WDMA National Fall Meeting Finishes Strong

The final day of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association's (WDMA) meeting, which took place on Monday, October 30 in Las Vegas, was filled with a wide range of topics, from green building to innovations and energy costs.

Tim Reinhold, Ph.D., vice president of engineering for the Institute for Business and Home Safety, gave members the insurance perspective on building codes and regulatory environments, as well as other things.

"The strengthening codes work … Water penetration problems are the next huge issue-a challenge for the future," says Reinhold. "The really bad news is that lots of coastal areas are not using modern engineering standards, and more people are looking to move into these communities."Switching gears to address "green building issues," Dennis Creech, executive director of Southface Energy Institute, a company that certifies green homes, says, "It's more profitable for a builder to 'do green,' because they have lower operating costs, maintenance and water costs, and energy bills."

Builders get financial incentives for green building, Creech says.

Robert Cassidy, editor of BD&C magazine, says that skilled building teams can do these green building projects within their budget-which signals a shift from the past.

Approximately 20 percent of Cassidy's readers have LEED or green building certification on at least one of their projects, he reports.
"Builders and developers are still worried about cost, even though cost is going away," says Cassidy.

"When you go out there and pitch your products, don't just say they are 'green'-talk about durability, maintenance and practical issues. The worst thing we could do is build a green building that'll fall apart in 10 years," says Cassidy. "My readers want some sense of credibility that green buildings are better than conventional buildings."

There was a conflicting message from the two speakers that presented information at the "Rising Energy Costs" seminar.

"Energy prices will decline and be volatile over the next five years," says Ron Denhardt, chief executive officer of SEER Inc.

He says that the U.S. supply decline is projected to reverse its historic trend and grow sharply. Unless demand growth is very strong, prices should fall significantly in real terms.

Although this was good news to members, the second speaker, Roger Bezdek, president of Management Information Services Inc., says that, "The world is consuming a lot more oil and finding less," he says. "When will the demand outstrip supply? No one really knows."

Bezdek says that the solution is to start early.

"Energy is inherently very large scale. There are no magic bullets."

Bezdek also says that the oil peaking time is uncertain, but it may be in less than 20 years.

"The scale and magnitude [of the problem] is overwhelming-which most people don't understand."

How will this affect door and window manufacturers? Bezdek says this might mean higher prices for energy and transportation and a recessionary and high interest rate environment.

There might be an increased demand for energy-efficient products, changes in design and construction buildings, changes in locations of buildings, increased demand for daylighting and government regulations and incentives.

Members of the association enjoyed a special treat from the wrap-up keynote speaker, Art Linkletter.

Linkletter captured the members' with his jokes and 'family-man' attitude towards life.

WDMA's 80th annual meeting will be February 24-28, 2007, at the Fairmont Orchid Resort in Big Island, Hawaii.

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