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Ratings council makes small gains in nonresidential program at meeting

Work on the nonresidential component modeling program took center stage again at the Fall Membership Meeting of the Silver Spring, Md.-based National Fenestration Rating Council, Nov. 6-9 in Arlington, Va. Many members said they were optimistic about the program’s progress, though issues such as pricing were still unresolved, and concerns remained about the lack of involvement from many players in the industry.

“I felt for once that we made more progress at this meeting than at previous ones,” said Michael Thoman, director of simulations and thermal testing for Architectural Testing Inc. in York, Pa., and member of the NFRC board of directors. “It seems like we’re finally starting to button down the nonresidential stuff.”

During the meeting, the ratings subcommittee addressed about 130 negative comments received for the most recent draft for the Component Modeling Approach for nonresidential systems, a certification program that focuses on glass, spacers and framing systems. The draft will be revised and re-balloted in time for the spring membership meeting, said Gary Curtis, president and founder of the West Wall Group LLC in Salem, Ore., and co-chair of the CMA ratings subcommittee.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “It’s quite possible that we’ll send out the letter ballot [to approve the latest draft] and people will still come back with negative comments, but we’re narrowing the disagreements and are getting closer.”

Several NFRC nonresidential groups have been meeting since the late 1990s, sometimes contentiously, to develop the CMA for nonresidential systems. “A year ago we had a lot of adversarial stuff going on,” Curtis said.  “We’re really seeing people work together.”

Program cost still unknown

Some questions remain unanswered in the CMA document, including a major hole about projected costs for the program, said Margaret Webb, executive director for the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance in Ottawa, Ontario.

Webb proposed to the CMA Ratings Subcommittee the development of a joint task group between industry and NFRC representatives to develop a range of costs for the CMA program.

 “Right now this is a big unknown,” she said. The NFRC board tabled the proposal during its meeting Nov. 9 and will reconsider it at its next meeting later this month.

The CMA also lacks necessary details for the spacer and frame groups, and information about validation testing, Webb said. “Without having these things in place is opening up the blank check format,” she said.

Technical procedures approved in time for California deadline

Although work remains for both the Ratings and Technical CMA Subcommittees, the board approved several portions of the CMA technical procedures, meeting a tight deadline from the California Energy Commission.

Representatives of the CEC approached officials from NFRC in January about implementing the nonresidential ratings component modeling approach in the state. To meet the CEC’s requirements, NFRC members needed to complete the technical procedures portion of the CMA at the fall meeting.

“We made all the last-minute changes in for California,” said Tom Culp, owner of Birch Point Consulting in La Crosse, Wis. “It’s likely there will be future updates, but we wrote language that everyone could agree to.”

 

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