EPA and Energy Efficiency Issues Top Busy AAMA Agenda

June 14, 2011

Minneapolis–American Architectural Manufacturers Association members tackled a full agenda at its national summer conference held here last week. Topics covered in various sessions included lead paint, window tax credits, the next phase of Energy Star, AAMA's green rating program and much more. 

At the meeting's regulatory affairs session, attendees received a broad update of regulations, with Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO, noting that the Environmental Protection Agency's lead paint rules continue to be a top industry concern. EPA is planning to review and curb some current regulations, including the recent Renovation Repair and Painting program. A final decision is expected by this summer, Walker said. Additionally, the EPA is "looking at commercial building next for lead," he noted, with the agency is currently seeking comments from the industry, and final action hearings are set for July 2013.

On the tax credit front, he reported that AAMA has also joined forces with several other organizations, including the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, to address tax credits for windows, which dropped drastically after the larger credits ran out at the end of 2010. The current maximum tax credit for energy efficient window upgrades is $200, down from $1,500. "We're trying to put together a lobbying force to reconsider these tax credits," Walker said.

One "good story," he reported is the recent ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission that has found aluminum extrusions from China were being dumped on the U.S. market and imposed duties on such products. "We understand this has had a profound effect right away," Walker said.

In another session, AAMA members heard from Kevin Mulvaney of the Vinyl Institute, who updated attendees on current activity within the EPA related to PVC production. The U.S. Clean Air Act requires a review every eight years to regulate emissions using technology employed by the best performers, he said, and new standards are being developed based on PVC industry surveys and testing completed in 2009 and 2010. A rule was drafted and sent to the Federal Register, and after the 60 day comment period has commenced, a final rule is expected to be published by January 13, 2012, Mulvaney reported.  Though U.S. producers have reduced unit vinyl chloride emissions by 90 percent, the industry needs to continue its focus on manufacturing practices as a variety of regulations continue to emerge and evolve.