Volume 43, Issue 6 - June 2008

Guest Book

Component Modeling Approach
NFRC’s Consensus-Driven Program
by Jim Benney and Joe Hayden

In the March issue of this magazine (see March 2008 USGlass, page 6), publisher Debra Levy encouraged members of the glass industry to “re-evaluate their participation in the National Fenestration Rating Council” (NFRC). She also asserted that the NFRC board of directors “continues to ignore the votes of the Council regarding the Component Modeling Approach (CMA).”

Not only are these statements egregious, they appear to be based on misconceptions and a lack of understanding of NFRC as an organization. 

It’s widely known that NFRC is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation. That means that it does not function the way a 501(c)(6) trade organization would, like the Glass Association of North America or the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, and that NFRC is ultimately responsible to the general public. It is the board’s responsibility to set the strategic direction of the organization and to make sure NFRC is, in fact, fulfilling its mission. 

NFRC operates as a consensus-based organization and all decisions are discussed as they move through the committees that drive the program. 

Nearly six years ago, NFRC’s membership recognized a growing demand to improve the process for obtaining independent energy performance ratings of commercial glazing systems. The interest and requests for action came from both public members of the NFRC constituency, as well as industry members from various glass and commercial fenestration companies. Since then, NFRC has been working diligently to develop a certification and rating program that will provide all stakeholders with fair, accurate and credible energy performance ratings and will fit the commercial glass business model. During that time, our members and participants have spent countless hours on conference calls and attended many meetings to work out the specifics. We have welcomed and actively solicited industry input. 

Throughout the lengthy course of CMA’s development, the NFRC board has carefully and attentively listened to every suggestion made concerning CMA. Developing a system that addresses the needs of such a diverse group is complex, costly and time consuming, and inevitably involves compromise. It is the board’s job to make sure the program is developed in accordance with NFRC’s mission, to keep the big picture in mind and to maintain a long-term focus. It may mean that sometimes members will not completely agree with the outcome and there will be times when decisions are not favorable to the goals of any one person, organization or segment of the industry. It does not mean, however, that NFRC is “flawed,” or that the industry is being “ignored.” 

Once development of CMA is complete, the benefits to all stakeholder groups will be realized:
• The nonresidential glazing industry will be able to show validated energy performance ratings for its products, which will help them to show compliance with local and state energy codes. 
• The CMA software will provide architects with a user-friendly tool to verify performance and give them assurance that bids and estimates are done using a validating methodology for determining energy performance.
• HVAC engineers and energy consultants can obtain uniform energy data from WINDOW and THERM that is needed for advanced building design software.
• International partners will be able to adopt harmonized software based on recognized standards.
• The public at-large will benefit from increased use of higher performance fenestration systems that will in turn reduce energy use in the United States.

Moving forward, NFRC hopes that industry participation increases. We also hope that participants understand that even in a consensus-driven, democratic process, some people don’t get their way all the time. If participants ever feel that their voices are not being heard, they should contact NFRC’s board ombudsman, Jim Krahn. His contact information is available at www.nfrc.org

We encourage continued feedback and invite anyone who has something to say to join us at our next membership meeting in Chicago, July 28-31. 

Jim Benney is the executive director and Joe Hayden is chair of the board of directors of the NFRC. Mr. Benney’s and Mr. Hayden’s opinions are solely their own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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