Volume 11, Issue 8 - October 2010


Great Lakes Agrees to Pay $10,000 in Settlement with Washington State

Great Lakes Window in Walbridge, Ohio, has agreed to pay $10,000 in attorney’s fees and court costs resulting from allegations by the Washington State Attorney General’s (AG) Office that the company made false claims about the energy-saving qualities of its windows. The company also was fined $25,000 in civil penalties, but the Washington AG agreed to suspend those charges, “provided Great Lakes abides with consumer protection laws in the future.”

Great Lakes is charged with having sponsored an energy-savings pledge used by one of its dealers, Penguin Windows in Mukilteo, Wash., from 2004 through 2009, promising consumers who purchased new doors and windows throughout their homes that they would save at least 40 percent in energy costs during the first year or would be paid the difference, according to state officials.

The Washington Attorney General’s office alleges that the representation that each homeowner who decided to purchase new doors and windows “would achieve at least 40 percent savings on their energy bills was false.”

“On the contrary, the potential energy savings for such homeowners varied greatly due to the many variables that affect home energy consumption, such as the type of windows being replaced, size and location of the windows, how well insulated the home was, the particular climate of the home’s location, and the type and condition of the home’s heating and cooling systems,” writes the Attorney General’s Office in its September 2 complaint. “As a result, the actual energy savings that homeowners who qualified for the pledge typically obtained was in fact far less than the 40 percent savings the pledge promised.”

Great Lakes Window officials told DWM magazine that they disagree with the State of Washington regarding this case and deny any wrongdoing, and “do not support or endorse closing tactics used in the industry.”

“We agreed with the State’s proposal to settle for a nominal amount in an effort to get back to the business of manufacturing high-quality, energy-efficient windows for our customers. Great Lakes windows are NAHB Research Center Green Approved, and we continue to stand by the fact that they help increase energy efficiency,” reads a statement from the company provided to DWM.

The company has agreed not to engage in the prohibited marketing practices and will set aside $50,000 for refunds for qualifying homeowners. The window manufacturer also is to review and respond to written customer complaints about energy efficiency claims and keep records of those complaints for four years, according to the terms of the settlement.

“Window manufacturers like Great Lakes and not just companies that sell windows directly to consumers must avoid deceptive marketing tactics like energy savings pledge programs that promote false or unsubstantiated energy savings claims,” says assistant attorney general Jack Zurlini.

A settlement was reached with Penguin earlier this year. The Attorney General’s Office agreed to suspend $25,000 in civil penalties provided Penguin abides with consumer protection laws in the future. Penguin will pay $95,000 in attorneys’ fees and legal costs.

Strybuc Industries Acquires Replacement Hardware Mfg. Co.
Strybuc Industries, a national wholesaler/manufacturer of door and window replacement hardware, recently completed the acquisition of Replacement Hardware Manufacturing Co. Inc. (RHM) located in Hialeah, Fla.

RHM was established in 1981 and founded by Mary Squires. Strybuc says RHM’s strength is its emphasis on high-performance patio door rollers, handles and accessories, jalousie and awning hardware. The company also stocks a wide variety of parts for all types of doors and windows, as well as specialty tools for the door and window industry

Associated Materials to Change Hands in $1.3 Billion Deal
Associated Materials LLC, based in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, announced in September that it had signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Hellman & Friedman LLC. The transaction is valued at approximately $1.3 billion and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2010. Associated Materials is a manufacturer of exterior residential building products including vinyl windows.

“We are excited to be partnering with Hellman and Friedman,” says Tom Chieffe, president and chief executive officer of Associated Materials. “The Hellman and Friedman team has an impressive track record, understands our business and shares our vision for the future of the company. We look forward to working closely with them to pursue our strategic objectives and continue our strong customer focus.”

“With its vertically integrated distribution model and innovative product lines, Associated Materials is uniquely positioned to serve exterior contractors in the remodeling and new construction markets,” added Erik Ragatz, managing director at Hellman and Friedman.

Associated Materials window brands include Alside and Gentek.

MMPA Makes Progress
Moulding & Millwork Producers Association (MMPA) members gathered in Asheville, N.C., in August for the group’s 47th Summer Business Meeting. Prior to the meeting, members had the opportunity to attend plant tours at East Coast Mouldings, Stiles Machinery and Weinig USA. Carolina Color Tones also opened its doors to attendees during the event.

“This was one of the better meetings as far as subjects, speakers, and the plant tours go,” says Hal Shackelford of Sherwin Williams. “Attendees were able to see how East Coast Mouldings does things a bit differently than everyone else, and to take a look at the new technology and machines that Weinig and Stiles are offering. All the plant tours, including the one at Carolina Color Tones, gave attendees the opportunity to learn something new and possibly take back and use at their own plant[s].”

The Poly Blend Group is concentrating its efforts on a Product Certification Program (see related story on page 8). “We are working on the first certification program out there, which will involve a standard and a certification program for the poly blend groups,” says Pete Delaney of Omega-Tek Building Products.

The meeting offered education tracks for wood, MDF and Poly Blend Moulding manufacturers and also offered MMPA associate members the opportunity to network with the manufacturers. Seminar topics included the hardwood supply industry, dust management, health care, credit availability, international affairs and social media.

One popular seminar was on the topic of turning your waste into energy. Joe Keilen of Stiles Machinery presented a “Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle” strategy as applied to dust management.

“Production waste is not a problem, but an opportunity,” said Keilen. “Through dust collection and waste collection the opportunity of turning your scrap material into briquettes presents itself.”
Roundtable discussions also noted that the trend seems to be toward factory-primed mouldings with architects accepting MDF and increasingly requesting prefinished mouldings.

Going forward, MMPA will host one meeting per year. The next meeting will be held in March 2011 in Charleston, S.C., and in San Diego, Calif., in March of 2012. MMPA will also hold its Productivity Information Exchange (PIE) event at the Charleston, S.C. location in March 2011.

BHMA Issues New Standards Updates
The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) has announced the publication of ANSI/BHMA A156.17 – 2010 American National Standard for Self Closing Hinges and Pivots.

The A156.17 – 2010 revisions were established to ensure the safety and stability of products in this category, according to the association.

Lead is Hot Topic at Recent NWDA Meeting
Seventy members of the Northeast Window & Door Association (NWDA) gathered recently for the association’s summer meeting in Galloway, N.J. One of the hot topics at the event was the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting program.

“There is certainly some frustration in getting Congress to realize what the window companies are fighting and how it is going to affect this industry,” said Huber.

Mike Wilson, with EPA’s office of Pollution Prevention at Toxics National Program Chemicals Division, also was present to give an update on individual certifications, enforcement, accuracy of test kits and third-party verification.

Other issues discussed at the meeting included the Department of Energy’s R5 program.

“Don’t get caught not thinking about the R5 issue,” said Huber.

A release about a personnel change at Harvey Industries ran in September DWM on page 57. However, to clarify, the Harvey Industries mentioned in that release is not associated with Harvey Building Products in Waltham, Mass.


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