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Volume 6   Issue 5                June 2005

WDMA's 9th Annual Technical Conference Reflects It
by Alan B. Goldberg

From the opening remarks to the closing statements, change seemed to be on the minds of many as the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) held its ninth annual technical conference. Acting WDMA president Jeff Lowinski welcomed members and guests to the meeting which took place in Schaumburg, Ill., from May 10-12. While many sessions took place, following are some of the highlights. 

Managing Change Through the Power of Creativity
It seemed only fitting that motivational speaker Jeff Tobe emphasized the need to break habits in order to bring about change. 

“We do things out of habit, professionally and personally, unless we question it,” he said.

To make his point that change is often uncomfortable, he asked everyone to switch their watches to their other hand for the entire day.

Tobe said it was necessary to take a different perspective of the same situation.

“If you view the world through your customer’s eyes, you will know how your customer buys.”

He described many symptoms that are signs of lacking creativity, such as internal myopia, the ostrich syndrome and psychoscherosis or hardening of the attitudes. 

“In other words, We’ve done that before and it didn’t work.”

To break out of this mind-set, Tobe said it was necessary to “reinvent yourself to do things you’ve never done before.”

Wood Certification
When the technical sessions began, one of these concerned wood certification. An overview of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was given by Michael Washburn, vice president of forestry and marketing. He pointed out the challenge of answering the public’s concern about bad forestry. 

“We are trying to differentiate well-managed from irresponsible sources,” he said.

Describing FSC as a certification program, he said it does two things: sets the standards and accredits independent auditors to visit logging operators to be sure procedures are being followed.

Jason Metnick, manager for the American Forest and Paper Association’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program provided a brief overview of his program, pointing out differences and similarities to FSC. He described the labeling program as part of the certification and referred to SFI as an independent, credible, third-party program 

Performance Sustainability of IG Units 
A review and update on a program by the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) to develop a test method for measuring the gas loss rate for an IG unit was presented by Bill Lingnell of Lingnell Consulting Services. He said there were five phases to the program: evaluation of the permeability of sheet materials (the current stage); evaluation of the permeability of edge seal assemblies; evaluation of the permeability of sealant systems in a strained condition-physically and environmentally; development of a mathematical model to predict gas loss rate from an IG unit (which Lingnell said has been completed); and ultimately, the development of an improved test method for measuring gas loss rate. 

Lingnell described the test samples and test methods in terms of types of sealant materials, size, temperature and thickness. He said all tests will be completed by July 2005 and the final results will be presented at the IGMA meeting August 6-9 in Nova Scotia. 

Green Building Initiative 
A description of the Green Building Initiative(GBI), how and why it was established, was given by Ward Hubbell, GBI executive director. He said it was initially conceived as a way to market NAHB’s new residential green building guidelines. 

“Our mission is to provide green building options for mainstream residential and commercial builders. In fact, we see ourselves as the marketing arm of NAHB,” he said.

Among GBI’s objectives are to assist home builder associations in creating marketing opportunities for their members and decreasing risks of government intervention. The primary focus, Hubbell indicated, is marketing and educating.

AAMA/WDMA Consolidation
The concluding portion of the technical conference addressed the impending consolidation of the WDMA and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. A panel of WDMA technical committee members reviewed the road mapping rollout they have been following with AAMA. 

Ken Bettger of Pella Corp., chairperson of the committee and moderator, outlined the objectives of consolidation. One of them is a single voice for the industry. Ray Garries of Jeld-Wen pointed out that both organizations use the same standards and that the differences between them are minimal. He reviewed the objectives of a new organization if it were to be started. Jim Krahn of Marvin Windows discussed the issue of voting and balloting and Mark Mikkelson of Andersen Corp. talked about code position development and pointed out that a code advisory team comprised of members of both organizations has been formed.

“We’re stronger when we all work together,” said Bettger. 

While consolidation discussions are going well, there are still issues to be resolved. But, for now change is in the air as another successful technical conference has drawn to a close. 

Alan Goldberg is a contributing writer for DWM. He has more than 30 years of experience in the insulating glass industry. 

DOE Implements Performance-based Ratings for South and South Central Regions
Speaking before WDMA members, Mark LaFrance, technology development manager for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a change to the DOE’s Energy Star® program.
The DOE has implemented a performance-based rating system for the South and South/Central (excluding California) areas of the United States, thus allowing trade-offs in these areas. According to LaFrance, trade-offs deliver equivalent average energy performance when integrated over the specific region. He added that the DOE’s rationale for this announcement includes the following:
• In the South/Central zone limited trade-offs work, but U-factors required are below most aluminum windows in the NFRC database, opportunity for investment. 
• In the Southern zone, trade-offs work and allow for hurricane windows to be compliant. For example, laminated low-E glass for constructing impact-resistant hurricane windows have higher U-factors. These windows cannot routinely meet the perspective U-factor criteria, but can deliver equivalent energy performance with lower SHGCs. 
LaFrance noted that the rationale excludes the Northern and North/Central zones, which allow no latitude for trade-offs. He also pointed out that California is excluded from the South/Central because viable trade-offs did not work when it was included. Additionally, California has very large populations living in moderate climates. 
LaFrance also added that this change offers equal or greater average energy savings than the current perspective criteria, while providing greater flexibility in U-factor performance ratings. It also meets or exceeds prescriptive building energy codes in the applicable regions, while enhancing the value of the program. 
While the changes made by DOE appear to result in equivalent energy savings, many WDMA members believe that the Energy Star changes will complicate the otherwise simple rating system, and cost more energy by allowing lower performing products to claim Energy Star ratings. 
“The products actually labeled as Energy Star often exceed the required minimum values,” said Jeff Lowinski, WDMA’s acting president. “Using the new trade offs, some WDMA members are concerned that minimum product may be allowed to be used, instead of higher efficiency product.” Lowinski acknowledges, however, that Energy Star trade-offs may be needed in the future to give credit for dynamic glazing systems. 

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