AAMA Reviews Proposed NAFS Changes

February 22, 2010

Palm Desert, Calif.–The American Architectural Manufacturers Association concluded its annual conference here last week looking at changes expected in the next edition of the North American Fenestration Standard.  Also on the agenda was a review of pending code changes and discussions on which matters AAMA should take a position.

Ray Garries, one of AAMA's representatives in the joint committee work between AAMA, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association and the Canadian Standards Association on the NAFS (101/I.S.2/A440) document, reported that one of the bigger changes will be new requirements for testing of lead content (see the report from last week's meeting).  The joint committee is also working on changes to bring folding doors, parallel-opening windows, and secondary storm products into the standard.

John Belcher, left, and Rod Hershberger, right, accepted PGT Industries' Humanitarian Award presented by World Vision International at the AAMA meeting. The organization's Mary Garcia, center, who also recognized ProVia Door with a similar honor, described the manufacturers' efforts to provide windows and doors and additional support to World Vision's network of building product supply centers for the poor.

To facilitate that last change, AAMA members voted in California to form a new committee to review and make necessary revisions to three standards developed long ago for such products, but not updated for many years. With the new national focus on energy efficient retrofits, however, such products are being closely examined again and specified for more applications.  The three separate standards–one for exterior storm windows, the other for interior storm panels, and the third for storm doors–may be updated and re-packaged as one document, it was suggested.

Codes and Green
Julie Ruth, AAMA's code consultant, updated members what was happening within ICC, most notably its work on a new International Green Building Code.  Also reviewed were developments in ASHRAE standards, at least when using the prescriptive methods of compliance, that would bring down maximum window to wall ratios in commercial applications from 40 to 30 percent. Ruth noted that this proposal—designed to reduce energy use—has succeeded to date despite strong evidence that it is not effective, particularly when the benefits of daylighting are taken into account.

The sentiment in the audience was that AAMA and the industry will have to step up efforts to address green requirements. "Green has ceased to be a rating activity," said one attendee.  "It is now a code activity and we have to  address it as such." 

"We will lose window area if we don't find a way to milk every Btu and watt of energy out of every opening," said another. 

Although not building code specific, one arena where AAMA did vote to make its presence stronger was the National Fenestration Rating Council.  A number of members noted that manufacturers of window attachments–shades, blinds and other products–are playing a prominent role in NFRC now as they are working within that organization to develop rating systems for their products. That has led to window and door manufacturers being a minority at recent meetings, even though many are still members of NFRC.

AAMA members voted to form a special task group to monitor NFRC and take necessary efforts, such as gathering proxy votes if necessary, to make sure window and door manufacturers maintain a strong presences within NFRC.

Work on the NAFS document and numerous other issues continues.  AAMA next gets together in June, when it hosts its annual summer conference June 6-9 at the Oak Brook Hills Marriott in Oak Brook, Ill., near Chicago.  Information on that event is available at www.aamanet.org.