Eight years ago, when I started building pet doors, my goal was nothing short of changing the industry. I knew that I was building pet doors that were far more energy efficient than any others available, and I wanted to prove it with industry standard testing. Unfortunately, that standard of testing didn’t exist.
I found out about the National Fenestration Ratings Commission (NFRC) pretty early in my research. The NFRC was formed several years before that, in part because of over-zealous claims of energy efficiency made by window, door, and other product manufacturers that make accessories that attach to the envelope of homes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
When I inquired about getting my product rated by the NFRC, they were busy with other products and couldn’t work on pet doors. So I poked around in the Department of Energy (www.energy.gov) as to any pet door requirements as fenestration products for residential homes. I learned that pet doors were not specifically addressed in codes, as they are not a universal part of homes, nor are they included in plans or covered by code or inspection. Since then, I have been working toward getting independent, third-party standards recognized for pet doors.
As they say, the longer you practice your craft the better you get. In my case, I have also become better at networking over the last eight years. Last year I joined the NFRC (www.nfrc.org) as a full member and went to the fall meeting. (update: Freedom Pet Pass is no longer a member of NFRC)
With contacts made at the NFRC, we are working to develop a standard for wall mounted pet doors with the California Energy Commission Ca. Title 24 residential building code (www.energy.ca.gov/title24), since no such code existed. A worldwide recognized thermal laboratory is working on developing a set of energy efficiency tests specific to pet doors. The aim of these tests will be to provide independent, third-party data for pet doors acceptable to Ca. Title 24, the first step in allowing pet doors to be designed architecturally into the walls of brand new homes that meet stringent California building code.
Thus far, Freedom Pet Pass is the only pet door company willing to pay to have its doors tested. The test results will be shared on our website as they become available.
Allowing architects to design a home with pets in mind, providing pet door locations suiting the needs of both pets and their owners makes perfect sense to me. This should be designed up front, rather than as an afterthought attached somewhere to the envelope of the home. My goal is to legitimize the pet door industry with official tests and standards. Ca. Title 24 is a great place to start, and development of an NFRC Certification and Label is the ultimate goal.