WDMA Unveils 2010 Policy Agenda

January 16, 2010

The Window & Door Manufacturers Association has unveiled a detailed legislative and regulatory agenda for 2010. Pointing to continued economic struggles in the nation's manufacturing and housing/construction industries, WDMA's 16-page document outlines a number of "sustainable pro-growth policies that will support innovation and affordable applications of advanced technologies in the window, door and skylight industry and the building sector that it supports."

"With Congress rightly focused on job creation strategies at the start of the year, we stand ready to work with policymakers to create effective incentives for the use of energy-conserving doors, windows and skylights," says Steve Tourek, WDMA chairman and senior vice president of Marvin Doors & Windows. While improving the building envelope offers great potential for energy conservation through the use of high-performance fenestration products, retrofitting existing homes and buildings also offers a powerful job creation stimulus, he notes. "Increased retrofitting activity will put not only contractors back to work, but also workers down the supply chain who manufacture and distribute building materials."

"New policies are needed to restore our competitiveness and enable us to continue to provide high-paying skilled jobs that will rebuild our national economy," writes Tourek and Michael O'Brien, WDMA executive vice president, in a letter to policymakers that kicks off the document. The letter goes on to note that with increased interest and activity focused on energy efficiency,  WDMA is particularly focused on policies that will encourage, incentivize and support the use of high-performance
fenestration products in new construction as well as in the retrofitting of existing homes and buildings.

"WDMA members have already been able to restore a limited number of jobs in the manufacturing sector as a result of the tax credit for energy-efficient improvements included in stimulus legislation early last year," the letter states. "But such incentives can be made more effective and should not be limited to tax credits alone. Increased cooperative, voluntary efforts between government and private enterprise will create the actual achievement of greater energy conservation and independence. As Congress develops national energy and climate change policies, it is imperative that energy conservation targets are reasonably achievable and that policies are market-based and consensus-driven, rather than top-down regulation by the government that runs the risk of stifling manufacturing productivity."

The WDMA positions outlined in the document cover a broad range of issues.  In addition to energy conservation and housing, it addresses environmental stewardship, tax and trade, product supply and workforce policies seen as having a critical impact on the the fenestration industry.

The WDMA agenda reflects the organization's stepped-up efforts to engage legislators, regulators and code officials on policies impacting the fenestration industry.  The organization opened a Washington, D.C., office in 2009 and has also opted to replace its traditional annual winter meeting with a spring meeting and legislative conference, to be held March 15-17 at the Marriott Washington in Washington D.C.

WDMA is joining with the National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association and the North American Building Material Distribution Association to discuss legislative and regulatory issues and to hear directly from federal policymakers about current issues impacting the industry.  More information about the event, which includes time for visits to Capitol Hill and federal agencies, is available at its special conference Web site.