California's ground-breaking requirement for window films
It’s been more than four years since NFRC began to certify applied film products. Since then, the number of NFRC-certified films has grown to more than 200.
The window film industry turned to NFRC because they wanted independent verification of their products’ energy performance to demonstrate to consumers, architects, contractors, facility managers, and others that their products would perform as advertised.
Now, the window film industry has another reason to certify its products – the California Energy Commission included window film requirements in its 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, more commonly known as “Title 24.” Starting in January 2014, the CEC will require that applied films be NFRC-certified for alterations in existing residential and nonresidential buildings. The International Window Film Association hailed it as a ‘landmark’ decision.
The decision is good news for customers who want to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison of applied film products’ energy performance values. NFRC uses a different label than the temporary residential label to distinguish applied film ratings from window ratings. Unlike the familiar rectangular label for residential windows, the applied film label is oval in shape and features six columns of ratings, listing U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient and Visible Transmittance values with film and without film. The manufacturer attaches the NFRC label to the package containing the window film, rather than the film itself, so that clients and customers can easily see the ratings.
NFRC designed its applied film rating and certification program, governed by NFRC standards 100 and 200, to mirror the third-party process used for fenestration products. Manufacturers sign a license agreement, choose an NFRC-accredited simulation laboratory (or test laboratory if testing is required), select an NFRC-licensed certification and inspection agency to authorize the certification and inspect the manufacturing facility annually, and recertify the product every four years.
With the change in California energy code, NFRC expects more window film manufacturers to rate their products. Even without this change, window film manufacturers benefit from rating their products through NFRC. Certified ratings provide a level playing field, and manufacturers can increase their credibility because they’ve made the effort to have a third-party confirm the energy performance of their products.
Jim Benney is the National Fenestration Rating Council’s chief executive officer. He has been involved in developing product and performance standards for the window and glass industry for more than 25 years. He can be reached at email@example.com. To learn more about Title 24 and applied films, contact Nelson Peña at Nelson.Pena@energy.ca.gov.