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September - October 2002

What’s News

meeting news
WDMA Hosts Technical Conference


The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) held its annual technical conference May 8-9, 2002, in Chicago. The conference attracted 156 attendees—a big jump from last year’s 102 registrants. 

Alan Campbell, WDMA president and Kurt Heikkila, WDMA’s chairperson of the board, offered some opening remarks to attendees. Both focused on the fact that the WDMA will be raising awareness with architects and builders. They also stressed to WDMA members that the association will be focused intently on its technical programs.

“We are now positioning the WDMA as a reliable organization to get technical information,” said Campbell. In fact, he added that the association’s technical handbook will be the cornerstone for all future WDMA activities. 

While the conference consisted of a variety of speakers and meetings, one of the key points of the meeting was the fact that the WDMA signed a historic agreement with the Euro Windoor association. Frank Koos, deputy secretary general and head of the technical department for Euro Windoor, attended the conference. After exchanging information with members of the WDMA’s technical committees, the WDMA said it became apparent that the two associations share the same philosophies and objectives and face many similar issues. 

In this agreement both organizations have agreed to exchange information on market trends for windows, doors and similar products, as well as share public-design and installation-technology information. The organizations have also agreed to provide information on standards, voluntary specifications and other technical know-how. To exchange information, the organizations plan to use appropriate means such as correspondence and personal visits, said the WDMA. 

Another eagerly anticipated portion of the meeting occurred when Scott Shober of Ducker Worldwide presented portions of recent research performed by Ducker concerning the window and door industry. According to Shober, the company is releasing three studies this year: a short summary on trends (11 separate geographic regions); a detailed market study that tracks production trends to the point of products leaving the dock; and a channel/distribution study.
Speaking of the construction industry in general, Shober said 2001 was a volatile year. “On the non-residential side, 2001 had a poor fourth quarter,” said Shober. 

He said 2002 should see an increase of 2 to 3 percent growth, while projected housing starts will show small gains.

“Things should hold steady until 2005 when we’ll see some growth again,” he added. 

Concerning the residential door market, Shober said U.S. volume is flat with 80.5 million units for 2001, which should hold pretty constant for the next few years. 

U.S. volume for residential patio doors increased 1 percent during 2000; 3.7 million units in 2001; and 3.69 million predicted for 2002. Shober said wood is used more in new construction with a growth in hinged units over sliding because of the aesthetic preference by consumers. Vinyl is increasing in the replacement market for patio door sliding products. Additionally, Shober reported that low-E is in 85 percent of wood patio doors. “Wood dominates in new construction; vinyl in replacement,” he said. 

On the window side, Shober said two-lite, sealed insulating glass units consist of the vast majority of all residential type windows. Additionally, warm-edge spacers are taking market share from aluminum spacers; share is down to 6 percent from 18 percent in 1999.

Programs like the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and the Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR® Windows are gaining in popularity; three out of four windows have NFRC labels; one in three carries an ENERGY STAR rating, said Shober.

According to Ducker, the residential door market should hold steady for the next few years.


Norton Door Controls of Monroe, N.C., was recently presented with a Norton-brand, door-closing device dating back to 1882. Bill Keohane, president of Steeltech Building Products of South Windsor, Conn., presented Doug Millikan, general manager of Norton Door Controls, with the door closer… Signature Door Co. Inc. of Altoona, Pa., recently passed the hurricane test procedures in the United States for its full line of soft and hardwood entry door systems… The National Association of Manufacturers of Washington, D.C., recently established a partnership with the Internet Security Alliance to provide its 4,000 member 
companies with comprehensive computer security services… Zero International Inc. of Bronx, N.Y., has opened a new distribution center to service customers in the Western states. Located in Las Vegas, Nev., Zero's Western distribution center is designed to ship within 24 hours of receiving orders for in-stock items… CRC Industries Inc. of Warminster, Pa., has been selected by the Industrial Supply Manufacturers Association to receive the 2001 Value-Added Partner of the Year Award… IR Recognition Systems of Campbell, Calif., recently announced that national wholesaler distributor Access Hardware of San Leandro, Calif., will be handling its biometric HandKey II hand geometry readers.

AAMA Tackles Mold, Wild Fires and Codes
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) spent three sweltering June days in Annapolis, Md., working on code documents, standards and various other items of business. The event, which was held at the Loews Annapolis in the historic bay-front city, drew a large crowd. Many of the meetings, such as one on the hot topic of mold (see "The Cutting Edge" for related story,) brought standing-room-only crowds.

Tackling Mold
Mold was on everyone’s minds it seemed. (See "The Cutting Edge" and 36 for related stories.) Steven A. Haber of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippell LLP in Philadelphia gave a presentation on the recent surge in litigation about mold problems in homes. Haber recalled what an old problem mold actually is, despite its seemly new entrance into the media, as it was mentioned in the Bible in Leviticus 4, in which the author speaks of watching for the “infection within your walls.” Even Erin Brockovich, the lawyer upon whom the movie Erin Brockovich is based, is involved in a mold case currently, Haber said.

