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April  2004

AAMA Accomplishes MUCH
The NAFS Standard and a New Thermal Document are Just Some of the Issues Tackled at AAMA’s Annual Meeting

by Tara Taffera

Almost 400 members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) traveled to sunny Palm Springs, Calif., February 8-11 for the association’s annual meeting at the Palm Desert Marriott Resort and Spa. Nearly 100 meetings took place at the event covering a variety of issues affecting both the commercial and residential fenestration markets.

NAFS Nears Completion
One of the big issues during the meeting was the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS). The NAFS task group, chaired by Jeld-Wen's Ray Garries, discussed the standard, which is currently up for a vote (ballots were due on March 9). The group talked about issues such as tempered glass testing qualifying annealed. According to Garries, NAFS draft 8 currently permits companies testing tempered glass to allow that test specimen to cover all their annealed glass. 

“AAMA has never allowed tempered glass to qualify annealed,” said Garries. He added that the Window and Door Manufacturers Association follows ASTM E1300. He then offered a question to the group, “Is it a good idea to have two different rules?”

“I think this is a major issue,” he added. “If we have two members who can get two different ratings through different associations that’s not a good message to send to the consumer.”

Members talked about the fact that maybe it should be added into the standard that if a member company wants a product to qualify annealed glass using a tempered test, then that product has to meet L/175 deflection limits currently in effect as used in ASTM E1300.

Another issue discussed was size changes adopted in the standard. Many members felt it was important to keep the size at 44-by-60.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Garries. “To offer feedback on how to vote on NAFS. You have the power to make the ballot change.”

AAMA 1505—Thermal Document—is Presented to Members
Dave Moyer of Architectural Testing Inc. presented the AAMA 1505 document that was developed to save money and maintain accuracy when performing test to AAMA 1503 for condensation resistance factor (CRF) and thermal transmittance (U-factor). According to Moyer, the new thermal document is necessary to eliminate the need to perform complete AAMA 1503 testing on every glazing option thereby reducing the cost of testing while maintaining accuracy of results.

“We designed 1505 to make sure accuracy was not compromised,” said Moyer. 

AAMA 1505 includes a baseline test that determines CRF and U-factor for the frame and glazing, a glass data library (currently including 100 glazing variations), glass substitution procedure that provides the user with a method of determining the performance of the baseline window with any glazing option. The new test method also provides a means to determine the performance of the window with variations in size. 

Moyer said that it is now possible to project the performance of products with any vendor’s glazing for low-E, gas-filled, films and spacer variations in any size, by test, while including all corners, hardware and design characteristics typically not addressed by modeling programs. 

Energy Star® a Hot Topic
As always, the Department of Energy’s (DOE), Energy Star program was a hot topic. The DOE, along with members of the window industry, are considering whether or not there are performance-based alternatives that might complement the prescriptive requirements in order to extend the participation and impact of the Energy Star program. An extension would make sense if it could equal or exceed the nominal energy savings of the existing criteria; has no other adverse market impacts; and provide consistent and understandable results leading to enhancement of the value of the overall program, according to a report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). With this objective in mind, LBNL has performed a short-term technical study to determine if these criteria can be met. LBNL representatives presented their findings to members of AAMA’s vinyl task group. 

“Obviously, we’re looking at this from a vinyl standpoint,” said Kevin Seiling, of VEKA and chair of the Energy Star/DOE/NFRC task group. 

He reminded attendees that the DOE will be considering industry feedback as it makes its decision. Interested parties may go to www.govforums.org/e&w/documents/-lbnl_analysis.pdf to view the draft and to offer comments. As of the AGAMA meeting no one had posted comments. 

“Our comments will dictate what the DOE will do, so you need to go to the website to let your comments be heard,” said Sailing. 

According to their findings, only in the Southern zone could “the tradeoff approach be implemented without other significant adverse impacts.”

“If you think LABEL got it right you have to speak up,” said one member of the group.

Insulating Gas Group Makes Progress—Finally 
Scene Moorhead's Mark Tooth, chair of the insulating glass gas retention task group, breathed a sigh of relief at the end of his group’s meeting saying, “For the first time in a year I feel like we have gotten somewhere.”

The group’s mission statement, written several meetings ago reads: “Collectively work with the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IRMA) to develop methodology and write a standard for accurately measuring the gas fill percentage of an insulating glass unit in a non-destructive manner.”

However, through the course of the discussion the group determined that maybe they shouldn’t be focusing on finding a non-destructive method. Carl Wages, AGAMA technical director, pointed out that just because a destructive method may be used doesn’t mean that every unit has to be destroyed in order to be tested. For example, only every hundredth unit could be tested. 

