Certifications and Ratings Help Ensure Energy Performance of Window Film ProductsDecember 3rd, 2009 by Editor
Finding ways to save on energy costs has becoming increasingly important when it comes to commercial building owners. And window film applications are among the many design features that can help reduce those costs. As a way to help window film manufacturers ensure the energy performance levels of their products, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) created a rating and certification procedure for window films. According to information form the NFRC, “these ratings offer film manufacturers independent, third-party verification of their products’ energy performance, while consumers benefit from credible apples-to-apples comparison of rated products they are considering for purchase.”
A number of window film manufacturers, realizing the importance of energy-savings materials, have taken the steps to have their products certified. CPFilms was among the first of film companies to have products NFRC certified; others also included in the NFRC’s certified products directory include 3M, Bekaert Specialty Films, Commonwealth Laminating, Johnson Window Films Inc., and Madico.
“NFRC certification is important for the window film industry to further our goal of positioning architectural window films as a legitimate energy saving product,” says Lisa Winckler, director, product development and technology for CPFilms. “Additionally, since the certification is administered by an independent rating organization, NFRC certification will assure that all manufacturers will be using the same set of test methods assuring credible, non-biased energy performance data for our consumers. Dealers using NFRC-certified products are able to provide their customers the assurance that the quoted energy performance numbers have been independently certified and tested to standards recognized in the building codes and by the U.S. Department of Energy.”
According to Fred Zwilling, director of training for Johnson Window Films, NFRC certification provided them with an accurate way to get their product rated for energy performance, which can be used by architects, builders and homeowners.
“A consumer can rate different manufacturer’s film products side by side to help them when making their product selection,” Zwilling says. “Manufactures have a fair and level playing field to compare products and an accurate method of showing their energy benefits.”
“What many in the industry may not realize is that NFRC certification for window film was a hard fought battle. It took many years of lobbying by key industry manufacturers along with the AIMCAL-WFC and IWFA to have window film included as an NFRC certified product. Now that it is included we have to protect that privilege,” adds Kathryn Giblin, vice president, global marketing for Bekaert Specialty Films LLC. “As recently as last month we narrowly won the vote to include U-value for both the certified values listed in the NFRC database and on the NFRC label that is attached to boxes of certified window film. This is incredibly important in promoting window film as a legitimate energy saving product and was only possible with the help of key voting members of NFRC. It is critical that manufacturers, dealers and distributors continue to educate themselves and consumers about NFRC and that more manufacturers join NFRC as voting members to help ensure the future of window film as a legitimate energy saving product.”
To earn NFRC certification companies must follow a process spelled out in NFRC’s certification documents. Steps include:
· Contacting NFRC to request certification of a product or products;
· Submitting a signed NFRC Applied Film Manufacturer License Agreement;
· Submitting the film product’s optical properties for evaluation;
· Contacting and selecting an NFRC-accredited simulation laboratory to determine the product’s energy performance; and
· Selecting an NFRC-licensed Certification and Inspection Agency (IA) to review the simulation results for accuracy and to inspect the manufacturing facility.
After the IA determines that certification requirements have been met, it generates a Certification Authorization Report (CAR). The film manufacturer can then place the CAR’s performance ratings values on the NFRC label to certify its product, which will be referenced in the NFRC Attachments Products Directory (APD). Certification authorization is valid for four years.
Look for a future issue of Window Film magazine to read more about NFRC’s window film certification process in an article by John Lewis, NFRC’s senior manager, business development and outreach.
CLICK HERE to search for film products in NFRC’s Certified Products Directory.