NFRC Certification Labeling Guide

All the product options have been defined, the labs issued the NFRC Simulation & Test Reports, and you received the official NFRC Certification Authorization Reports (CARs) from Keystone. WHAT’S NEXT? … certification labeling!

Manufacturers can’t legally claim their products are NFRC certified unless production units are NFRC certification labeled. Production labeling is the last in a series of steps that together provide credibility to your company & products. Certification labeling is the North American method to demonstrate fenestration products conform to building codes, energy incentive programs and architectural specifications.

Keystone Certifications offers this Guide to assist our NFRC IA services licensees to establish a reliable and accurate process for the application of NFRC certification labels to production fenestration.

Building Officials, architects and homeowners all depend on certification labels to know that fenestration products are specification/building code or energy incentive program compliant.

2.1 Building Codes

Both US states and Canadian provinces adopt building codes that specify minimum energy performance requirements for fenestration products using NFRC certified ratings based on the climate zone where the product will be installed. US fenestration energy performance requirements are found in the International Residential Code (IRC) or the International Building Code (IBC). Consult this list of IRC/IBC adoptions by state to find which code revisions are applicable in your market region.

Canadian fenestration energy performance requirements are found in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), and may be subject to additional requirements as specified by each province.

2.2 Energy Incentive Programs

State / Provincial and local governments, as well as public utilities in the private sector often offer energy conservation incentives to their citizens / customers. These incentive programs are typically based on the performance requirements established by the US & Canadian ENERGY STAR® Programs, and will require the manufacturer to be an ENERGY STAR Partner. Manufacturers demonstrate their products meet ENERGY STAR requirements using NFRC certification labeling integrated with the ENERGY STAR Map.

2.3 Architectural Specifications

Architects, builders and building owners often prescribe energy performance requirements for their projects that may exceed the applicable building code requirements. Manufacturers must ensure the product configurations sold to such “architect-spec’d” jobs meet or exceed the specified requirements, then demonstrate compliance using NFRC certification labeling.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) establishes strict guidelines for the design & use of certification labels.

3.1 Requirements Overview

The NFRC Product Certification Program product labeling requirements can be found in NFRC 700, Section 6, Product Labeling, and Appendix A, Layout and Design Formats for NFRC Temporary Certification Labels.

”Window, door and skylight products shall not be NFRC certified unless they have a permanent label and a temporary label.”

3.2 Permanent Label Requirements

NFRC Permanent labels may be in the form of an applied label, a tab extension to another permanent certification label or indelible marks / etchings applied directly to the product or glazing. All of which must meet the following:

  • NFRC identification in the form of the “NFRC” wordmark or registered NFRC logo.
  • Licensee’s identification, such as manufacturer name, trademark, logo or NFRC “Licensee Code”.
  • Product line identification number as assigned by Keystone.

Note barcoding may be included, but may not be used in lieu of this alpha numeric info. Keystone licensees typically apply Keystone pre-printed gold-foil permanent labels (illustrated below) to product frames hidden by the sash in the closed position. A more discreet clear mylar version is available, typically used for fixed window products.

Gold Foil 5” x 9/16” Clear Mylar 1-⅜” x ½”

Illustrations, quantities and pricing for all Keystone-printed certification labels and label templates are available in our online Label Catalog. Keystone licensees wishing to print NFRC permanent certification labels on demand must execute a separate “Printing Permanent Certification Label License Agreement”. See the Label Procurement Section and contact Keystone for details.

3.3 Temporary Label Requirements

NFRC Temporary (“Temps”) are typically placed on an interior glazing surface of the production fenestration.

The size, format and content of NFRC Temporary Labels (“Temps”) is strictly defined in NFRC 700, Section 6.5 and Appendix A, Layout and Design Formats for NFRC Temporary Certification Labels. Temps may be printed as a portion of larger labels that may include ENERGY STAR map, installation or other manufacturer-defined information, provided the content within the Temp border meets Section 6.5 requirements. Illustrations, quantities and pricing for all Keystone-printed certification labels and label templates are available in our online Label Catalog.

Properly identifying the NFRC Permanent & Temporary labels to be applied to production units requires the manufacturer to understand the information contained in the NFRC Certification Authorization Report (CAR). Keystone issues digital (.pdf) versions of the official NFRC CARs and creates the product listings in the NFRC Certified Products Directory (CPD) after full validation review of the lab-issued Simulation and Validation Test Reports.

4.1 Product Line, Product and CPD Numbers

Every CAR is assigned a unique Product Line Number in the following format:

The CAR captures all information relevant to the NFRC Certification & Labeling of the corresponding products. Product configuration definitions and associated energy performance ratings for each product configuration provided to the Simulation Lab are included in the CAR.

