NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) establishes fair, accurate and credible energy efficiency ratings for windows, doors, and skylights, which are all critical components in sustainable building design. NFRC certified ratings are included on all ENERGY STAR products and provide a reliable way to determine their energy properties.
In recent years, the focus on green building has increased significantly: architects and builders are paying more attention to the indoor air quality, pollution and daylighting techniques to increase the health and well-being of the occupants. As green building is in higher demand than ever, choosing energy efficient windows, doors and skylights can lower energy use as well as prevent additional pollution.
In the ongoing battle to decrease energy consumption, the adoption of highly energy efficient commercial windows has proved to provide an incredible opportunity in energy savings. In their most recent study, NFRC revealed insights on the commercial fenestration market and highlighted the innovative technologies that can make a difference and even lower carbon emissions. The project built a database from a sample of 16,000 buildings, with the heaviest representation coming from the Pacific Northwest.
Approximately 18% of all energy consumption and 37% of all electricity consumption in the U.S. can be attributed to commercial buildings. Although electricity use intensity is declining, commercial floor space is increasing at a faster rate, leading to an overall projected increase in electricity consumption. Fenestration impacts the amount of energy consumed in commercial buildings for a variety of reasons: from affecting heating and cooling loads due to heat gain and loss, to impacting lighting uses and ventilation. In fact, fenestration is responsible for approximately 10% of energy use in buildings every year and inefficient windows can cost the U.S. $50 billion annually in energy waste. But new technologies can help.
- Being highly transparent and virtually invisible, Low-E coating can increase the insulating properties of glazing by reducing its ability to radiate energy.
- Thin-glass triple center layers represent a technology improvement that uses lightweight, thin layers to offer a highly insulating glazed product that can be easily installed everywhere.
- Dynamic or smart glazing is an innovation where fenestration systems change in response to climate, occupant preferences or programmed control logic.
- Vacuum-insulating systems (or VIGs) nearly eliminates thermal conductivity of the gas between panes of glass in an insulating glass unit and reduces overall heat transfer with a Low-E coating.
- Daylight redirection technologies can increase the amount of daylight that is available in interior spaces, thus reducing energy use with electric lighting.
Although the building construction still faces challenges related to building material costs, supply constraints and traditionally low margins, the report highlights how these significant advances in technology are evidence of a continuous shift toward more energy efficiency commercial building practices. As a matter of fact, the NFRC is developing a new commercial certification program introducing new changes that will make it easier to maximize energy efficiency in the built environment.
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The Understanding Window, Door & Skylight Certification webinar is designed to help architects and remodelers understand the benefits of window, door and skylight certification and how certified products can enhance their projects.
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