Volume 6 Issue 3 April 2005
NAFS, DOE and NFRC
Hot Acronyms Discussed at AAMA's Annual Meeting
When the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) conducted its annual meeting at the end of February in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the group was busy discussing the possible merger with the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) of course (see article page 130), but issues such as the new North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) and Energy Star® guidelines were also hot topics, among others.
NAFS Harmonization Is Complete
Although AAMA members have been busy working on NAFS for years, the final version was printed in March and an electronic version is available on www.ammanet.org.
Jeld-Wen’s Ray Garries and Moduline’s Dave Guffey presided over the meeting and reminded members that agreement on the Standard Specification for Windows, Doors and Skylights was reached among AAMA, WDMA and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) on January 7.
One aspect of the standard discussed at the meeting revolved around the exterior side hinged doors limited water (LW) rating. Manufacturers may test with water spray but without pressure or pressures less than full water test pressure if they attach the designation LW to their rating. The standard also allows reporting additional information from the manufacturer’s test such as negative test pressure or higher water test pressures.
A question arose as to what test method manufacturers should use to comply with all three standards.
“I might choose to test to the worst case requirements of all the standards and report three different ratings,” said Carl Wagus, AAMA’s technical director. “If you achieve full compliance under all three ratings, you can report all the results if it helps you. A comparison of the key requirements of all three standards was prepared by AAMA staff to guide manufacturers in deciding what to test.”
Questions from the audience included, “When can we start testing to this document?” and “When can we start certifying to this document?” Wagus answered, “Today.”
Garries addressed how to handle some of the concerns from members regarding testing to different versions. He pointed out that manufacturers must test to either 1997 or 2002 because they will be in the codes for a long time.
“After a designated date, you will have to test to 2005,” he added.
Some of the members voiced their desire to have one report, even if they’ve tested to more than one version, with the goal of avoiding multiple reports. Garries indicated that the strategy for implementing phase in of the new standard and phase out of certification to the old standard will be decided by the certification policy committee during AAMA’s next annual meeting.
According to Wagus, the different associations need to direct the labs so everyone is on the same page.
“Labs don’t have instructions on what to do on the test reports,” he said.
While the first version of NAFS has just been printed, AAMA is already in the planning stages of the new version. Wagus talked about simplification of the core document to remain material neutral and performance based, and to determine the need of a residential version versus commercial.
Bruce Bohnen of Andersen Windows mentioned an issue he would like addressed in the new version regarding design pressure (DP) product ratings. He would like to see the standard changed for residential windows to include variable ratings based on wind speed and rainfall amounts.
Initial discussion in the vinyl materials council Energy Star DOE/NFRC task group revolved around the feasibility of trade-offs. The aluminum materials council suggested that the DOE consider trade-offs for solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) for Energy Star. Keith Christman of the Vinyl Institute addressed the four regions of the United States that are energy neutral, and concluded that in three regions trade-offs did not make sense. He said that in the South Central region, excluding California, energy neutral trade-offs don’t work except in Phoenix.
He also claimed that the trade-off scheme does not meet scientific criteria. He did say that trade-offs would work in the Southern zone, but are not necessary. The DOE’s approach to this situation was to come up with equivalent performance criteria. (Comments regarding the trade-off scenario can be accessed via www.govforums.org.)
Following this discussion, Stephen Bickel of D&R International offered a presentation regarding Energy Star. One component of his presentation focused on labeling. He said Type 1 labels must be used for manufacturers that have “standard” product configurations, and must be used if the company does not define its “standard” product configuration. The labels may also be used if a product configuration qualifies in multiple climate zones.
DOE announced the new labeling criteria in February. Units coming out after April 30, 2005 need to be labeled by July 31 of that year, according to Bickel (see www.energystar.gov/windows for more information).
Aluminum: Code Issues
The aluminum materials council discussed the codes that are based on ASTM E 1300.
According to the group, the weakest area of aluminum windows is energy, the strongest being safety based on long-term durability. Additional attributes include strength-to- weight issues and availability of colors.
