW 6/THERM 6 for the software subcommittee and noted that right now, the subcommittee is hoping to get some response from the industry on the program.

"We're definitely looking for feedback from the manufacturers on software," Hayden said.

Christian Kohler of Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory also contributed to the update on the software. He noted that version 6.1 of the WINDOW 6 and THERM 6 software was released in October, but with no major changes for basic products. He did note that the software can specify any coverage percentage and the subcommittee's goal is to add more and more validation to the software.

Tony Rygg of the California Energy Commission also provided an update on the Component Model Approach software specification task group and noted that the first bidders conference has been held and the second is already on schedule.

Mike Manteghi of Cranberry Township, Pa.-based Traco Inc., chaired the Component Modeling Approach technical subcommittee meeting with Gary Curtis of the Salem, Ore.-based WestWall Group serving as sub chair.

In the subcommittee [meeting], Mahabir Bhandari of Amherst, Mass.-based Carli Inc., provided an update on the CMA technical program World Map task group and Michael Thoman of York, Pa.-based Architectural Testing Inc., led the update on the CMA validation test task group.

Likewise, Jeff Baker of WestLab, led the update on the CMA spacer grouping task group and Charlie Curcija of Carli Inc., provided updates on the CMA frame grouping RFT task group and the CMA condensation resistance RFT task group.

Thoman noted that the task group still has lots of work before it on its scope.

"The task group will continue to need to do work on the parameters on exactly what's tested, so we'll continue after this meeting," he said.

Baker advised that the spacer task group has set before it three basic paths, spacer manufacturers can follow under the component modeling approach. Path one will be a simple path for spacers that contain no metal.

"This is the solution for spacer manufacturers that don't want to do any work but just want to get the spacer in the system," Baker said.

Path two will be more specific but still a bit more generic than path three-a basic rating will be given to the spacers in this path. Path three will allow spacer manufacturers to have their ratings calculated on a range of measurements of the spacer.

Tracy Rogers of Cambridge, Ohio-based Edgetech IG, brought forth a negative regarding paths that the CMA spacer task group presented, which led to a heated discussion among those in attendance. He asked the question, "If there is sputtered aluminum foil in a spacer is that considered metal?"

Rogers expounded further upon his point.

"We need to set a limit-do some research and find out what that limit is," he said. "The whole basis for what NFRC is doing is based on science."

Curcija in turn came forward for a motion.

"I motion that part one of Tracy's negative is persuasive. If the thickness of the metal is less than 10 microns, it doesn't constitute metal in the spacer," Curcija said.

After much discussion, this motion was not sustained. Roland Temple of PTG Industries, of Bradley, S.C., then motioned to consider part one of Rogers' negative persuasive and send the issue back to the task group. Baker, who chairs the spacer task group, objected to this suggestion, noting that path one is for a small number of spacers only and to do further research on this issue would not be worthy of the group's time.

"If there is metal contained in the spacer, it just pushes you into path two, and that's not a punitive or more costly path," Baker said.

To this discussion, Temple responded with another motion.

"I'd like to make another motion to find item one of the Edgetech ballot to be non-persuasive and group one stays as it is-metal is metal," Temple said.

Twenty-one voted in favor of Temple's second motion, none voted against and Rogers abstained.

Next, Thomas Culp, of Birch Point Consulting LLC, motioned that it be recommended to the board that section be deleted from the document and replaced with the following wording:

"Framing components shall be tested as a whole product unit, in an insulating glazing unit as selected by the manufacturer in accordance with NFRC 102 and in accordance with all frame and validation grouping rules. Validation shall be determined by the equivalence criteria of section 4.7.1 of this document."

The majority of those in attendance voted for Culp's suggestion and it was put through to the board.

This afternoon, the group will hold its ratings committee block meetings and tomorrow the week's meetings will conclude with the NFRC board meeting.

-by Penny Stacey

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