AAMA Storms Orlando

October 1, 2007
Meetings & Events

As part of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s national fall conference, conducted this week in Orlando, members got an up close look at the University of Florida’s hurricane simulation equipment. The portable hurricane wind simulator, transported from its home in Gainesville, Fla., to the meeting location, is the mechanism by which Dr. Forrest Masters’ University of Florida research team is studying the effects of hurricanes on building products such as windows.

Masters demonstrated for AAMA attendees and dozens of local media representatives the way the engines will generate winds up to 110 mph at a test wall. Researchers then will collect data on the effects of wind and rain to draw conclusions about what type of stresses products truly face during a hurricane.

AAMA attendees got a peek at the eye of the storm—a hurricane simulation lab developed by the University of Florida’s Dr. Forrest Masters.

“Fasten your seat belts,” joked Masters as the massive engines fired up, producing winds strong enough to send roof shingles flying into a parking lot adjoining the demonstration.

Masters said his team can be categorized as “storm chasers” but this simulation equipment will allow them to further study wind-driven rain by “bringing the hurricane back to the lab.”

AAMA organizers arranged for the special demonstration to be held in conjunction with its fall meeting. As part of regular business, some other developments included:

  • With issues in the media surrounding imports containing dangerous levels of lead paint, the residential window group decided to form a study group comprised of both residential and commercial manufacturers as well as component suppliers, to look at the scope of the lead problem in the fenestration industry. The group proposed an immediate 90-day blind study of the “touch points” of windows, during which inspectors from Associated Laboratories Inc., which serves as the validator in AAMA’s window certification program, will conduct a swab test as part of regular inspections to report anonymous results to the lead study group. “We need a scope of what we’re seeing here,” said Ray Garries, Jeld-Wen. From there, the group will decide what actions AAMA should take regarding lead levels in products. “Mattel is not sitting in a very good spot and I don’t want us to be in that same position,” said Doug Johnson, Truth Hardware.
  • The association commissioned a study on the market penetration of its certification program and competing label programs among architects, dealers and builders. Most of the 250 respondents were not familiar with any certification programs, leaving a vacuum in the market that AAMA hopes to fill with its current certification awareness campaign. The category of respondents most well versed in the AAMA certification program was dealers and retailers, leading marketing officials to budget a heavier push in this category in 2008. With minor adjustments, the marketing steering committee gave the nod to print and other advertising, public relations efforts and web streamlining efforts for 2008 to continue its certification awareness campaign.
  • AAMA members formed a new green and sustainability group to track environmental issues both internally and in the marketplace. The group will facilitate AAMA’s internal sustainability activities and aims to conduct industry outreach to educate architects, builders, dealers and others who turn to AAMA for guidance. The new group does not, however, plan to develop test methods or energy modeling tools, nor serve as an NFRC liaison.
The meeting continues at the J.W. Marriott resort in Orlando until today. The next AAMA meeting is scheduled for February 24-27 at the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells, Calif. For more information, visit www.aamanet.org.