Life Cycle Analysis Moves Forward
The industry is getting closer to life cycle analysis data
for windows, for both the commercial and residential industries, but before
research groups can move forward, some say further funding is needed.
That was the message from Kerry Haglund, senior research fellow, Center
for Sustainable Building Research, University of Minnesota, when she addressed
members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA)
during the association’s recent annual meeting. (Haglund also spoke to
members of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance as well as to members
of the Glass Association of North America during Glass Week in March.)
Haglund explained that life cycle assessment (LCA) is an analytical method
used to comprehensively quantify and interpret the environmental flows
to and from the environment (including emissions to air, land, and water,
as well as the consumption of energy and material resources), over the
entire life cycle of a product (or process or service). However, what’s
available is limited.
“There is no current LCA data for windows in the United States,” said
Haglund. However, the University of Minnesota and the Athena Institute
are working to gather this data for the residential market, and, once
collected, it will be entered into the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s
national database. The National Institute for Standards and Technology
also is looking into LCA, she explained.
Haglund said she has heard requests from both the Department of Energy’s
Energy Star® program and door and window manufacturers for LCA data.
But Haglund said more is needed, and asked AAMA to contribute $60,000
for phase one and $24,000 for phase two so the Center can continue its
efforts. She also requested the same amount from the Window and Door Manufacturers
Association. An additional $30,000 for phase one and $18,000 for phase
two has been requested from both IGMA and GANA. At press time, Haglund
told DWM magazine that she hadn’t heard from any of the associations regarding
USDA to Promote Wood as Green Building Material
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in April the USDA’s strategy
to promote the use of wood as a green building material. Vilsack outlined
a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service’s and USDA’s current green
“Wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green
building materials. Forest Service studies show that wood compares favorably
to competing materials,” says Vilsack.
The strategy includes the following parts:
1. The U.S. Forest Service will preferentially select wood in new building
construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green building
standards. USDA will also make a commitment to using wood and other agricultural
products as it fulfills President Obama’s executive order on Federal Leadership
in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance.
2. The Secretary has asked the U.S. Forest Service to examine ways to
increase its already strong commitment to green building by reporting
on ways to enhance the research and development being done around green
3. The U.S. Forest Service will actively look for opportunities to demonstrate
the innovative use of wood as a green building material for all new structures
of 10,000 square feet or more using recognized green building standards
such as LEED, Green Globes or the National Green Building Standard.
In carrying out this initiative, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell issued
a directive to all units calling for increased use of locally milled timber
in all new agency buildings and facilities. Secretary Vilsack also directed
the heads of all other USDA agencies to incorporate the Forest Service
policy of using domestic sustainable wood products as the preferred green
building material for all USDA facilities and buildings.
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