Each such configuration is represented by a row in the CAR and is assigned a unique “Product Number”. The concatenation of the Product Line Number and the Product Number is referred to as the “CPD Number”, thus:

4.2 Identifying the Applicable CPD Number

It is essential that the manufacturer can identify the CPD Number corresponding to each product configuration produced. Distinguishing the proper CPD Number can be a challenge when CARs include hundreds or even thousands of Product Numbers. Start with the information contained in the “Manufacturer Code” column. The NFRC provides a code “Key” listing for the info used in the other columns.

Tip: While low-e coatings are only identified by their emissivity in the “Low-E (Surface)” column, an abbreviation can typically be found in the “Manufacturer Code” field.

For complex CARs with hundreds of Product Numbers, Keystone recommends downloading an Excel spreadsheet version of the CAR, available from NFRC Certified Products Directory. Navigate a Directory Search to the desired Product Line, then click “Export to Excel” button to download. Users can then use the sort and filter features in Excel to narrow down the visible Product Numbers until the desired configuration & Product Number is found.

Manufacturers must choose an approach to obtain the finished Permanent & Temporary certification labels for application to certified products. The best approach varies by manufacturer circumstance and labeling complexity, consider:

  1. the number of different models / operator types to be certified & labeled,
  2. the number of variations (glazing and other options) offered,
  3. the production volume,
  4. if other certification labels will be applied,
  5. label printing hardware & software investment costs.

5.1 Manufacturers with Less Labeling Complexity

Manufacturers with less than 10 certified models / operator types, relatively few product variations and annual production volumes less than approximately 25,000 units typically purchase & inventory pre-printed Permanent and Temporary labels from Keystone. See Keystone’s online Label Catalog for label options quantities, pricing and ordering information.

5.2 Manufacturers with Moderate Labeling Complexity

Manufacturers with more than 10 certified models / operator types, with significant product variation offerings and annual production volumes between approximately 25,000 to 100,000 units should consider acquiring the capability to print their own NFRC Temporary labels, while continuing to purchase & inventory pre-printed Permanent labels from Keystone. Fenestration manufacturing software producers typically offer optional Temporary label printing modules that can be programmed to print the applicable NFRC Temporary label based on the product configuration ordered. Manufacturers may set up scan & print capability at the final assembly stations for each line. See Keystone’s online Label Catalog for Temporary label “Template” options and contact Keystone for guidance in establishing Temporary label printing capability.

5.3 Manufacturers with Considerable Labeling Complexity

Manufacturers with more than about 25 certified models / operator types, with significant product variation offerings and annual production volumes greater than approximately 100,000 units should consider acquiring the capability to print both NFRC Permanent and Temporary labels. Manufacturers printing Permanent labels are required to execute a “Printing Permanent Label License Agreement” and employ “Template” Permanent labels sourced from Keystone.

Printing both label types typically doubles the label printing investment versus printing Temps only, but fenestration manufacturing software producers typically offer optional Permanent and Temporary label printing modules that can be programmed to print the both labels based on the product configuration ordered. Manufacturers may set up scan & print capability (1 printer for Perms, 1 printer for temps) at the final assembly stations for each line. See Keystone’s online Label Catalog for label “Template” options and contact Keystone for guidance in establishing Permanent & Temporary label printing capability.

Energy performance ratings vary with product configuration, such as low e, tints and reinforcements.

  • Permanent labels are unique to the model / operator type,
  • Temporary labels are unique to the product configuration.

Each configuration is represented by a unique “CPD Number” (row) in the associated NFRC Certification Authorization Report (CAR) – see Understanding NFRC Certification Authorization Reports. The unique information on each Temporary label comes from the CAR, associated by the CPD Number (the associated CPD No is printed on the Temp).

6.1 Establishing the NFRC Labeling Process

Manufacturers must develop a process that ensures the application of NFRC Permanent and Temporary labels that accurately represent each production unit. Product configuration details are typically recorded at the time of order entry, then communicated to the production floor electronically or documented on a work order or production schedule. Consider who will select the applicable Permanent and Temporary labels for application to products, then provide this Guide and other training to ensure the individual is competent.

Labels are typically applied at the time of final assembly, before packaging. Labels may be included in a traveling “Job Packet”, selected from a rack of pre-printed labels or printed on demand through the manufacturing software (see Label Production Options). Permanent labels are typically applied to the head of the frame, covered by the sash in the closed position. Temporary labels are typically applied to an interior glazing surface, placed roughly at eye level.