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NFRC and Energy Codes

The NFRC Label: A Tool for Meeting and Exceeding Building Energy Codes

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) puts a label on windows so you can tell whether they meet or exceed building energy codes.

The NFRC label is important because energy is important. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the amount of energy lost annually through windows is $35 billon.

Furthermore, the DOE says the average American household spends $1500 - $2500 every year on energy bills and estimates that 45 percent of this amount is for heating and cooling. By using the NFRC label to ensure they are meeting building energy codes, consumers can reduce their energy costs while improving their comfort.

When you see the NFRC label on a window that means it has been tested by an independent, third-party who has no vested interest in the outcome of the test. The label certifies that the window will perform the way its manufacturer says it will perform. You can then easily determine for yourself whether the performance values shown on the label meet the building energy codes for your home. It’s just that simple.

This kind of unbiased testing provides consumers with peace of mind. It empowers them to purchase windows with confidence, and it assures them they are making the right decision for themselves and investing wisely in their homes.

The NFRC label is highly regarded and commands respect throughout the building industry. In fact, to qualify for an ENERGY STAR® label, residential windows must be NFRC certified. NFRC’s rigorous certification program has even served as a model for some of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to develop its new certification body requirements.

NFRC’s user-friendly Certified Products Directory (CPD) contains more than three million products that consumers can compare – quickly and easily. The tool is always accessible at

Contact NFRC at 301-589-1776 to learn more about how easy it is to meet building energy codes for your home and make your energy dollars go further.

NFRC, Building Energy Codes, and You


Requirements for fenestration products (windows and other glazed products) have been in the building codes for many years. Typically these requirements had more to do with structural performance and safety glazing than with energy. However, since the 1970s, energy code requirements have been established for windows in both residential and commercial construction.

NFRC’s sole mission is to establish a fair, accurate, and credible rating system for fenestration products and to coordinate certification and labeling activities to ensure their uniform application. NFRC’s rating procedure is designed to meet the requirement of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and certain federal government program requirements (DOE, FTC).

Use NFRC RatingsResidential construction is typically defined as one and two family dwellings; while commercial buildings encompass all else, including high rise residential, and office buildings, hospitals, dormitories and the like.


The first commercial building energy code that was adopted on a widespread basis by many states was ASHRAE 90.1–89. The first residential building energy codes adopted by many states were the 1992, 1993 and 1995 versions of the Council of American Building Official’s (CABO’s) Model Energy Code (MEC). The Energy Policy Act of 1992 required states to meet or achieve the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1–89 and to review their existing energy codes to see how they compared to CABO’s MEC.

Since that time, ASHRAE 90.1–99 was published with significant revisions to the 1989 version. In an effort to harmonize building codes across the United States, an International Code Council was formed. As a result the CABO’s MEC was revised to become the first International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The first IECC building energy code was published in 2000 and included both residential and commercial buildings requirements.

Note, every energy code provides regulatory, prescriptive, and system or design requirements.

Codes Education

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) provides continuing education courses taught by industry experts. These courses offer unique insight to those seeking to make their homes and buildings more energy efficient.

NFRC’s ratings programs play a vital role in achieving greener, more sustainable buildings, and its continuing education courses are a solid investment in your organization’s future. They will prepare your staff to better serve your customers by strengthening their expertise, which will ultimately improve your stature among your stakeholders.

Contact NFRC's Senior Manager, Communications and Marketing, Tom Herron, at 240-821-9505 to schedule a class.

View NFRC's Course Catalog Here