“One of the problems is that our windows are so energy-efficient now that they’re trapping in all the moisture and warmth, providing a perfect ground in which mold can grow,” he said.

In Texas, a $32 million award was given recently to a consumer who had complaints of mold and sued the builder of his home for mold growth and damage. Likewise, Farmers Insurance has excluded mold coverage from its policies, while Haber said other insurers are raising premiums for both consumers and manufacturers based on these claims. California has already instated mold legislation as well.

While Haber said most window manufacturers don’t have to worry about this problem yet, it is approaching, as homebuilders turn to the window industry to help prevent the problem.
“If you haven’t heard of this mold issue before, you probably will in the future,” he said. In the meantime, AAMA encouraged members to visit its website for some tips on preventing any claims of mold problems.

In addition, the AAMA mold-monitoring sub-task group had its first meeting to discuss its future monitoring of legal cases involving member manufacturers to see if the topic was worth further exploration and possibly a standard.

A Burning Topic
Fire was another hot topic, so to speak, especially in the aftermath of the recent wild fires in Colorado and Arizona. The interest in fire protection in urban/wildland interfaces was brought to the minds of AAMA members last year when a suburb of San Diego banned vinyl windows, saying they were not viable under fire conditions. While AAMA has been doing some testing this year on the topic, as has the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the association’s task group has decided to just issue a brochure on the matter and make it available to consumers. The title of the brochure will be “Issues of Wildland-Urban Interfaces as They Relate to Fenestration,” or something similar.

“Our point is going to be that it’s not the frame, it’s the glass [that’s a problem],” said one AAMA 

Doug Cole of Mikron added that it’s important to inform consumers about issues to consider when building homes, rather than preventing problems during the fire.

“The other part of this whole thing is to remove the fuel source from the area—don’t put the juniper trees under your window,” Cole said.

Tracy Rogers of Rogers Co., whom some referred to as the “report expert,” said the most important aspect was to target the right audience and make sure the report is geared toward that consumer audience.

They Want a Number
The Codes Working Group discussed windowsill heights and their ability to keep children from falling from windows. The International Code Council will debate this topic at its meeting in September in Texas and AAMA had to decide whether to take a stand on the issue. Jim Seely, an architect from the Texas area, said that if AAMA didn’t make a decision and take a stand, he was going to draft a personal request to the ICC to issue a 26-inch requirement on sill heights.

“The code people want a number,” Seely said. While little testing has been done on the issue, 26 inches is accepted generally as a sturdy sill height, according to those in attendance.

Julie Ruth, code consultant to AAMA, said that whether AAMA makes a decision now, the issue will be around for awhile.

“We know that this is something that’s not going away,” Ruth said.

However, Carl Wagus, executive director of AAMA, said the association needs to research the topic before making a judgement.

“There really needs to be some firm data here to what’s going to happen in the fall,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon us to go out and find some data for this.”

Based on that suggestion, AAMA decided not to make a judgment and Seely determined that he would issue his own personal suggestion to the ICC before the September meeting.

Cleveland Investment Firm Buys EAGLE Window & Door
Linsalata Capital Partners, a Cleveland-based private equity investment firm, has purchased EAGLE Window & Door Inc. of Dubuque, Iowa, according to EAGLE president David Beeken.
Beeken called the sale "excellent news" for EAGLE and its employees. "With the new ownership, we will be able to focus on what we do best—building quality windows and providing unparalleled service and support," he said.

When commenting on the sale, Beeken spoke of Eagle's new 390,000-square-foot-facility that was built recently, and the fact that the company has doubled in size since 1996, proving that "the company is poised for success."

"We'll continue to expand into new markets and unveil innovative products, which in turn will bring new jobs and opportunities for our employees," he said. 

Edgetech and Lisec Welcome Guests to Cambridge, Ohio 
From left to right: Edgetech president Michael Hovan and Tony Paula, vice president of Ventana USA, take a second to talk during the Edgetech-sponsored plant tour.

On a spring day in May, Edgetech IG welcomed several of its customers and some potential ones to its headquarters in Cambridge, Ohio, to tour the plant and see its latest machinery addition, its joint venture with Minneapolis-based Lisec America, the Automatic Super Spacer® TSS™ application machine. On hand for the event were Lisec America president Hubert Hastelsteiner, Edgetech president Mike B. Hovan, along with visitors from distant window companies such as Andersen Windows and the Pella Corp. 

Edgetech’s own Jim Plavecsky discussed the latest trends in the industry at a luncheon provided by Edgetech for its guests.

“Most of our customers are enjoying a business growth this year,” Plavecsky said. “The ones that are growing are taking market shares away from others.”

In the turbulent post-September 11 economy, Plavecsky said window companies are still faring well—despite the setbacks of many other manufacturing industries.

“The window industry is surprisingly stable,” he said.

A hot topic of the day—and the season—was Argon gas retention.

“Companies are really saying now, ‘if I’m going to use Argon I better do my homework and make sure it stays in there,’” Plavecsky said.

With visitors from several existing customers and potential customers, such as window giant Andersen, Plavecsky also made some predictions for the fenestration industry’s future.

