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UL Fenestration Expert Dennis Anderson Discusses His Role in Testing for Thermal Efficiency

May 23, 2017

Dennis Anderson is the technical leader for UL’s Building Envelope Performance Test Lab focusing on thermal efficiency simulation and testing services for fenestration products (i.e. windows and doors). He joined UL in August 2016 from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and is leading the design and development of UL’s latest Northbrook laboratory.

Moderator: What motivated you to join UL, Dennis?

Dennis: Joining UL allows me the opportunity to apply my engineering skills to design a laboratory that will evaluate manufacturers’ fenestration products for parameters that measure  energy performance.


Moderator: Please tell our readers about your background.

Dennis: I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in manufacturing engineering in 1992. From there I went to work for a couple of private labs where I conducted thermal testing and continued to research on my own about the technical aspects of the fenestration industry. The NFRC then hired me to work on their laboratory accreditation program for fenestration testing, which then led to program manager.  


Moderator: Please tell us your responsibilities and activities at UL.

Dennis: My first responsibility as a technical lead for the Building Envelope Performance Test Lab was to attain NFRC-accreditation for UL as a simulation lab for the energy performance of windows, doors, shading systems and component modeling. I was able to accomplish this task, and as a result, UL is now an NFRC accredited lab. Now my time is focused on the final stages of completing our thermal testing chamber in order to apply for NFRC-accredited testing lab status. This allows UL to be a one-stop shop for manufacturers by offering thermal simulations and thermal product testing all in one location.


Moderator: Tell us about the lab and its capabilities.

Dennis: The lab is a 63,000 square foot test laboratory located in Northbrook, IL that provides performance testing of the building envelope for determining the rate of air infiltration, water penetration, structural, impact and cyclic performance. The lab features a thermal chamber that is approximately 6700 cubic feet in size. The chamber is comprised of two different climatic sides. The cold side has fans that can create up to 33mph wind speeds which can be chilled down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm side is comprised of heaters and small fans to create an interior room environment of warm air (typically 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and natural convection. The finished chamber will allow UL to measure the rate of heat loss or "U-factor" of windows and doors.


Moderator: How will UL customers benefit from the lab?

Dennis: Customers that currently use UL for windstorm testing will now be able to use UL for energy performance as well. This lab will reduce the time and costs that manufacturers incur in pursuing certifications of their products, such as NFRC and EPA Energy Star.


Dennis Anderson is an NFRC certified simulator and chairs ASTM task groups. He has served in the U.S. Army and enjoys ice hockey, golfing, and scuba diving.

Interested in learning more about UL’s thermal efficiency testing? Contact us today.