Fenestration: Energy Efficiency

Windows, Doors, & Skylights are Essential Part of Green Buildings 

by the National Fenestration Rating Council

The National Fenestration Rating Council® (NFRC) hosted a series of informational sessions at its 2020 Spring Committee Meeting in College Park, Maryland, in March.  The goal was to give engineers, architects, code officials, and others involved in the sustainable building supply chain access to the best experts, data, and science available.  With more than 30 years of experience providing fair, accurate, and credible ratings of windows, doors, and skylights, the NFRC has the necessary information to help homeowners and office-building owners reduce their carbon footprint and build a sustainable future.   

 Additionally, a recent study found the $28 billion window and door market has a projected 4% growth through 2023.  The strength of the industry goes beyond the latest in construction trends to include energy-efficiency standards that contribute to whole-building design.  This means all parts of the building are designed and built to work together as a complete system, instead of just as a collection of individual parts.   

Along with a chance to learn about the latest green building trends and network with leading experts, attendees were eligible for American Institute of Architects and LEED® credits.  There was a green building tour of the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation, a 215,600 sq.ft. facility that serves as a hub for technology, collaboration, and discovery.  It was built to the 2012 International Green Construction Code following the state of Maryland’s High-Performance Green Building Program.  

Educational Sessions included Building a Sustainable Future: Macro to Microwhich was a look at future weather patterns and predictions, how the built environment is responding to climate change, and a micro review of innovations in solar glass.  Future Weather Files was presented by Tom Di Liberto, a climatologist and science writer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office’s Communication team, gave an in-depth look at future weather files, changing climate zones, and what models predict from now until 2100.   

In 2007, George Mason University (GMU) signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and then created the school’s Office of Sustainability.  In Path to Net-Zero 2020, Greg Farley, director of University Sustainability at GMU, shared an overview of their Climate Action Plan and how the campus is reducing its carbon footprint, including guidelines for new construction and building retrofits.   

In Envisioning the Solar Glass RevolutionLance Wheeler, Ph.D., who leads research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, discussed his invention of the world’s first thermochromic photovoltaic window.  He shared energy insights, the current state of the art, and cutting-edge innovations in PV technology and its use in windows.  The NFRC’s 2020 Fall Membership Meeting will take place October 19-21, 2020.  Visit the NFRC website at www.nfrc.org for more details. 

The NFRC is a nonprofit organization that administers a voluntary, uniform rating, labeling, and certification system for the energy performance of windows, doors, curtain walls, skylights, and other fenestration products.  Its members include manufacturers, suppliers, utilities, consumer groups, representatives from the building and code industries, scientific and educational organizations, and government agencies.   

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