AAMA Maintains Busy Agenda at Annual Conference

February 23, 2011

Coronado, Calif.–The American Architectural Manufacturers Association honored key members at its 74th annual conference held at the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel here this week. The meeting, which concludes today, also featured an in-depth review of regulatory issues AAMA is currently following.

Among those honored Monday evening were Steve Strawn of Jeld-Wen Inc., who was awarded this year's Distinguished Service Award for AAMA's residential product group. Winco's Gantt Miller was presented with the same award for the nonresidential group, and Pella's Kathy Krafka-Harkema was named winner of this year's Marketing Distinguished Service Award.  Honored with AAMA's Outstanding Member Award for this year was Mike Kinard of Kinro.

Rod Hershberger of PGT Industries, chairman of the AAMA board, was also honored as he passed the gavel to Steve Fronek of Apogee Enterprises, who now serves in that position. Finally, as outgoing chairman, Hershberger also presented Edgetech I.G. with the biennial Chairman's Award, recognizing its company-wide contributions to AAMA and the industry.

Sessions at the AAMA annual meeting in California were well attended.

Rich Walker, AAMA CEO, kicked off the regulatory affairs committee meeting with a look at energy efficient tax credits. Noting they've been "severely clipped" for 2011 compared to 2009 and 2010, he said there are forces in Washington looking to see such credits return.  He offered a similar prognosis for the Home Star program, which would offer rebates for energy efficient home improvements, noting that there is still support for this program in the Senate.  He conceded that any such programs are likely to face an uphill battle in the House, where Republicans are focused on reducing the budget.

Walker noted the Environmental Protection Agency's current efforts to review existing regulations, adding that now is a good time for the industry to offer its feedback the lead paint requirements that went into effect last year. AAMA had already offered its feedback on those EPA requirements, he noted, in response to a letter from Congressman Darrell Issa, new head of the House Government Oversight Committee, specifically asking for input on particularly burdensome regulations faced by industry. 

Joining Walker on the dais was Ray Garries of Jeld-Wen, who updated attendees on the fact that EPA is considering new boiler regulations. One positive development for manufacturers was a delay at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in implementation of proposed noise containment regulations. Rather than having employees wear ear protection, the requirements would have forced manufacturers to control machine noise at the source, which many argued would not be cost effective.  The issue hasn't gone away, Garries noted, but has been deferred for further study. 

Walker updated attendees on Energy Star, noting that EPA is still planning to implement new criteria for the beginning of 2013.  He said EPA's current timetable calls for "potential ranges" for the new performance numbers to be released this summer with new criteria analysis to be issued in the fall. 

Kerry Haglund of the Center for Sustainable Building Research at University of Minnesota was also part of the program, updating attendees on her organization's plan to develop a life cycle analysis database for different types of windows. She noted that her group recently started working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which should make the process more cost effective.

AAMA Business
Other activities at the meeting included a review of AAMA marketing and educational initiatives, offered by the association's Angela Dickson. In addition to highlighting the organization's latest ad campaign, she offered an update on FenestrationMasters, AAMA's new educational program designed for industry professionals, as well as an updated new care and maintenance brochure AAMA has created. Dickson also gave a brief preview of the annual window and door market study conducted on behalf of AAMA and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association by Ducker International. The researchers saw a slight upturn in both the residential remodeling and new construction markets last year, with gains expected to continue in 2011. The 2011 report will feature less positive news on the nonresidential front. According to Ducker, nonresidential spending dropped 23 percent in 2010, a decline that is expected to worsen through much of this year, she said.

The California meeting also featured a members-only session reviewing the association's progress on a number of strategic initiatives. Among the topics discussed, according to Dickson, were implementation of potential improvements to AAMA's certification programs, efforts to promote IG certification, new legislative monitoring tools implemented in the members-only section of the AAMA Web site, 2012 plans to explore social media, continuing actions to protect AAMA standards from copyright infringement and expanding AAMA's standards offerings.

In a separate session at AAMA, Kevin Mulvaney of the Vinyl Institute, offered an update on that organization's activities. Much of its work, he stated, is targeted at the architectural community, and a highlight this year for the group is its sponsorship of an upcoming conference at Columbia University entitled Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering. The event, now in its fourth year, has focused on glass and other materials, bringing together panels of leading architects and architectural schools from around the country and around the world. VI also continues to support a variety of continuing education programs for architects, as well as participating in such trade shows as Greenbuild and the AIA convention.

He encouraged AAMA members to get involved in these efforts, as well as a Washington fly-in VI is planning for April. Mulvaney noted that there was a large turnover in Congress and it is important for industry companies to introduce themselves to the many newly-elected members. Key messages VI plans to convey concern infrastructure spending, regulatory reform and green building, particularly as it relates to building codes. VI also remains actively engaged with the Environmental Protection Agency on a number of fronts related to vinyl production.

The AAMA conference concludes today with meetings focused on the North American Fenestration Standard and the organization's upcoming code actions, as well as a closing general session and a board of directors meeting. AAMA gathers next for its summer conference, scheduled for Minneapolis June 5-8.