Volume 6 Issue 11 December 2005
Building Industry Gathers to Study Comfort and Productivity
Individuals representing all facets of the building industry, including architects, engineers, suppliers and manufacturers in the building products industry, attended a one-day symposium this week, “Comfort and Productivity: The Fenestration Factor.” The session was presented in Arlington, Va., by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and the Building Enclosure Technology and Environmental Council (BETEC). It was co-sponsored by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).
The Department of Energy’s Richard Karney gave an update on the new energy bill passed recently by Congress as several sections deal explicitly with fenestration and building envelope components, according to Karney. He mentioned that the DOE is authorized to seek $90 million per year for education and outreach activities but that this money is not guaranteed. “We need to seek appropriations for these funds and get them granted by Congress,” says Karney. “We will probably not get the extra funding to support some of these activities.”
Regarding the $200 tax credit to homeowners who purchase energy-efficient windows, Karney admitted this number is low. “This doesn’t sound like much. I’m afraid it probably isn’t much,” he says.
He did add, though that the idea of a tax credit could stimulate the consumer and that is good news for the window industry. $200 is not that exciting but it might help,” he says. “But it does help bring attention to energy-efficient products. Hopefully it will stimulate low-E sales.”
Karney raised the question of how to define what qualifies as an energy-efficient window. He mentioned that the Alliance to Save Energy advocates that a window with the Energy Star® label would qualify and Karney agrees saying in most cases, a consumer would get $200 back by purchasing a window with the Energy Star label.
Karney’s colleague at DOE, Marc LaFrance also spoke at the conference. His presentation included an update on the DOE’s goal to achieve zero energy homes by 2020 and zero energy buildings by 2025.
“Moving to zero energy buildings will require significant technological advancements to meet performance costs and targets,” he said.
These technological advancements include dynamic and highly insulating windows, according to LaFrance. He reported that regarding dynamic windows, SAGE Electrochomics is the farthest along in terms of this technology.
“I believe they will get to a cost of $15 per square foot for glass in a few years,” he says. “But this will not get to wide-scale distribution until it gets to $5-$7 per square foot.”
In terms of ratings, he said that dynamic glazings cannot be rated with a fixed number but rather through a performance-based approach. According to LaFrance, the DOE has encouraged the NFRC to devise such a rating.
A New Approach to Windows?
Barry Hardman of the National Building Sciences Corp. spoke about window leakage and what can be done to ensure this doesn’t damage buildings.
“I don’t think a window leaking is necessarily bad, “ he says. “But we have to make sure this doesn’t affect the building.”
He mentions that the latest edition of ASTM E 2112 introduces sill pans. “What a concept,” Hardman joked.
He also said window manufacturers need to come a long way as far as installation standards.
“Window manufacturers may test their windows well,” he said. “But they have no consistency when it comes to installation.”
When speaking about installation instructions he said simply that some are downright stupid. Other common installation errors he mentioned included reversed shingling and detached flashing, gaps between the window, flashing and weather barrier.
“If you go to any window site you will see these things,” he told attendees as he showed photos of poor installations.
“Window manufacturers are not good at building buildings. They haven’t studied that—but they’re getting there,” said Hardman.
Hardman did acknowledge that in ASTM E2112, method A1 there are 42 steps to installing a window.
“Can someone make an error? You bet,” he said.
The situation is not made easier by the lack of qualified installers which Hardman said will only get worse in the future. He adds that the situation is compounded by the fact that the “Codes continue to be extremely ineffective.”
Does Hardman have a solution to this? Yes.
“We need to be able to change windows out,” he stated. He recommends using a modular insert fenestration system, an idea going back one hundred years. The window would be isolated from the wall protecting it from window leakage and encouraging natural drainage to the building’s exterior.
Hardman said NIBS performed testing of these systems in August 2005 and found no leaks. But Hardman says no one has conducted testing in the wall and that is next step for NIBS.
NIBS also conducted focus groups with builders to gain their thoughts on modular systems.
“The bigger the builder the more they like this idea,” added Hardman. “If a storm is coming they can take the window out.”
NFRC Studies New Comfort Rating
Ray McGowan, manager of technical services for the NFRC, spoke about a new rating system the NFRC is looking at regarding human thermal comfort. The final research results were to be presented at the group’s meeting on November 28 (the meeting had not yet occurred at press time). The NFRC is aiming to develop a technical basis for a method to rate the thermal comfort performance of windows. Look for more on this in future issues of DWM magazine.
Premium Glass Inc. is Acquired by Taylor Building Products
Taylor Building Products Inc. has acquired Premium Glass Inc. of Lancaster, Ohio, a producer of clear and decorative doorlites. In announcing the merger, Ignacio (Nick) Cangialosi, owner and chairperson of Taylor Building Products, noted that the two companies have had an excellent working relationship since 2001, when Premium Glass became the prime supplier of glasslites for Taylor Door.
“The merger will strengthen our working relationship with dealers and distributors, and enable us to speed the development of new products to the market,” said Cangialosi. “Our focus will continue to be the manufacturing and marketing of high quality, well-engineered building products, reliably delivered and competitively priced.”
He said that manufacturing and distribution of products will continue in both West Branch, Mich. and Lancaster, Ohio.
Tecton Products Breaks Ground for New Expansion Project
Tecton Products LLC of Roanoke, Va., broke ground for its new 75,000 square-foot facility in the Roanoke County Center for Research and Technology (CRT). The project, which was announced in April, will create 58 new jobs with a $9.5 million investment in the first phase of the project. The company says it will invest an additional $3.5 million and create 93 more jobs in Phase II by 2011. In total it plans to invest $13 million within the next five years.
Roanoke County was selected primarily due to the presence of one of the company’s largest customers, Integrity Windows.
“As we break ground for our second facility, the CRT will make an outstanding new home for the future success of our company,” said Robert Plagemann, general manager. Tecton plans to open its facility and begin manufacturing by June of 2006.
Hardware Manufacturer Opens New Facility in Whitewater, Wis.
Winkhaus, a global manufacturer of door and window hardware, celebrated the opening of its new North American headquarters located in Whitewater, Wis., with an open house on October 27th.
The attractive, new facility doubles the amount of office, warehouse and assembly space the company occupied in its previous location in Pompton Plains, N.J. In addition, the company says the move strategically places it in closer proximity to numerous key customers located in the Midwest.
On display at the open house was a line of elegant and sophisticated new products, including multi-point locking systems, cylinders, handle sets and door hinges that generated keen interest among visitors, due to several advanced and unique features. The hardware package will be launched at the upcoming International Builders show in Orlando in January.
“This is a strong commitment to our existing and future customers in the North American marketplace,” said Rudy Kessler, president. “Our competent team of professionals will provide technical support, process orders from well-stocked inventory, and execute custom assembly from this new facility. This means greater flexibility and shorter lead times,” he said.
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