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June 29th, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

Manny Hondroulis

Understanding the NFRC’s Importance

Have you ever needed to compare the performance characteristics of one film to another? The answer is yes most likely. So how do you do it? Do you compare the stats of one sample card to another? That seems easy, doesn’t it? Well, it is. But is it fair? The answer to that question depends upon the films you’re comparing.

Compare and Contrast

If you’re comparing films manufactured by the same company, the answer is generally yes. That is because the manufacturer uses a consistent process to test the statistics of the various films in its product portfolio. But if you compare films manufactured by different companies, then the answer is no most likely. So what do you do? How can you compare films manufactured by different companies in a fair manner?

Before answering that question, look at various sample cards you have in your possession. See if a disclaimer states how the manufacturer tested the film’s performance stats. As you read sample cards from different manufacturers, you will notice a wide range of test “standards” that manufacturers use to test their films.

Some companies test their films on glass using metering equipment. Others calculate film stats from online simulations. Some test on 1/8-inch glass. Others test on 1/4-inch. Besides glass thickness, glass type, visible light transmission, metering equipment and the testing procedure can vary from one manufacturer to the next. There isn’t necessarily a right way or
a wrong way. The truth is, there is no consistent standard employed by every supplier. The bottom line—comparing films based on sample cards from different manufacturers is not necessarily an “apples-to-apples” comparison.

So, what can you do if a prospect asks how your silver 20% film compares to the competition’s silver 20%? This is where the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) comes in.

The NFRC is an independent non-profit organization that evaluates and provides useful information to consumers with respect to windows, doors and window film.

Participating window film manufacturers submit their various films for NFRC testing. Using a standardized test procedure (glass type, metering equipment, methodology, etc.), the NFRC calculates the performance of different films and publishes those results for public consumption. Here’s how it works. Visit the NFRC’s “Applied Film” page at https://search.nfrc.org/search/apd_film/film_search_default.aspx. Choose a film manufacturer and then navigate to the desired film. Here you can see the film’s solar heat gain coefficient, visible light transmission and U-value on different types of glass as tested, calculated and published by the NFRC.

You can then compare those statistics to those of another film chosen from the NFRC’s website. This is a quick, easy and accurate way to compare the stats of one manufacturer’s film to another’s.

Consider bookmarking the NFRC website and use it the next time a prospect asks you to compare one film to another.

Manny Hondroulis is the vice president of Energy Distribution Products in Baltimore.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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