The group decided to develop a survey to send to all AGAMA members asking a variety of questions regarding I retention. The group will then develop a roadmap at its summer meeting and proceed from there. Ultimately, the group talked about development of an I certification program. 

Much of the discussion in the skylight energy standards task group revolved around code issues. Julie Ruth, AGAMA codes consultant, pointed out that the 2003 International Building Code needs a lot of work. 

“We have to address code changes to that in a short time span … I urge everyone to get a copy of that.”
She said that sloped glazing is under chapter 24 for glass, which is really a material section. 

“It would behoove us to look at that section, as well as delighting and tie it all together,” said Ruth. “It would be nice if they could give us a chapter for sloped glazing though I don’t think they will do that.” 

Additionally, Ruth reported that the DOE is rewriting the energy chapter of the International Energy Conservation Code (IDEC). 

“This means major changes for skylights,” said Ruth. 

She said that basically the DOE took all the chapters, threw them out and made all new chapters.

New Groups Chart Their Course
While some groups have been meeting for years and are wrapping up their work, such as the green vinyl windows task group, which is close to completing its green vinyl windows document, others are just beginning to chart their course. 

One new group that met at AGAMA was the fiberglass materials council chaired by Raja Goal of Graham. The council talked about the benefits of fiberglass, including its environmentally friendly properties. The group will also form a marketing committee with the goal of promoting fiberglass products. 

Another newly formed entity included the Satellite weld task group, though its first order of business was to change its name to the integrated sash/sealed airspace technology task group. Satellite's John France serves as chair and attempted to form a mission statement and develop the group’s scope. 

The mission statement is to “identify, review and make recommendations in the current AGAMA standards to determine compliance for integrated sash/sealed air space technology regarding weld seam integrity of PVC windows and doors.”

Developing the scope wasn’t as easy, as the more than 30 AGAMA members present discussed how to define terms such as use and abuse as it refers to cycle testing and whether or not integrated technology should be tested differently than other window and door products. 

Awards Ceremony Recognizes the Industry 
Echo's Chris Folder opened the awards ceremony by pointing to various AGAMA successes such as the formation of the government affairs committee, which works to fight various issues that may be detrimental to the window and door industry. 

Folder also made mention of the “landmark deflection study,” the NAVES standard, which is close to being finished and the mold group, “which is doing a lot of great work.”

It was then time for the awards presentation in which five-year membership awards were give to 33 companies. 

Ten-year membership awards were given to Crystallite Inc., Kuwait Aluminum Co., MVP (division of Mathews Brothers Company), Root Frank of America Inc., The Sherwin-Williams Co., Thermo Industries Inc. and YAK AP America Inc.

Fifteen year membership awards were presented to Carlson Wewoka LOC; Certain teed Corp. and LAB. Plastics Inc.

Twenty year membership awards were given to Construction Consulting Laboratory International; Unique Balance Co. Inc. and Vinyl Building Products Inc.

Twenty-five year membership awards were given to Ashland Hardware Systems and Philips Products.

Thirty-five year membership awards were given to Hankins & Johan Inc.

Additional awards included:
• Architectural products distinguished service award: Ken Brendan, Wausau;
• Residential products distinguished service award: Mike Kennard, Kino;
• Chairman’s award, Mertzon Industries; and 
• Outstanding member award: Greg McKenna, Fawner. 

Preliminary Statistics Show Residential 
Window and Door Industry Still Going Strong

Nick Limb of Ducker Worldwide presented preliminary data from its annual study on the North American Market for Windows and Doors. For the residential window, door and skylight industry, Limb said the numbers are encouraging. Continued low interest rates and strong demographic fundamentals created a further rise in 2003 for residential construction and housing starts reached a new 25-year peak, according to Ducker. Following are some of the findings:

Residential Construction/Housing Starts. Single-family starts increased by 8.1 percent. The U.S. housing market was strong in 2003 with an overall growth of 3.7 percent. Housing starts in 2003 are expected to slow by 3 percent.
Framing Materials. Estimates of 2003 frame materials show a 1.5-percent increase for wood, 5.9-percent for vinyl, but a 6.8-percent decline for aluminum.
Skylights. The majority of skylight manufacturers report increases in sales from 2002 to 2003 of approximately 3 percent. Most of the companies say this is due to an increase in residential construction activity. They also noted that an increasing number of units per house contributed to the overall market growth, as well as new products and broader selections. 
Doors. Housing starts finished 2003 very strong, helping residential door volume climb an estimated 4 percent. 


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