AAMA Focuses on Green Initiatives and Side-Hinged Doors

Indian Wells, Calif.-Recognizing but not being deterred by the economic challenges that lie ahead in the coming year, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association jumped right into its 2008 game plan during its annual meeting, held here at the end of February. Attendance was down as some companies are scaling back travel budgets, but the contingent present was ready to roll up its sleeves and tackle new and expanded programs.

"AAMA has been busy preparing for the next uptick," said Gantt Miller of Winco, chairman of the board. During the annual general membership meeting, he told participants that among the association's biggest challenges for the coming year are the National Fenestration Rating Council's commercial rating system, the anti-vinyl sentiment resurging in the LEED for Hospitals program and "aggressive" changes in the Energy Star Windows program. With more than 30 new members added to the roster last year, he believes AAMA stands ready to address these and other issues.

Another hot topic was green. Ron Jones, editorial director of Green Builder Magazine, addressed the group, giving a broad context of how current green building practices impact the global ecosystem. The AAMA event saw a good turnout for its new green and sustainability committee meeting as participants rolled out some thoughts about how AAMA might coordinate and facilitate outreach and education on those issues as they relate to fenestration products. The committee aims to start with both internal and external communication goals, but is also working on developing a green certification program based on existing AAMA testing methods. "There are portions of the testing you're already doing that have green attributes," noted Janice Charletta, AAMA's director of marketing and membership. Down the road, the committee may consider a green member program based on internal company practices and recycling policies or process certification. For now, green-related communication coming out of AAMA will be included as part of the organization's monthly e-newsletter, set to launch this month.

Side-Hinged Door Certification
The AAMA meeting took place concurrently with the International Code Council hearings nearby in Palm Springs. Several attendees straddled the two events, and AAMA's door council was paying close attention to a proposal before ICC to require testing and labeling of complete side-hinged door systems under AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S. 2/A400. Introduced by the Window & Door Manufacturers Association, the proposal called for system-based certification of side-hinged doors, a requirement that would be extremely challenging for many prehangers that create entry door systems using components from a variety of suppliers.
WDMA spoke in favor of its plan to require testing and labeling of complete side-hinged door systems at the code hearings, but surprisingly asked the ICC committees to turn down the proposal in order to allow the industry to go back to the drawing board and work on a hybrid solution. "The proponent, WDMA, put out a good argument [at the code hearings] but in the end asked the committee to disapprove the proposal so they can work through this issue with the industry," explained Steve Strawn of Jeld-Wen Inc., chairman of AAMA's door code committee. Some who attended AAMA's door code committee meeting Monday thought AAMA's compromise draft for the side-hinged door testing might be a good starting point. "Let's sit down and talk about it," said Jeff Burton, who represents the Association of Millwork Distributors. "Let's try to avoid a fight in public."

To address this issue, there have been ongoing discussions between AAMA and AMD. "We are focused on developing a means to interchange components without having to retest. Much of this effort places the testing requirement on the component suppliers with minimal testing necessary by the door prehanger," explained John Lewis, AAMA technical director. "AMD has been involved for several years regarding this specification development, and AAMA continues to work productively and proactively with AMD members to address performance certification and structural component substitutions."

"AAMA, WDMA and others have their work cut out for them on this whole issue of testing and labeling side hinge door systems," Strawn noted. Representatives of AAMA, AMD and WDMA all agreed, however, to continue to look for a solution that will satisfy both systems manufacturers and prehangers. The groups will likely try to draft a consolidated public comment in time for ICC's final action hearings, scheduled for September.

AAMA's next national conference will be June 1-4 at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, Penn. More information is available at