Volume 44, Issue 7 - July 2009

Energy & Environment

AAMA Progresses on Green Specification Criteria at Summer Meeting in MN

During the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) summer meeting in Minneapolis in early June, members of the Green and Sustainability Specification Development Task Group discussed the latest version of its proposed criteria for a Sustainable Products Certification Program. 

The proposed program is similar to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED program in that it offers participants a specified number of points in a range of distinct fenestration-specific categories, including condensation resistance, variable transmittance and other factors. It also includes five mandatory criteria that must be met: energy performance, air infiltration, water resistance, structural performance and durability. A company’s products can receive different points based on these factors. For example, in the energy performance category a product would get different points based on the U-factor of that particular window.

“When it comes to someone else’s program this could be the fenestration component they specify,” said task group chair Tracy Rogers of Edgetech IG.

The program is expected to include residential and nonresidential products, though one member proposed a strictly residential program.

That was much discussion about the various specifics of the program, many of which had to do with concerns regarding specific materials to which Rogers said, “AAMA’s whole goal is to be material neutral.

”The group also discussed specific product groups, including skylights. Some representatives of the skylight industry suggested that skylights be considered separately. Ultimately, the group decided to create a separate rating category for each program in the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), while still having commonalities.

The meeting also included a discussion of the factory-glazed windows component of the program, much of which centered on the issue of recycled content. The Aluminum Materials Council presented a proposal outlining levels of recycled content and how many points a product would get based on those percentages. This created a great amount of feedback and various members representing the vinyl industry said the numbers were too high. 

The proposal for pre-and post-consumer recycled content would give 2 points for 10-24 percent recyclability, 4 points for 24-40 percent, 6 points for 50-74 percent and 8 points for 75 percent and higher.

Brent Slaton from Keymark, and a member of the Aluminum Materials Council, said those proposed numbers can be changed and pointed out that goal was to “put more emphasis on recyclability and make it material neutral.

”Ultimately, the attendees decided to put together a working group, that will consist of at least one member of each of AAMA’s materials council and will determine what the appropriate levels should be. While there were differences of opinion, the members seemed to agree that the association is moving in the right direction with development of this specification. 

In addition to the task group’s discussion on sustainability, AAMA members heard presentations from Dan Handeen, research fellow at the University of Minnesota, on life cycle analysis (LCA). Handeen told members there are different levels to the LCA, as well as different models available to conduct this analysis. One of these models is the Athena EcoCalculator, which the USGBC will be using in its LEED program (LCA has its own category within LEED).

AAMA president Richard Walker noted that the association’s broad goal is to have its green certification program be recognized by USGBC, adding, “to do that we need LCA.” The group decided to continue looking into fenestration-related North American LCA studies that the association may be able to endorse. 

ICC to Develop Green Code

The International Code Council (ICC) has announced its intent to initiate a “Green Building Code Development Project.” According to the announcement, the objective of this new project is to develop a Green Building Code for traditional and high-performance buildings that is consistent and coordinated with the ICC family of codes and standards. The code will provide a new regulatory framework built with leading recognized rating systems in mind, and will provide criteria to drive green building into everyday practice.

The code is expected to address energy efficiency (including solar and other advanced technologies), materials and resource use conservation, indoor environmental quality and overall building impact on the environment, and will be developed under the ICC’s governmental consensus process. 

The new code will focus on the commercial market and residential issues will be addressed through ICC 700, known as the National Green Building Standard. The development approach will be the same used for any new I-Code: Convene a select drafting committee; invite public comment on the initial draft; and place the final draft into the Code Council code development process. 

DOE’s Karney Gives Insights Into Energy Star, Phase Two; Cites Possible 
Commercial Program

A commercial Energy Star program could be on the horizon, reported Richard Karney, program manager for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Star program, during the Northeast Window and Door Association’s (NWDA) Educational Seminar and Fly-In, which took place in April in Washington, D.C. Karney also offered some insights regarding Energy Star, including a few hints at what the program may look at for the yet-to-be-finalized Phase 2 section of the program. 

“We are looking seriously at a commercial windows program,” said Karney. “Am I waiting for the National Fenestration Rating Council to get its Component Modeling Approach in use? Yes.” He added that DOE is waiting for funding as well.

Speaking about the current program, Karney addressed the final criteria for Phase 1, which was released recently (see May 2009 USGlass, page 16). He reiterated what the DOE has been saying throughout this process.

“Energy Star has to provide meaningful differentiation,” he said. “The label doesn’t mean anything anymore.

”According to Karney, approximately 60 percent of new construction windows qualify for Energy Star, while 90 percent qualify on the remodeling side. Karney said that the new Energy Star criteria will add up to 9.21 trillion Btus in annual energy savings.'

Giving some insights into the final criteria, he said the DOE didn’t want to go higher than a 0.32 U-factor in anticipation of possible code changes in 2012. According to Karney, Energy Star’s goal is to exceed the code.

Although the new criteria goes into effect on January 4, 2010, and the transition period ends March 31, 2010, Karney said, “I’d like to see manufacturers start making these windows now.”

Phase 2 of Energy Star has not yet been finalized and the DOE won’t look at that phase until the fall of this year. The objectives of the second phase include addressing issues raised during Phase 1, such as looking at exceptions for products installed in high-altitude areas.

Manufacturers also have asked that the DOE consider life cycle analysis and embodied energy considerations in Phase 2, as well as credits for recycling. Karney said all of this will be considered in the second phase, though he admits, “I don’t know where it will lead us.

”Karney also said that some individuals have requested a separate program for new construction and remodeling. “Maybe we will look at this as well,” he said. 

Bent Glass Design Looks to Reduce GHG Emissions
Bent Glass Design in Hatboro, Pa., has installed a waste heat engine (WHE) cogeneration system from Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. The initial WHE system covered under this agreement will convert more than 500,000 Btus of exhaust heat from the customer’s glass manufacturing furnaces into electric power. Cyclone estimates that this system will offset nearly 100 percent of Bent Glass’s electricity requirements for lighting at its 65,000-square-foot facility. Because much of these savings are created during peak hours, the system is expected to be cash-positive in one year and provide a full payback to the company within four years.

CGI is Now an Energy Star Partner
CGI Windows and Doors Inc. is now an Energy Star partner.
CGI, by participating in Energy Star’s program, will promote energy-efficient products and practices.

CGI is a manufacturer of impact-resistant windows and doors based in Miami.

“We are excited … to have the opportunity to educate homeowners and architects about our energy efficient-features,” says Brian Evans, president and chief executive officer.

Construction Industry is Getting Greener
The construction industry accounts for less than 1 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a new analysis of federal environmental data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) found that all equipment used by the construction industry contributed less than 0.95 percent of all U.S. manmade GHG emissions in 2007.

“This data shows that we aren’t just constructing cleaner projects, we’re building a cleaner construction industry,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of AGC. “As good as our accomplishments are, we can do even better.”

Sandherr says contractors around the country are taking steps to further reduce their emissions and urges other companies to follow suit. According to a statement from AGC, construction contractors are, for example, turning equipment off instead of letting it idle; maintaining their equipment; using equipment that is properly sized for the specific job; using lower-emitting fuels; and finding local sources for building materials to cut shipping-related emissions.

In addition to curbing emissions, Sandherr noted that the construction industry recycles more than any other industry. For example, the industry recycles 97.5 percent of structural steel, 65 percent of reinforcement steel and 80 percent of asphalt. Together that amounts to almost 180 million tons of material recycled and 75.7 million tons of CO2 emissions avoided each year, Sandherr says.

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