Strategic Plan, Green and Codes Top Agenda at AAMA Summer Meeting

June 8, 2010

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association Summer Conference 2010 kicked off this week with talks about the association’s strategic plan, work on the green products certification, and code changes on the agenda over the first two days of the meeting.

Strategic plan
In January, the AAMA board met to review the 2009 strategic plan for the association, and update the objectives and priorities based on changes in the industry, economy and regulatory arenas. Ath the summer meeting, held in Oak Brook, Ill., membership met for a strategic plan update in a members only session.  Legislative action, professional training, and code and standard promotion were among the topics discussed, according to Angela Dickson, AAMA marketing manager.

 “AAMA has been actively involved in legislative action and advancement," she reported. "To enable members to stay up to date on both federal and state regulations, AAMA is formalizing online regulatory tools that will launch July 15 for member use."  The group also plans several moves on the code and standards front, including more proactive promotion and protection of AAMA standards.

Additionally, the code committees will be restructured to provide a balance between the architectural and residential viewpoints. Within AAMA structurally,  a building energy code committee will monitor and develop code positions.  The regulatory affairs committee will serve as a reporting session to keep members up to date on issues such as California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as such matters as LEED requirements, Dickson said.  The strategic plan also includes the launch of professional training at GlassBuild America, scheduled for September.

On the organization side, the group aims to evaluate and streamline committee and task group administration, improve schedule management, and diversify programming of national conferences.

Green and sustainability
Looking to streamline some activities, members of AAMA's green and sustainability committee voted to recommend disbanding.  The committee's goals, to lead the organization's efforts to develop a green rating and certification program, "have been subsumed by other task groups,” said Steve Fronek, vice president of Wausau Window and Wall Systems and committee co-chair. “There are eight green task groups in AAMA. … When the committee was created in 2007, only vinyl had a task group.” Eliminating the committee will reduce redundancies, while allowing AAMA to continue to move forward in green activities, he said.

One of those task groups went through ballot comments for the AAMA Green and Sustainable Products Certification Program. The certification program will apply to window, door, curtain wall and storefront products, and will cover all aspects of green building, including energy performance.  Some changes in in the latest draft include more stringent U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient values.  The recycled content section was also finalized, following a resolution between the various materials councils.  S Skylights and sloped glazing were also removed from the document altogether, with AAMA's skylight division is developing a related green product certification program. 

Other actions on the document included a unanimous vote to provide dual reference for NFRC 100 and AAMA 1503 in the heating energy efficiency category.  An additional motion passedasking the task group to consider tightening the U-factors even more. 

Julie Ruth, code consultant for AAMA, also provided a brief update on activities at the International Code Council. The ICC held the final action hearings for the International Building Code and International Residential Code in May.  “Overall, Dallas was pretty good,” Ruth said about the industry-related code activities during the hearings.  On the skylight side, proposals to require guards on skylights that could resist an 800-foot-pound load were disapproved. Additional proposals about how skylights would have to be tested were also disapproved. 

ICC finalized a minimum sill height decision that will mostly affect high-rise apartments, she reported. At the 2009 meetings in Baltimore, the minimum sill height requirement of 36 inches—up from 24 inches—was passed. That decision was upheld in Dallas; however, the IRC still has a 24-inch minimum sill height. “That was our biggest disappointment, that we weren’t able to get that back down to 24 inches,” Ruth said.

Final action hearings for the International Energy Conservation Code and IRC-Energy will take place in October in Charlotte, N.C., with several proposals that could affect the industry. A couple of the proposals involve changes to the climate zones and their requirements, including one that would lower the U-factor requirements in zones 2 and 3. Another proposal would bring back an option to create a trade-off between mechanical equipment and the building envelope. The largest proposal to affect the industry is the lowered window to wall ratio—from 40 percent to 30 percent (the same reduction likely to appear in the new ASHRAE 90.1), she said.

By Katy Devlin, commercial glass and metals editor for Glass Magazine