“I think the trend is going to be for more codes to be made and more to be enforced,” he added.
In addition, he alluded to big future plans for Edgetech and said he expects sound-reduction glass products to be the industry’s next hot item.

“I can’t tell some of the top-secret stuff we’re doing, but I can tell you we’re doing some things with sound attenuation,” Plavecsky said.

Hastelsteiner, president of Edgetech’s newest partner, Lisec America, then took the stage with some comments on the two Midwest companies’ joint venture.

“What we’re really interested in is decreasing glass handling throughout the manufacturing process,” he said.

Hastelsteiner then shared a video with the large, lunch-filled group about their advanced, automated warm-edge solution for insulating glass production, the Automatic Super Spacer TSS application machine, which minimizes glass-handling in the insulating process.

“The record shows that we’ve had no failures with this system,” he said.

Finally, Hastelsteiner offered his services to the giant group and mingled among the guests, answering questions.

“We’ll be certain to tell you everything we know, and I hope that’s a lot,” Hastelsteiner said.
Associates from both companies offered tours of the facility and an up-close look at the machine—the new Super Spacer TSS application machine. According to both Edgetech, developer of the Super Spacer, and Lisec, the machine is fast, accurate, consistent and reliable. The spacer materials are changed easily from one roll to the next, and the machine employs Lisec’s automatic Super Spacer application technology. The machine is able to apply Super Spacer to units as small as 7 by 14 inches and shaped as both rectangles and shaped units.

Chicano Citizens Protest NAWLA Annual Meeting
"Citizens from Chicano communities joined environmentalists and labor leaders to condemn the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) in peaceful protest outside its 110th annual meeting," stated a recent release from ForestEthics and CU Rainforest Action Group.

"Around the world, logging is destroying endangered forests, tree farms are driving indigenous people off their lands and huge timber corporations are cutting costs by exploiting their workers. NAWLA and its members are profiteering on the traffic in wood products that supports these abuses. When consumers find out about this, NAWLA's members will face market campaigns like the one that pressured eight of the biggest do-it-yourself stores, including Home Depot, to change their purchasing policies," said Aaron Anger of ForestEthics.

"NAWLA has been using its influence to promote wood products from the tree farm companies taking the land of La Gente in Chile," said Shirley Otero, heir to the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and a native of San Luis, Colo. "And they need to realize that they can no longer keep the environmentalists and the Chicano community apart. We have made the connections between the environmental issues and our struggle to fight for our land."

When asked to comment on the protest and the arguments made in the ForestEthics and CU Rainforest Action Group release, Benjamin A. Stephens, NAWLA's director of information, referred to a release the NAWLA provided members of the press present at the meeting.

"While NAWLA has obvious philosophical differences with the groups protesting the 110th NAWLA annual meeting, we respectfully acknowledge they have every right to make their voices heard. We do not feel the environment—or our members—would benefit from these groups' active participation in the event. However, we have offered to facilitate a dialogue between our members and these groups in the near future. We sincerely hope they will take this unique opportunity to meet with our members," said the NAWLA.

Crystal's Double-Hung Receives H-AW90 Rating
Crystal Window & Door Systems of Flushing, N.Y., reports that during recent retesting of its Series 6000 double-hung aluminum window, the product achieved the H-AW90 rating.

The Series 6000 window line, introduced by Crystal in early 2000, was originally tested and rated as H-HC70. Recent improvements to the double-hung window, including enhanced weatherstripping, generated the new round of independent laboratory testing. Architectural Testing Inc. performed the testing using ANSI/AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S. 2-97 standards and protocols at their facilities in York, Pa.

SunClean Self-Cleaning Glass Withstands Harsh Environments
Architectural Testing Inc. of York, Pa., an independent laboratory, recently completed accelerated weather tests on SunClean self-cleaning glass, manufactured by PPG Industries of Pittsburgh. 

Pieces of glass endured 90 consecutive days of extreme temperatures, including heat of 180 degrees F and -20 degrees F, and other samples were subjected to 90 days of high winds of 60 mph and saltwater spray, said the company.

Vice President Cheney Speaks to NAHB Representatives
Vice President Richard Cheney recently spoke to the board of directors of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), based in Atlanta. Cheney praised the housing industry for its contribution to the American economy and for its efforts in helping victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Housing activity accounts for 14 percent of the national gross domestic product, he said, "and a healthy economy and a confident nation depend on a vigorous housing industry."

Looking for a particular website. Following are a few companies that have recently updated or made improvements to their website:

• Alliance to Save Energy, based in Washington, D.C., at http://www.ase.org.

• Kleiberit Adhesives, with U.S. headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., at http://www.kleiberit.com.

• The National Building Museum of Washington, D.C., at http://www.nbm.org.

• Permabond of Bridgewater, N.J., at http://www.permabond.com.

• SpecTemp of Antwerp, Ohio, at http://www.spectemp.com.

• The Wood Truss Council of America of Madison, Wis., at http://www.woodtruss.com

• National Center for Manufacturing Sciences of Ann Arbor, Mich., at http://www.ncms.org

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