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Volume 6   Issue 8               September  2005

What's News

New Energy Law Gives 
Consumers Tax Credits for Windows

On July 29 Congress passed what Sen. Pete V. Domenici, chairperson of the Energy and Natural Resources committee called “a bipartisan energy bill that will make a real difference to every American.” President Bush signed the bill into law in Albuquerque on August 8 at Sandia National Laboratories. 

The new law, which spent five years in Congress, offers numerous incentives for consumers who use energy-efficient products in their homes. Consumers can earn a tax credit of 10-percent for upgrading their homes (up to $500) with energy-efficient products, including windows. There is a $200 limit on the credit for replacing windows. The credit is expected to go into effect January 1, 2006. 

David Rodgers, senior advisor to the deputy assistant secretary for technology development with the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, spoke about the new legislation when he addressed members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association on August 9 in Washington, D.C. 

“The energy bill contains a significant part of what the president asked for and much more,” he said.

Though he did acknowledge that the tax credits are lower than what was proposed originally.

“The credit started at $2,000 but by the time it got to conference it was cut to $500,” he said. “I still think there is value here.”

Despite the savings for using energy-efficient products, Americans can also expect to see the cost of gas continue to increase. The new provision removes the Congressional mandate that supports adding methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) to gasoline. While MTBE reduces smog caused by automobiles, it has also been shown to contaminate well water all over the country. 

WDMA Reviews Impact of  California EPA Formaldehyde Standards
In anticipation of possibly being effected by a California EPA formaldehyde standard, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) is reviewing this issue through its various technical committees.

At a recent workshop in Sacramento, the California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gathered input about the new enforcement plan that will determine the proper use of particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF) and hardwood plywood products. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) hosted the workshop which was attended by a diverse group of representatives from associations, including WDMA, individual company representatives of MDF and particleboard producers.

Concern about formaldehyde emissions from engineered wood products has brought about an Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) with an accompanying enforcement plan. CARB expects to complete work on the enforcement plan later in the year with a rule-making process completed by mid-2006, according to a release by the WDMA.

According to the board, an estimated 2.5 billion square feet of composite wood products are sold in California every year. Emissions of formaldehyde from composite wood products using urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins as a binding adhesive agent exceed 400 tons every year in California. 

The EPA enforcement plan requires that panel materials used in products sold in California comply to ASTM E1333-96, the Standard Test Method For Determining Formaldehyde Concentrations In Air And Emission Rates From Wood Products Using A Large Chamber. Other test methods are being considered as an option to this ASTM standard. Compliance would affect all levels of commerce. CARB would have to maintain test data for two years and each manufacturing plant would be subject to periodic inspection by the board’s enforcement staff. Such inspection could include product sampling for validation testing. Distributors and end-users would also be required to keep records and documentation. The ultimate goal is compliance with raw panel requirements.

Questions have been raised about the practicality of the testing and test results, however. “How to perform testing on finished goods is problematic,” said Mike Fischer, WDMA director of codes and regulatory compliance. 
He points out the difficulty of developing any meaningful correlation from a comparison of test data. With a wide range of products, from doors to cabinets and furniture and related building products such as MDF moulding and decking being affected, “it is unlikely that company test data from discrete products would provide any meaningful correlation to the raw material panels used in their fabrication.”

He said EPA standards do not provide any means of acceptable levels of emission in a residential unit. As a result of these and other obstacles to enforcement, a coalition, the California Wood Industry Coalition (CWIC) has been formed to address these concerns. WDMA is working with CWIC to determine the potential impact of this California rule on its membership, particularly the door division. Anticipating these issues, WDMA’s technical committees have been identifying key issues and potential regulatory problems.

AEC Offers Customized Information for Extruders
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) announced the line up for its 2005 Management Conference scheduled for September 20-22, 2005 in Chicago.

“The Management Conference is one of AEC’s most popular educational events due, in part, to the ability of the members to choose which sessions pertain most to their operation allowing attendees to customize their educational experience,” said AEC chairperson Craig Werner of Werner Co. in Franklin Park, Ill. “This year’s program presents hard-to-find information that gives extruders the tools to implement new ideas, improve procedures and increase efficiency.”

