Green Issues Top AAMA Agenda Again
October 19, 2010
Albuquerque, N.M.–Environmental issues once again topped the agenda at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association Fall Conference, held here last week. In addition to continued work on AAMA's green and sustainability committee efforts, the meeting featured Ellen Struck, director of business development for UL Environment, who emphasized the need for third-party validation and certification, especially in regards to products' green characteristics.
"Greenwashing" is on the rise, with the Federal Trade Commission suing at least five major corporations in 2009 for greenwashing violations, Struck reported. In an effort to curb this practice, the FTC proposed revisions to its "Green Guides" this October to make them easier for companies to understand and use. Full versions of the revised guides are available for review on the FTC Web site, and the commission will accept public comments on the proposed changes until December 10, 2010. (AAMA is currently reviewing the documents in anticipation of submitting comments.)
The FTC guide advises companies as to what they can and can't say about green products, mandates substantiation of green product statements, and encourages third-party certification of green claims, Struck said. ULE is currently working on sustainability standards for many product categories, including doors, door hardware products, wallboard and ceiling materials/systems. Standards for windows, insulation and roofing are "next in line," Struck reported.
The AAMA Fall Conference marked the first meeting of the Regulatory Affairs Committee, responsible for monitoring proposed regulations and determining AAMA's response. Among the topics discussed were the Environmental Protection Agency's lead paint rules. Offering an update on the current situation, Rich Walker, AAMA CEO, reported that one issue the association is looking at, along with other groups, is that the approved lead paint test kits are prone to a high percentage of false positives—as much as 70 percent in the Hybrivet System LeadCheck kit. In addition to flawed test kits, the industry is dealing with the market's adverse reaction to the rules, with new window orders tracking 20 percent below trend, particularly in the Northeast, he said.
In addition, Walker updated attendees on the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, draft legislation that would extend residential energy efficiency tax credits for two years, and the U.S. Department of Commerce decision to look into imposing tariffs on China for dumping aluminum extrusions in the United States.
The strategic plan
The conference included a members-only session to review AAMA's strategic plan for the future. Among the topics discussed were the implementation of procedural changes for task groups and committees to further enhance productivity and efficiency; changes to the conference format to faciliate more member participation; implementation of more formalized legislative monitoring, reporting and action determination; and formal copyrighting of documents, reported Angela Dickson, AAMA marketing manager.
In addition, the group discussed the recent introduction of the FenestrationMasters professional certification program, launched in September at GlassBuild America 2010. The program offers training content based on consensus-based AAMA standards. The coursework covers a wide range of subject matters, including performance standards, product and material types, and code requirements. Coursework is accessed through MyWindowClass.com, owned and operated by the National Glass Association. AAMA plans to further develop the program this year and into 2011, Dickson said.
Next on the AAMA conference agenda is the 74th Annual Conference, February 20-23, 2011, at the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in San Diego. For more information on the event and AAMA's continued standards development, visit www.aamanet.org.