Does Window Film Need Another Rating System?

January 28th, 2015 by Casey Flores

Is there room for another window film rating system? The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) thinks so.

With a $1.6 million cost-shared grant from the DOE, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) has launched the new Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC).

The U.S. Department of Energy and Window Covering Manufacturers Association are funding a new window film rating system.

The U.S. Department of Energy and Window Covering Manufacturers Association are funding a new window film rating system.

According to a press release, AERC “will design and administer a new energy rating and certification program for the fenestration attachment products,” including applied films.

“This project allows members of the window attachments industry to be on the cutting edge of energy efficiency,” says Ralph Vasami, executive director of WCMA, “as well as collaborate with a diverse set of stakeholders, and, most importantly, present consumers with reliable product information.”

According to the release, under this Council, key market and technical data will be gathered to develop credible rating, certification, labeling and performance verification procedures that will be adopted by the attachments industry. “At present there is no accurate method to assess the performance of individual products or for consumers to distinguish between the relative energy saving performance of competing window attachment products,” the release reads. “The AERC’s work will fill this gap and pave the way for potentially billions of dollars in energy cost savings for U.S. households and businesses.”

Officials at the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC), which already has a rating system for window film, say they are unsure of what the AERC’s end goal is regarding film.

“We don’t know what they’re doing yet [except] forming the board members,” says Ray McGowan, senior program manager at NFRC, who hopes to send representatives to AERC’s meetings. He says there’s no need for another rating system for window film. “It’d be a waste of their time. We find it a little puzzling since we already have a rating. We certainly don’t want two ratings out there.”

Window Film magazine reached out to the DOE regarding NFRC’s already-existing ratings and they released this statement: “The Department has developed a strategy to support the rapid deployment and installation of energy-efficient fenestration attachments based on its own analysis and stakeholder feedback. As a part of this strategy, and to make it easier for consumers to understand how these products conserve energy and to help them compare various products and models … It is unclear how the NFRC and AERC ratings for window films will compare to one another. The AERC ratings have not yet been finalized.”

When asked if a second rating was even needed since there’s already a rating in place, the DOE declined to comment.

As for whether they will include window film manufacturers in the process of developing a rating system, AERC spokesperson Zachary Koser says they “are encouraged to become members of the AERC.”

Membership forms are available here.


This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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  1. If this isn’t a classic example of stupid government bureaucratic overreach/duplication/tunnelvision/turf war/waste of public money I wouldn’t know what is. I smell the OEM glass and window industry still trying to muddy the retrofit market and/or push our industry into a less appropriate category of products. They fought tooth-and-nail to prevent the NFRC from rating window film and when we prevailed our industry really started taking off. This story needs to be followed closely by all of us. Good reporting, Casey

  2. I agree with McGowan and NFRC – it was no easy feat for the window film community to get anyone to give credibility to what they see as “lick and stick” technology but a few years ago the NFRC got behind window film and established standards and a rating system.

    Contrast that to EnergyStar (which is basically DOE as it pertains to products) which has said “OEM only need apply”.

    Lastly, even looking at DOE’s own stance on window ratings they totally lean on NFRC ( Do we think now that DOE is going to say “NFRC can handle all the new construction but we think window film is so much more advanced that we MUST do it ourselves”?

    Remember, when DOE had a chance to get behind window film they didn’t — NFRC did. That’s because NFRC is an industry advocate, DOE is a promulgator.

    Looks like another government agency trying to keep everyone employed. Don’t you wish we could print money just by starting a committee?

    Mark A. Carlson, CEM
    National Glazing Solutions

  3. I’m not sure whether a window attachments rating system is needed or not. I find the Energy Star system helpful for appliances although I could also live without it. The relevant thing at this point is AERC is FUNDED.

    It occurs to me the AERC could simply ask someone like “Consumer Reports” to evaluate a broad cross section of window attachment products. They’ve been doing this type of work for years. It’s not just the testing methodology. Whoever has a dog in the fight will want a say on things like: which designs will be evaluated? will all be tested with the same protocol? how will the technical peer review be handled?

    I’d like to see energy effective window attachment designs highlighted and technically evaluated. (We’ve been able to save about 3 kwh/ft2/year using one of the designs.) It wouldn’t be necessary to test every BRAND, but representatives of each basic design concept. For LBNL to evaluate the energy performance and intangibles should be of interest to potential consumers, whether they are interested in proven products or emerging technology.

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