The conference is expected to bring together 200 aluminum extrusion executives at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel. The event includes general sessions providing a broad industry perspective, focus sessions featuring a variety of in-depth, custom-designed topics and networking events to help members keep abreast of the latest important industry issues.

The conference kicks off with a general session featuring the return of Dr. Robert Genetski, one of the nation’s leading economists. Genetski will provide analysis of the political and financial factors that may affect the U.S. economy. Steven Johnston, senior industry analyst at Alcan Inc. will shine the extrusion spotlight on the worldwide aluminum supply situation.

Focus sessions occupy the Wednesday afternoon agenda including Finding New Markets, Building Technical Expertise, Implementing Best Management Practices and Finishing School, which concentrates on extrusion finishing methods. Sessions within the tracks include Mexico: Land of Opportunity and Challenge, Gaining a Competitive Advantage through R&D, Creating and Measuring Profit in Extrusion, and Equipment and Technology Innovations in the Finishing Line. These and other sessions are designed to give participants the opportunity to design their own program by choosing topics most relevant to their needs and operations, according to the association.

Thursday’s program offers a practical session on lean manufacturing techniques presented by Rick Harris of Harris Lean Systems, and a closing presentation by Jay Goltz, founder and head of the largest artist framing company in the United States Also included on Thursday will be an industry analysis by Karen McBeth, editorial director for Platts Metals Group.

The Council has designed a special discount registration fee for members who want to combine both the Management Conference and the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) seminar, which convenes earlier in the same week. For information about registration and program details, visit www.aec.org.

NFRC Approves New Bi-Lingual Label 
The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) board of directors approved two new bi-lingual labels (English/Spanish and Englist/French) during its summer meeting, held July 25 - 28 in Quebec City, Quebec-Canada. 
“The new label allows both English and either French or Spanish to appear simultaneously and should increase understanding and usage of the label ...,” said Jim Benney, NFRC executive director. 

The new provisions are now permitted for use and will become mandatory for newly-printed multilingual labels on or after October 1, 2005 and mandatory for all labels affixed after July 1, 2006. The changes will be reflected in Appendix B of the product certification program. 

CMI Acquires Assets of C&S Door Corp.
CMI, a Chicago-based manufacturer and marketer of CraftMaster® door designs, has acquired the assets of independent door manufacturer C&S Door Corp. of Christiansburg, Va. As a result, CMI will integrate its raised-panel door designs with C&S immediately and begin manufacturing finished interior door products. The move further expands CMI’s product lines to include raised-panel interior doors, treated exterior composite trim and composite panels, according to company officials. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

As a division of CMI, C&S Door will maintain its marketplace presence by producing, selling and marketing a full line of molded, flush and solid wood doors. The company also will continue to distribute Woodgrain Millwork’s pine doors. The existing C&S management team will oversee the division, with CMI maintaining its Chicago headquarters. 

Assets acquired by CMI include two C&S plants. Founded in 1976, C&S currently operates a 138,000-square-foot plant in Christiansburg. The company recently announced plans to open a new 224,000-square-foot facility in Ozark, Ala. With a capital investment of more than $8 million, C&S expects to begin operations in Ozark later this year and add about 80 jobs to the local community. 

Cytec Surface Specialties Announces Relationship with Edgetech I.G. Inc.
Atlanta-based Cytec Surface Specialties has selected Edgetech I.G. Inc. of Cambridge, Ohio, as a sales agent for its UVEKOL® Glass Laminating System in North America.

“We’re pleased to have this relationship with Edgetech,” said Bill Bayer, business director-Radcure Americas, Cytec Surface Specialties. “It combines both companies’ strong market leadership, innovative technologies, and first class applications expertise. Customers will now have newer and more cost-effective ways for building higher-performance windows and doors.” 

The UVEKOL Glass Laminating System provides laminated glass users a fast and consistent way to laminate their own glass at a low investment cost, according to a Cytec press release. The laminates deliver the strength and durability needed to meet the most stringent engineering standards, including Dade County Florida’s hurricane tests and Germany’s snow-load requirements for overhead glazing.

