Tightening Performance Criteria Discussed at AAMA Western Region

May 13, 2010

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association held its Western region spring meeting last week in Oakland, Calif.  The meeting began with a tour of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and featured an agenda covering the current economic outlook, updates to California building codes and other issues.

A member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Lawrence  Berkeley Lab has a façade test lab facility in which switchable electrochromic windows are tested for the purpose of studying engineering as well as occupant response. The visit included a discussion of new trends in building energy efficiency, as well as future Energy Star criteria, expected in early 2013. According to lab representatives, the response to DOE's Highly-Insulating (R-5) Window Volume Purchase Program exceeded expectations, a surprise given that R-5 performing products comprise only 1 percent of the current market.

David Weightman from the California Energy Commission provided an update on California Green Initiatives. Guided by research performed by the CEC's Public Interest Energy Research, its initiatives include more stringent building code standards, and promotion of the first statewide green building code in California. Weightman also discussed an enhanced skylight modeling and validation project, the aim of which is to establish accurate simulation methods for skylight candlepower distributions applicable to various locations, climates and skylight types.

Ryan Schmidt of Heschong Mahone Group reviewed the California code change proposals, both in the residential and commercial sectors. Previewing industry participation opportunities in the development of 2011 California building energy efficiency standard (Title 24), he noted that California's objective is for all the state's residential construction to achieve zero net energy by 2020. 

John Hogan of the Seattle Department of Planning and Development discussed proposed building envelope criteria for ASHRAE standards 90.1 and 189.1.

From Chapman University, Esamel Adibi looked at the impact of the economic downturn on all sectors of industry, as well as the current economic recovery and the growth of jobs in residential and commercial construction. Additionally, his forecast examined home prices and sales which Adibi predicted have bottomed out and will improve in 2010.

"The Western region faces very specific codes and regulations; therefore, it is imperative to keep members up to date on activities within these states," noted Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO.  "The lab tour and speakers at this spring's event enable attendees to focus on the future of their businesses in order to look ahead and plan accordingly."

Walker reviewed strategic initiatives at AAMA as well as highlights from recent AAMA events, in addition to updating attendees regarding development of the association's Green and Sustainable Product Certification Program.  He also provided updates on new Environmental Protection Agency lead regulations and Home Star.   He pointed to the ASHRAE standards outlined by Hogan.  "Some of the new provisions in these documents limit window area and have prompted a unified industry response. They should be on everyone's radar within the fenestration industry."