WDMA Kicks Off Annual Technical Conference

By Katy Devlin, Glass Magazine
June 26, 2012
Meetings & Events

Bloomington, Minn.–Members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association gathered today for the start of the organization's 14th Technical Conference. More than 100 attendees are expected to the event, which includes several days of educational presentations, as well as tours of nearby Cardinal Glass Industries and Sage Electrochromic facilities.

Joe Lstiburek of the Building Science Corp. kicked off the educational sessions with a presentation titled "Don't Do Stupid Things," which focused on maintaining water, air, vapor and thermal barriers in window and wall systems. While window products continue to improve, a poor connection to the wall can lead to failures.

"It's all about the window-to-wall connection," Lstiburek said. "The product is phenomenal, but the building enclosure industry is hurting because we're not focused on the window-to-wall connection. This is important in order for you to protect your own liability, so you don't get blamed for [failures] that aren't your fault."

In addition to ensuring that the barriers line up between the windows and walls, Lstiburek emphasized the importance of drainage. "Everything moves, everything leaks, so drain everything," he advised. He added that the inner seal of the window system is more important than the outer seal.

The second session featured Corey Brinkema, president of the Forest Stewardship Council, who discussed the developments of green rating programs in terms of forest products. "The FSC works to bring responsible forest products to the end user," he said. The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program and the Home Depot among the driving forces for the use of responsible forest products in building materials, he said.

Speaking about LEED, Brinkema noted that FSC is the only major certification recognized in the Responsible Extraction of Raw Materials credit. "We have seen a positive improvement, some progression in that section, especially as to not disadvantage wood," he added.

Brinkema also addressed the increasing role life cycle assessment might have on responsible forest management. "LCA often doesn't include sourcing," he said. "FSC is focused on the extraction phase. ... Combine FSC with a robust LCA to get a much more comprehensive and robust analysis."

Steve Waltman, vice president of sales and marketing at Stiles Machinery Inc., closed the first day of meetings with his presentation on European woodworking technologies. He recapped a recent benchmarking tour of window and door manufacturers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland organized by Stiles. Some of facilities were highly automated, while other factories offered highly hand-crafted and -fabricated products.

"The emphasis on education and apprenticeship was highly developed at each factory," he stated. "Their dedication to education from a woodworking point of view was one of the main take aways that our group had."

The WDMA technical conference continues not only with plant tours, but also more educational presentations.  It will also be followed on Thursday with a Department of Energy organized roadmapping session.  The event  is designed to provide updates on DOE building envelope research projects and discuss future goals and priorities for its Building Envelope R&D Program. 

Look to WindowandDoor.com and WDweekly for continuing coverage.