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The CMA Certification Process for California

May 26, 2011

The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Component Modeling Approach (CMA) Product Certification Program (PCP) enables whole-product energy performance ratings for commercial fenestration projects using performance data from the three primary components of fenestration: frames, spacers and glazing. The CMA combines individual information on the three components to generate the energy performance rating of the complete fenestration product according to NFRC 100 and 200. The whole product rating information is incorporated into a CMA Label Certificate for product certification.

The NFRC-validated component performance values are maintained in an NFRC-Approved Component Library Database. Approved components can be accessed and used to configure a whole product rating for any fenestration system using them.

In addition to providing a way to generate certified performance ratings for fenestration products, architects, specifiers and others can download the CMA Software (CMAST) and use it as a design and development tool to model different fenestration options.

The CMA PCP unfolds in four key steps:

  1. A component manufacturer develops thermal performance values for their respective components. Glazing manufacturers obtain the optical properties of the glazing in accordance with NFRC 300. Spacer manufacturers submit spacer data and framing manufacturers have cross-sections modeled at an NFRC-accredited simulation laboratory; then detailed drawings of a Bill of Materials are submitted and thermo-physical properties of materials not listed in the NFRC materials database are provided. This can be done by an NFRC-accredited laboratory or NFRC directly, depending upon the approval path selected by the manufacturer. The values obtained are reviewed by either an NFRC-licensed Independent Certification and Inspection Agency (IA) or NFRC.
  1. A Specifying Authority (e.g., architect, engineer or supplier) seeking product certification authorization under CMA PCP uses the component library and contracts with an NFRC Approved Calculation Entity (ACE) to calculate the fenestration system energy indices for the whole product for which NFRC certification is required. At present, a specifying authority may elect to rate products for U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) and Visible Transmittance (VT), and include those ratings on the NFRC Component Modeling Approach Program Label Certificate. Optionally, Air Leakage (AL) can also be obtained using NFRC 400.
The Specifying Authority enters into a License Agreement with NFRC and provides the following data to the ACE:
  1. Detailed information on the construction of the insulating glazing unit(s) (i.e., number of glass lites, glass type, glass thickness, glass coating type and location, glazing gap width and gas content and percentage fill, if applicable)
  2. Detailed information on the IGU spacer
  3. Detailed information of the framing system construction
The Specifying Authority also verifies that the insulating glass manufacturer has certified the IGU construction through a third-party IGU certification glass unit rating program.
  1. Using The NFRC CMA software tool (CMAST), the ACE calculates the rating values (U-factor, SHGC and VT) for the fenestration system(s) in a given project and generates a CMA Label Certificate using the performance values of the components in the library that were selected by the Specifying Authority. Then, the ACE provides fenestration product rating calculations to an IA for review.
An individual or a manufacturer or independent organization can be designated as an ACE. To qualify as an ACE, an individual must obtain a Certificate of Approval as having successfully completed the NFRC Calculation Training Workshop and passed all required examinations. To become licensed by NFRC as an ACE Organization, the organization must employ or contract with at least one individual who has a current Certificate of Approval as an ACE, submit an application to NFRC and execute an NFRC License Agreement.
  1. An NFRC-licensed individual reviews simulation laboratory and test laboratory reports prepared by NFRC-accredited laboratories for both components and complete fenestration units, reviews calculation reports prepared by an ACE and conducts in-plant inspections.
Product certification occurs when a product’s ratings become part of a CMA Label Certificate. Products for which label certificates are issued are maintained in the NFRC CMAST Certified Products Directory (CPD). Products certified for a particular project can be used in subsequent projects.

AAMA was approved in December 2009 as an Approved Independent Inspection and Certification Agency (IA) for NFRC’s CMA Program.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) incorporated CMA as one of three standard approaches to prove compliance with the state's 2008 Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards for non-residential buildings.

Manufacturers of components for fenestration products developed for the California market may wish to explore having their components approved by NFRC and listed in the CMA component library. Commercial fenestration manufacturers selling into the California market may likewise wish to consider certifying their products through the CMA PCP. Knowing how trends typically track, other Western Region states are likely to follow suit.


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