Tips for Tackling NFRC Bid Reports and Label Certificates

By Joe Schiavone
August 28, 2017
COMMERCIAL

The landscape of building energy codes is changing, and glazing contractors must adapt to remain competitive. Regulating bodies in nearly every state are now mandating minimum U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Visible Light Transmittance due to the pressing need to conserve energy. Because of this, the role of the National Fenestration Rating Council as a certifying agency is becoming more prevalent.

The NFRC develops and administers independent energy-related rating and certification programs that provide accurate and credible information on fenestration performance. Building officials rely on these programs to verify fenestration code compliance. To remain competitive, glazing contractors must understand how increasingly stringent energy codes and the NFRC impact the bidding process. And, with proper preparation, companies will be able to circumvent the considerable effects they have on the bidding process.

To successfully bid on jobs, glaziers should become familiar with the fenestration system certification process, which includes NFRC Bid Reports and Label Certificates.

NFRC Bid Reports

Supplying an NFRC Bid Report as part of the proposal package is required for almost every commercial project. NFRC Bid Reports are used to determine if a fenestration system can meet the energy code requirements in a given jurisdiction. Manufacturers create bid reports using the NFRC's Component Modeling Approach Software Tool, which consolidates performance data for NFRC-certified fenestration components. They often supply these reports to glazing contractors at little to no cost. It’s important for manufacturers to produce these reports quickly since they expedite the bidding process and prequalify proposals. To produce a bid report, the manufacturer needs the following information:

  • glazing, including gas fill
  • spacer
  • framing system.

The bid report takes these three components into account to produce a whole-product rating for the U-factor, SHGC and VLT, according to NFRC 100 and 200 testing protocol. Many building codes are requiring minimum U-factors, SHGCs and VLTs for all fenestration, and manufacturer-supplied bid reports offer the information needed for the calculations. Knowing the project's energy-performance requirements also helps the manufacturer configure a code-compliant system.

Bid reports provide performance data for each fenestration component specified in the architectural drawings. This includes all doors, windows and skylights. The performance data is based on standard test sizes set forth by the NFRC. Bid reports also include performance data for actual product sizes/areas, which can be used by the architect or energy consultant to determine the energy requirements for specific systems such as the HVAC system. This is critical to conducting the whole-building energy performance calculations needed in order to meet energy codes.

NFRC Label Certificates

NFRC Bid Reports are for bidding and design purposes only. They cannot be used to certify that a fenestration system is code compliant. For this reason, more projects are requiring NFRC Label Certificates.

Code officials use NFRC Label Certificates to verify that the installed fenestration system meets the energy requirements set forth by the state or local jurisdiction. They list the individual fenestration components used, and the actual sizes and performance ratings of these components. Label certificates can only be created and issued by an Approved Calculation Entity in accordance with NFRC procedures.

Glazing contractors must determine whether a label certificate will be required for a project to avoid time delays and unexpected costs. They will be responsible for supplying the information needed to issue one, and will often have to work with manufacturers to obtain this information.

Joe Schiavone is director of sales for C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., crl-arch.com, crlaurence.com. If there is a specific topic you would like him to address in his article series, write him at joe_schiavone@crlaurence.com.