Volume 41, Issue 10 - October 2006


Cautious Optimism
Updating GANAís Efforts to Work with the NFRC
by Stanley L. Smith and C. Gregory Carney

Member companies of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) have expressed interest in the development of a simplified, efficient and cost-effective commercial fenestration Component Modeling Approach (CMA) for a certification and rating system. GANA continues to work diligently in framing the proposal before the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). 

Meetings and Discussions
Following a visit to the Department of Energy (DOE) in mid-July, and a subsequent NFRC meeting held in Minneapolis later that month, we believe that progress was made toward the commercial fenestration CMA (formerly known as the Non-Residential Product Certification Program). Many issues were brought to light when negative ballot responses by representatives of the commercial glazing industry were found persuasive during the CMA (ratings) subcommittee meeting. We feel this will result in favorable revisions to the draft product certification program. The subcommittee addressed only a portion of the more than 350 issues identified during the summer ballot, and a task group was formed to consider all of the issues and to develop the next draft for balloting prior to the NFRC meeting in November. Industry representatives involved in the process remain cautiously optimistic about acceptance of the CMA, as it moves up the process through the committee level and toward board action.

During recent NFRC meetings, industry representatives have voiced concerns over the program being pushed forward to meet deadlines set by the California Energy Commission (CEC). Representatives of the CEC recently indicated that their only current requirement is that a technical document be produced by January 1, 2007, rather than requiring that the CMA product certification program be completed as a whole by that date. This position should allow time for the task group and committee actions to be properly considered prior to the NFRC board of directorsí proposal to adopt the program.

The NFRC summer meeting also provided an opportunity for communication and collaboration between GANA and representatives of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) regarding GANAís strong interest in the development of COMFEN, a software tool to be used for calculating heating and cooling energy use of fenestration products in commercial buildings. Because of the importance tools such as this can play in the promotion of energy-efficient commercial fenestration designs and applications, GANA also encouraged continued funding by the DOE toward COMFENís completion. 

Working Together
Another important outcome from the Minneapolis meetings was an invitation to GANA to participate in the Efficient Windows Collaborative. Similar to the efforts with LBNL, it is our opinion that our associationís representation in that group can reap additional, positive results in the promotion of energy efficiency within commercial fenestration products.

One disappointment, though, from the NFRC summer meeting was the rescission of an invitation extended to GANA (as well as other fenestration-related associations/organizations) by the NFRC board of directors to participate in future board discussions of the CMA program. The GANA board of directors had recently voted to change its policy for board meetings, and extend a reciprocal invitation to NFRC when discussing the CMA program. Working with NFRC in this regard should alleviate many misunderstandings regarding the commercial construction industry, and provide significantly improved communication between the two organizations. The NFRC board of directors was urged to find potential solutions to the conflicts that appear to preclude GANA and other industry representatives from attending its board discussions about this important program.

Our hope is that the commercial fenestration industry and NFRC are coming closer to resolution on this critical program. We remain cautiously optimistic that our joint efforts over the past few years are reaping benefits for all involved: manufacturers of commercial glazing products, glazing contractors, consumers and, most of all, the general public. We will continue to strive for forward momentum and progress until the ultimate resolution of this issue.

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