“Durability becomes subjective unless it’s tested,” said Raj Goyal of Graham Architectural Products. “Based on ASTM E 1300, no one can argue that,” The group also mentioned that the NFRC has been looking at long-term performance of windows and how the material is effected. This has been focused predominantly on energy performance, though the study is still ongoing.
John Lewis of TRACO provided a codes update. A joint codes committee (JCC) has been formed between AAMA and the WDMA for the purpose of identifying and reviewing issues presented by Julie Ruth and Mike Fischer, code representatives for AAMA and WDMA, respectively. The group has devised a consensus position on eight issues.
The code advisory team (CAT) was also formed comprised of five members from each group. The purpose of CAT is to review and be an oversight committee for JCC, though the role of the CAT has not been 100-percent defined.
Vinyl: Green Issues
While green building issues were a hot topic at the WDMA’s recent meeting (see story, page 126), this was also discussed at AAMA’s meeting of its vinyl materials council. Christman spoke to members about green building issues surrounding vinyl. He mentioned that dioxin comes from aluminum and other materials.
“The green building initiative [U.S. Green Building Council] tells you to move away from those products that produce dioxins but doesn’t tell you what you should use,” he said.
Christman pointed out to attendees that the National Association of Home Builders launched its green building standards that are material neutral at the recent International Builders Show.
The Vinyl Institute has a brochure endorsing vinyl that may be ordered through AAMA.
Glass Materials Council
The main topic of discussion at the glass materials council (GMC) was the effort by the NFRC to develop a certification labeling program for non-residential products (this was also discussed at the WDMA meeting (see article, page 126), and the subject stirred heated debate at the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Glass Week meeting held in February (see March USGlass, page 52).
Tom Mewbourne of AFG Industries Inc., and a member of GANA’s primary glass manufacturers division reported on the NFRC testing and certification and, echoing what happened at Glass Week, expressed concern that this is on a “fast track” and the commercial glass industry is not having sufficient input into the process.
Jeff Baker, technical director of the Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers Association and a board member of NFRC, explained that the data for the group’s labeling program would come from the center of glass calculation, spacer properties and frame parameters.
The impetus for the non-residential action is coming from the framing manufacturers because certification is already in place in California, Oregon and Washington. The responsibility is on the framing manufacturers to do all of the calculations for a job without any guarantee that they are going to get the job. Theoretically, eight companies might have to do the work to get the bid on a project but only one company would get the job.
Members of the GMC passed a motion recommending that AAMA’s board of directors send a letter to NFRC expressing concerns that the process is being rushed. AAMA and GANA have already sent similar letters to the NFRC.
In insulating glass news, IGMA’s Margaret Webb reported an important development regarding research in the meeting of the insulating glass gas retention task group. Webb reported that because Cardinal Glass has filed a patent concerning calibration of the GasGlass non-invasive device IGMA has suspended sharing its data on the round robin testing it was doing concerning glass retention awaiting clarification of the filing. “We are optimistic that the issue will be resolved in some way, possibly through license or data sharing,” said Webb.
AAMA's summer meeting will be held June 25-29 in Victoria, Canada.
Global Competition “One Size Fits all Won’t Work”
Giving the group a break from AAMA business, Monday’s luncheon speaker offered a look at how U.S. manufacturing can win in today’s competitive marketplace. Pat Panchak, editor in chief of Industry Week magazine outlined the challenges facing U.S. manufacturers, including global challenges, intense low-cost competition and high structural costs.
“Find your competitive advantage and succeed in this crazy marketplace,” she said.
While much attention is placed on China and the effect this will have on manufacturing, including fenestration, Panchak said manufacturers may not need to be worried.
“China and others are going after high-tech manufacturing, not other types,” she said.
She also warned attendees not to buy into the myth that U.S. manufacturing is dead or dying.
“If we embrace this idea, investments will shift and the service industry will shift,” she said.
She also told attendees to embrace the fact that there is not a one size fits all strategy.
“You need a mix of strategies, not just one,” she said.
“If you think it’s just low cost, you don’t know your customer very well,” Panchak warned.
“Offer proprietary products, enter new markets, create new and unique value propositions and focus on high-tech innovation, the will to succeed and openness to new ideas and opportunities.”
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