NWDA Planning Washington Fly-In

January 30, 2009

Atlantic City, N.J.–Plans for an April "fly-in" to Washington, D.C., highlighted discussions at the Northeast Window & Door Association's winter meeting here last week. The group also heard updates on the state of the industry and economy, as well as an outline of the new NAHB Green Building Standard.

The "fly-in"–a term coined by the National Association of Manufacturers–is designed to provide NWDA members with a chance to hear the latest from the Department of Energy officials regarding the Energy Star windows program, explained Daryl Huber of BFRich Windows & Doors, NWDA's acting president.  The day, which will begin at NAM headquarters, will also feature a session with NAM officials, offering their advice on communicating with legislators.

BFRich's Daryl Huber urged window manufacturers and suppliers to come
to Washingon to meet their representatives in April.

After that, NWDA members will travel to the Hill to meet their representatives or their legislative staff members. Huber noted that the visit is "not a lobbying effort," adding that NWDA members will not be "asking for a bail-out." Urging all NWDA members to get involved, he said, "We're going to say we're part of the solution. We're part of the green initiative. We're part of the manufacturing base that can create needed jobs."

More information on the event, scheduled for April 23, is available from the NWDA Web site.

Educational Program
Howard Fortunado of JCM Environmental kicked off the educational portion of NWDA's winter meeting with a look at the new NAHB Green Building Standard. He reviewed how the standard awards points for steps taken in the design and construction of a home--including the use of Energy Star windows and doors. Builders use those points, in a variety of categories to achieve certain levels of "green" status or their homes.

NAHB's green program is designed to be much more cost effective, and not as exclusive as the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program for homes, which sets its sites on the "top 25 percent" of the market, Fortunado noted. The cost of LEED certification can be quite high, he continued, pointing to a recent project he saw that was "built to LEED standards," but then never certified as such because the owner decided that step was too expensive.

Weakness in the residential and increasingly the nonresidential markets has put many window and door companies in "survival" mode, noted Michael Collins of investment banker Jordan, Knauff & Co.  Reviewing the markets in details, he pointed to longer term opportunities offered by an expected increase in household formations. Another positive he cited for the Northeast-based group is that multifamily vacancy rates are quite low at the moment, suggesting that window and door manufacturers could see more opportunities there as well.

Stephen Andrews of Sovereign Bank offered a look at the broader economy. He suggested that despite what  critics suggest, last fall's bank bail-out had a positive effect, preventing credit markets from seizing up completely. While the economy continues to look fairly weak, Andrews indicated there are a number of indicators suggesting an improvement in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

In addition to its upcoming "fly-in," NWDA will return to the Atlantic City area July 20-21 for its summer meeting and golf outing, to be held at the Marriott Seaview Resort in Galloway, N.J. Information on that event is available on its Web site.