AAMA And NFRC Certifications
Last updated on 07/28/2022
Are you in the market for new windows? Whether you're building a new home or simply making renovations, it pays to look for premium, high-performing models.
As you begin to research your options, you may notice that some windows feature an AAMA and NFRC certification. With so many bells and whistles to consider and prioritize, is this one that should catch your attention?
The answer is yes. Today, we're sharing what these certifications include, what it means for you, and how you can use this knowledge to make an informed purchasing decision.
What Is an AAMA Certification?
This acronym stands for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. If a manufacturer's window is AAMA-certified, then this means that it's has met strict AAMA standards for quality and performance.
Recognized as the top trade organization for window manufacturers and industry professionals, the AAMA was established in 1936. Since then, it's worked to establish specifications that guide manufacturers, suppliers, and laboratories alike.
These regulations are intricate, and span more than just the window itself. In addition, the AAMA also details the types of materials and components that manufacturers should use. Manufacturers can seek third-party verification to certify that their products meet or exceed these standards.
As many AAMA guidelines center around safety and durability, it's no surprise that many state and national building codes reference them. This includes codes developed by leading industry organizations, including the International Code Council (ICC) and International Building Code (IBC), among others.
Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance
In January 1, 2020, the AMA teamed up with the Insulating Glass Manufacturing Alliance (IGMA). This partnership resulted in the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance, or FGIA.
Now, all activities for AAMA and IGMA are performed under the FGIA name, and all certifications since the partnership date bear the FGIA logo. The FGIA sets performance standards for windows, as well as doors and skylights. Guidelines cover all manufacturing and building aspects from glass to framing.
Achieving AAMA Certification
If you're installing new windows, then you'll look for the FGIA certification, as noted. However, some windows will still bear the AAMA certification emblem. There are two primary AAMA certifications available: Gold Label and Silver Label.
Gold Label Certification
To receive a Gold Label AAMA certification, window manufacturers have to submit product samples to independent, unbiased testing teams, as well as undergo on-site inspections. These teams will check the product's features against AAMA standards to ensure compliance in the following categories:
- Water leakage
- Air leakage
- Structural strength
- Forced entry performance
- Lifecycle durability
- Component performance
The AAMA Gold Label Certification Program is still in effect today, even after the FGIA merger. Unfortunately, there have been unscrupulous manufacturers who have affixed faux gold labels on their products in an attempt to imitate the real thing. If you have any questions about the validity of a label, then you can check the product details on the FGIA's Certified Product Directory.
Silver Label Certification
Silver Label AAMA certifications were designed to ensure optimal thermal performance. Manufacturers could seek this certification in addition to their Gold Label recognition. It measured the following window features:
- Air filtration
- Weather stripping
- Thermal transmittance
Today, there are no new Silver Label AAMA certifications issued. Instead, the FGIA serves as a designated Inspection Agency for the NFRC's thermal certification program, described below.
Achieving NFRC Certification
This acronym stands for National Fenestration Rating Council. Like the AAMA, the NFRC is committed to establishing and monitoring energy-specific performance standards for windows, doors, and skylights. "Fenestration" is the term used to collectively described these types of openings.
To achieve this recognition, manufacturers must complete the NFRC Product Certification Program. This is an 11-step process that includes rigorous testing and verification. Specific NFRC Inspection Agencies can participate in the program, which also requires products to go through a test lab and validation lab.
Performance standards verified during the accreditation process include:
- Visible transmittance
- Solar heat gain coefficient
- Air leakage
These factors help homeowners break down a window's energy performance on a more granular level than you'll find in an ENERGY STAR rating alone.
As with the AAMA frauds, you may also come across a window advertised as being NFRC certified, when it actually isn't. You can enter the product details into the NFRC Certified Products Directory to double-check.
What Does an AAMA and NFRC Certification Mean to Homeowners?
When you purchase windows that are AAMA and NFRC certified, then that means those products aren't just attractive additions to your home. They're also verifiably rugged, safe, and designed to last.
In the case of NFRC, certification also means that they're energy-efficient and can help you achieve valuable cost savings and performance improvements within your home.
As you review the different options on the marketplace, look for the AAMA Gold Label and NFRC Label. If you are unsure about a product's certification status, then you can reach out to the manufacturer for more information. You can also contact our team of window replacement contractors, who are well-versed on the features of the products we carry.
Find Your New Windows Today
There are many different aspects to consider as you shop for new windows. From sizing measurements and material finishes to quality and safety standards, you want to make sure that the ones you install will look great and last for years.
Now that you know a little more about the AAMA and NFRC certification process, you'll know to look for these labels as you weigh your different options.
Ready to receive a free, no-obligation window estimate from a local, pre-screened contractor in your area? Contact us today to get started by filling out the form at the top of the page!