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USGNN Original StoryAAMA's Green and Sustainability Task Group Works on Green Specification
June 1, 2009

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is hosting its summer meeting this week in Minneapolis, and members quickly went to work today to discuss important business. The Green and Sustainability Specification Development Task Group met for two hours this morning to discuss the latest version of the association's Sustainable Products Certification Program Proposed Criteria. Tracy Rogers of Edgetech IG serves as chair of the group.

AAMA members met this morning for the Green and Sustainability Specification Development Task Group where they discussed the latest version of the association's Sustainable Products Certification Program Proposed Criteria.

The proposed program may be likened to the USGBC's LEED program in that it offers participants a specified number of points in a range of different categories (though this program is fenestration specific) including condensation resistance, variable transmittance and other factors. But it also includes five mandatory criteria that must be met to participate. These include: energy performance, air infiltration, water resistance, structural performance and durability. A company's products can receive different points based on these factors. For example, in the energy performance category a product would get different points based on the U factor of that particular window.

"When it comes to someone else's program this could be the fenestration component they specify," said Rogers.

The program would include residential and non-residential products, though one member noted he would like to see a strictly residential program.

Discussion did ensue over various specifics of the program, many of which had to do with concerns regarding specific materials to which Rogers said, "AAMA's whole goal is to be material neutral."

The group also discussed specific product groups including skylights. A few representatives of the skylight industry said that skylights should be looked at separately. Ultimately, the group decided to create a separate rating category for each program in the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), while still having commonalities.

"This doesn't mean we break up and start over," said Rogers.

So the meeting continued with the factory-glazed windows component of the program.

Much of this discussion centered on the issue of recycled content. The Aluminum Materials Council presented a proposal outlining levels of recycled content and how many points a product would get based on those percentages. This created a great amount of feedback and various members representing the vinyl industry said the numbers were too high.

The proposal for pre-and post-consumer recycled content would give 2 points for 10-24 percent recyclability, 4 points for 24-40 percent, 6 points for 50-74 percent and 8 points for 75 percent and higher.

Terry Abels from Chelsea Building Products said these numbers would hurt the vinyl industry. Others pointed out that there is no way to reuse vinyl as is the case with other materials such as aluminum.

"One member pointed out, 'Now you understand the problem aluminum has with U-factor."

Brent Slaton from Keymark, and a member of the Aluminum Materials Council, said those proposed numbers can be changed and pointed out that goal was to "put more emphasis on recyclability and make it material neutral."

Ultimately, the group decided to put together a working group chaired by Abels that would consist of at least one member of each of AAMA's materials council that would determine what the appropriate levels should be.

So while there may be differences of opinion, the members seem to agree that the association is moving in the right direction with development of this specification.

Abels stressed the importance of moving forward as did Rogers.

"The marketplace is moving forward without us," said Rogers, emphasizing the importance that the group continues with its work.

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