NFRC's CMA program at the two-year mark
It's been nearly two years since the National Fenestration Rating Council officially launched its Component Modeling Approach program. NFRC created CMA to make it easier to rate, certify and document U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient and visible transmittance values for nonresidential fenestration.
Today, California's nonresidential building energy codes (Title 24) require the use of CMA, default rating values or simple equations to demonstrate compliance with its fenestration energy requirements.
Unlike NFRC's temporary label for residential products, the CMA program does not label each product. Instead, NFRC lists the certified values for CMA-rated products on a single document for the entire project, called the label certificate. NFRC issued the first label certificate in April 2009 to a research center at Utah State University in Logan.
Since then, NFRC has issued label certificates to projects in more than a dozen states, including K-12 and university buildings, recreation and community centers, residential projects, military buildings, healthcare facilities and even a performing arts center in Las Vegas. We are seeing a notable level of CMA activity in Utah and Washington, particularly in Seattle, among the cities at the forefront of sustainable building.
CMA can be used to rate commercial windows, doors, skylights, curtain wall and storefront. The process to get a label certificate involves just a few steps. First, the design team uses pre-approved, NFRC-rated components (frames, glazing and spacers) to configure a product in the CMA Software Tool (CMAST). After determining the appropriate design reflecting project specifications and local energy codes, CMAST generates energy performance ratings for the whole product. At this point, the ratings aren't certified. To become certified, the party responsible for meeting fenestration energy codes on the project (who we call the specifying authority), has an NFRC-Approved Calculation Entity (ACE) certify the ratings and issue a label certificate to be used for code compliance purposes.
CMA uses NFRC 100 and 200 procedures – required by both ASHRAE 90.1 and the International Energy Conservation Code – to generate U-factor, SHGC and visible transmittance ratings. CMA can also be used for LEED projects, because they require ASHRAE 90.1.
What's next for CMA? Some NFRC members have expressed interest in expanding the program to the residential sector. In response, NFRC recently created a task team to explore the possibility.
The author is CEO of the National Fenestration Rating Council. He has been involved in developing product and performance standards for the window and glass industry for more than 25 years. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.