Volume 13, Issue 6 - July/August 2012

Energy & Environmental News

LEED Ballot Delayed; Will Positive Changes Result?

The LEED rating system, known as LEED 2012, that was scheduled to go to ballot this year, has been delayed, according to the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Many in the industry are applauding this decision.

The delay of the ballot came in response to concerns from USGBC members and a desire to provide the industry with a view of the full LEED program” beforehand, according to USGBC. The ballot will be renamed LEED v4 and could be held June 1, 2013 or earlier if USGBC members and the market are prepared.

Many in the door and window industry disagreed with portions of the latest version, which says that new wood products must be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) “or better.” The latest draft also has a section labeled, “Additional Chemical Avoidance” and one of the products on that list is PVC.

“WDMA continues to be concerned that several of the proposed LEED revisions will result in a suite of LEED rating systems that unduly limit the building materials that can qualify,” says Window and Door Manufacturers Association president Michael O’Brien. “We are also very concerned that these same proposed revisions may improperly and irresponsibly imply that the use of many common and necessary building materials is detrimental to the environment or pose health hazards creating concern over the use of these materials when none is warranted. As such, we have strongly encouraged USGBC to fully reconsider provisions for these credits. We are hopeful the delay in balloting may result in a more positive and constructive end result.”

Other companies and associations, including the Vinyl Institute (VI) are also involved in efforts to ensure that some of the proposed changes do not pass.

“We at Quanex are actively working with VI to engage our congressional delegates in the House and Senate to support our industry and apply pressure to the General Services Administration (GSA) to not endorse the most recent revision,” says Ric Jackson, director of external affairs for the company.

So does a delay mean USGBC will take a closer look at some of these issues?

“We hope they will use that time to consider the input that has come in from various parties and move in a direction that would include that but so far we haven’t seen an indication to do that,” says Nadine Block, senior director, government outreach, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc. “It doesn’t necessarily signal any hope for us but we will use that time to raise visibility and encourage them to take a more inclusive approach … The delay can be positive because it gives them more time to incorporate input and we certainly don’t want them to vote on something now that is flawed.”

The latest draft will be open for public comment from October 2, 2012, through December 10, 2012.

MI Windows and Doors Inc. was named the top manufacturer of R-5 Windows for 2011, according to the Department of Energy’s High Performance Windows Volume Purchase Program.

Andersen Corp. Publishes First Corporate Sustainability Report
Andersen Corp. has published a 2011 Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR), a first for the company. The report was prepared with reference to the 2002 Global Reporting Initiative Guidelines and provides a summary of the company’s approach to sustainable business practices from three facets: corporate citizenship, environmental stewardship and product development.

Among its achievements, the company says it has reduced its energy impact by 22 percent over the last five years; and, from 2007 to 2011, the corporation realized more than $3 million in energy savings due to energy reduction projects, behavioral changes and production volume.

Experts Discuss What’s Next in Energy Efficiency
Speakers at the recent Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) Technical Conference explored the possibilities of windows in regards to energy efficiency for buildings overall. Helen Sanders, vice president of technical business development at SAGE Electrochromics, and Stephen Selkowitz, group leader for the Windows and Envelope Materials Group of the Building Technologies Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, discussed current advancements and future projections in terms of energy saving within the window industry.

In a session entitled, “Say No to Small Windows,” Sanders said. The conventional view is that using no windows results in more energy efficiency. However, with data provided by glass and lighting control suppliers, there is evidence to support that given the right solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) and visible light transmittance (VLT), in addition to glazing technologies and the window-to-wall ratio, annual energy capita per building can increase greatly.

What concerned Selkowitz in his session, “Windows for the Next 30 Years,” was the future of windows and energy efficiency. “To meet the various 2030-2050 energy and carbon goals we need dramatic reductions never before achieved,” Selkowitz said.

As for sentiments with windows, facades and daylighting, Selkowitz said there should be a vision to change windows from net loss to net supply, given the successes in U.S. window markets.


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