“I believe this is clearly a natural relationship for both Edgetech I.G. Inc. and Cytec Surface Specialties,” said Mike Hovan, president of Edgetech I.G. Inc. “Like Edgetech, Cytec Surface Specialties focuses on high quality, high performance products that provide solutions for customer needs in our industry. We look forward to working with such a reputable company to offer our customers and our industry additional products that enhance their overall window performance.”

Home Depot to Close a Number of Expo Design Stores
In its first-quarter earnings report, Home Depot, based in Atlanta, stated that it would close 15 of its Expo Design Centers and convert five others, including one in East Palo Alto and another in Concord, Calif., into Home Depots. 

“The Expo Design Center is a profitable and viable business. However, in certain stores our business objectives were not being met,” said company spokesperson David Sandor in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Expo Design Center caters to a wealthier customer base than Home Depot, selling high-end fixtures to people looking to remodel their kitchens and bathrooms, according to the article.

Both the East Palo Alto and Concord stores opened in November 2000. The one in Concord will close near the end of the summer and reopen as a Home Depot. The store in East Palo Alto is located near a Home Depot, so it will be swallowed up as part of an expansion project. 

“Our goal is no net job loss as a result of these changes,” said Sandor.

Home Depot introduced the Expo stores 11 years ago. But unlike Home Depot, where customers tend to make frequent trips over shorter distances, the Expo Design Center attracts people interested in larger projects that do not require as many visits. 

Home Depot operates 54 Expo stores across the country. The company has no plans to open any new Expo stores this year, said Sandor.

KB Home - San Diego Honors ABC Windows
ABC Windows Co. of Ontario, Calif., has received the “Trade Partner of the Year” award from the San Diego division of KB Home. The award for the year 2004, representing operations in San Diego, Riverside and Orange Counties, was presented to ABC Window Co.’s new president and chief executive officer Brian Ruttencutter by representatives of KB Home’s San Diego division at a recent catered barbeque at the Ontario facility for all of the manufacturer’s 250 employees.

“You’ve done just a fantastic job in being our number one trade partner for 2004,” said Rex McGuire, director of purchasing for KB Home in San Diego. “...You do some tremendous things to satisfy us and our homebuyers, and we would have nobody but the best working for us.”

McGuire said that the selection was made based on ABC’s level of service, timeliness and accuracy of bids, short lead times, providing support to onsite job superintendents and more. ABC Window Co. was the only provider of doors and windows to receive the award. McGuire added that throughout Southern California, KB Home, for the year 2005, will develop 23 communities and will deliver 4,300 homes.

Chelsea’s Trust Series Fabricators vote Super Spacer “Favored” Status
Edgetech’s Super Spacer was recently voted “flexible spacer of choice” by the vinyl window extruder’s Trust Series Fabricator Network, announced Terry Abels, vice president of sales and marketing for Chelsea Building Products of Oakmont, Pa.

The group of 28 independently-owned fabricators, who build TrustGard vinyl replacement and new construction windows using Chelsea Trust Series extrusions, met at National Vinyl’s Springfield, Mass. facility last April, where 23 vendors presented their products and programs for consideration by the assembly of Trust Network members from across the United States.

According to Abels, the group has since awarded “favored vendor” status to two of the 23 suppliers, Guardian Glass and Edgetech I.G. Inc. 

As “flexible spacer of choice,” explains Abels, “Edgetech’ Super Spacer has been recognized for its high quality products and for the outstanding technical and marketing support that Edgetech provides its customers.” 

BSI Balance Systems Celebrates Cultural Diversity
As part of a recent celebration recognizing local diversity, BSI-Balance Systems has taken a visible step in the appreciation and celebration of the diverse workforce it enjoys in its Sioux Falls, S.D. manufacturing facility. With 24 countries of origin being represented in a team of more than 500 people, the company is a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions, according to the company.

In addition to the flags of all 24 countries on display above the manufacturing floor, employees enjoyed lunch and prizes.

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