Volume 10, Issue 6 - July/August 2009

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DOE Requests $5.5 Million in Windows Funding
In fiscal year 2010 the administration is requesting 10.5 million for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Windows program—a $5.5 million dollar increase from last year, according to the DOE’s Marc LaFrance. LaFrance spoke before members of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association in early June during the association’s summer conference in Minneapolis.

“That’s a very significant increase,” said LaFrance. And it’s one that creates a lot of opportunities for manufacturers. He also mentioned that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is requesting $2 billion for research.

“We’re anticipating a large amount of that money to go toward windows research,” he said. LaFrance addressed a variety of subjects relating to the DOE’s programs, including new products coming down the pipeline.

“In the future we’re looking at an R10 window, maybe vacuum glazing as well,” he said. “We will see dynamic windows as a viable option in the years to come.”

He pointed out, though, that for the near term the DOE’s goal is an affordable R5 window in the marketplace.

“We’re trying to identify and organize buyer groups in the government and private sector,” he said.

He also said that while the industry speaks in terms of U-factors, “for the layman, Congress, etc., they understand an R-value better.”

LaFrance said that he disagrees with Richard Karney, DOE’s program manager for the Energy Star® windows program, concerning phase 2 of Energy Star.

“I personally think we should hold off on phase 2,” said LaFrance. He said doing so would allow the “triple-pane market to mature.”

“It’s time to move beyond double-pane,” he added. “We need to support highly insulating windows beyond the tax credits.”


AAMA Releases New, Voluntary Test Method for Thermal Transmittance and Condensation Resistance of Doors, Windows and Glazed Wall Sections
AAMA 1503-09, a voluntary test method for doors, windows and glazed wall sections, has been released by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).The test method, titled Voluntary Test Method for Thermal Transmittance and Condensation Resistance of Windows, Doors and Glazed Wall Sections, measures the thermal characteristics of doors, windows and glazed exterior wall sections under steady-state conditions. Specifically, measurements and calculations made using this procedure can be utilized to determine the thermal transmittance (air-to-air) or U-Factor, the air infiltration rate and/or the condensation resistance factor.

For AAMA 1503-09, calibration techniques were changed to reflect the significant improvement in window thermal performance over the years and sealing against potential air infiltration has been improved. Other calibration and test techniques were also refined. In addition, a component was added to allow for testing of multiple glazing options via AAMA’s 1505 glass library to provide simple, cost-effective and fully tested U-factor and condensation resistance factor (CRF) values.

Masonite Emerges from Chapter 11
Masonite International Corp. completed its financial restructuring and emerged from protection under both Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in Canada on June 9. The company filed for reorganization on March 16.

Masonite officials say the company reduced its debt from $2.2 billion in March to $11.3 million of term debt and less than $2 million of other debt at foreign subsidiaries at emergence.

“This restructuring process has made Masonite a financially healthier and stronger company better positioned for the future,” says Fred Lynch, president and chief executive officer of Masonite. “We achieved our goal to successfully complete our debt restructuring plan and emerge from Chapter 11 and CCAA within 120 days of filing in no small part because of the extraordinarily constructive work we undertook with our lenders to develop an outstanding capital structure to support our long-term business objectives.”

Tru Tech Acquires Therma-Tru Plant in Fredericksburg, Va.

Toronto-based Tru Tech Door Systems has acquired the Therma-Tru plant and its equipment in Fredericksburg, Va., and, at press time, planned to re-open the facility in July. The company acquired the property through an auctioneer to whom Therma-Tru had sold the property.

“It just became available and when we visited the facility, it happened to be the right time and the right place,” Tru Tech president John Careri told DWM magazine.

The new location, Tru Tech’s first in the United States, will be known as Tru Tech Doors U.S.A. and will serve as its U.S. headquarters, Careri says. The company currently has three manufacturing locations, all in Canada. Careri expects the Fredericksburg plant to serve the company’s Eastern U.S. customers.

The plant will produce light-commercial steel doors primarily, and the company planned to soon add residential entry doors as well.

Tru Tech had hired 25 former Therma-Tru employees to return to the facility, and planned to have a total of 40 on staff when the company officially opened the location in July.

“When production begins in July, we plan to increase that number,” Careri added.

Therma Tru announced last October that it would be closing the facility and transferring production of the products to other Therma-Tru locations.

U.S. House Republican Leader Visits Deceuninck
John Boehner, House representative for the eighth district of Ohio and House Republican Leader, visited Deceuninck North America’s Monroe, Ohio, facility in May. He began his visit by meeting with Mark Parrish, the company’s president and chief executive officer. During the meeting (which was closed to the press) Parrish said he raised a number of discussion topics, including the energy-efficient window tax credit and the buy-American provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; the Freedom of Choice Act; public school green building construction standards; and the implementation of the Energy Independence Act of 2007.

Parrish told DWM magazine that Rep. Boehner, whose background prior to politics was in the plastics industry, was very attuned to the homebuilding industry.

“He was … aware of our processes here and the fact that we have had to close two plants in the past two years,” said Parrish, adding that while Deceuninck, like so many others in the building products industry, has been faced with difficult times, he is still looking forward to a North American expansion strategy when the economy can support that.

“That’s part of the reason I invited him here, because we are invested and committed to a North American presence and expansion,” said Parrish, who noted that even though Rep. Boehner had not supported the stimulus plan, it indeed has benefited the company.

“We’ve recently started hiring again and our orders are increasing,” said Parrish.

Silver Line Closes Fall River, Mass., Facility
Silver Line Windows was expected to close its Fall River, Mass., facility on July 12. In a letter written on March 12, Silver Line president Randy Iles said that although the company has taken steps that have resulted in significant growth in its market share, it is not enough in these difficult times.

“Market share growth cannot enable any business to be successful when the overall size of the market declines as rapidly as the housing industry,” he said. “Costs must be lowered to offset the loss in volume. As a result, we have eliminated a number of positions, restricted discretionary spending and reduced manufacturing capacity by closing plants, eliminating shifts and reducing hours.”

He added that although these steps have helped to make Silver Line a stronger company that is more able to withstand this severe downturn in the housing industry, more manufacturing capacity has to be reduced.

“We do understand the impact this has on employees and their families,” said Iles. “Our intent is to be respectful of those who are leaving, to thank them sincerely for their hard work on behalf of Silver Line, and to offer them assistance to accelerate their successful transition into a new position.”

He added that these steps will help the company prepare for a brighter future.

“Silver Line is definitely going to be one of the survivors in our industry. We will get through this; we will be a stronger company, and we will be ready when the market comes back,” Iles said.

Silver Line spokesperson Maureen McDonough told DWM that the doors and windows produced at Fall River now will be produced at other Silver Line plants.

PGT Donates Windows to World Vision Storehouse
PGT Industries recently donated surplus product to the World Vision Storehouse, in support of children and families in need across America. The PGT Windows, among other donated building products, were used to rebuild the home of a West Virginia family, the Boylards, after it was destroyed by fire.

“PGT is proud to partner with World Vision to help families in need,” said Debbie LaPinska, vice president of sales and marketing at PGT. “We as a company believe in helping improve the communities and lives of community members where our products are sold.”

“PGT is a wonderfully engaged donor; they take an active role in ensuring that families like the Boylards receive what they need,” said Mary Garcia, World Vision’s corporate relations director. “Partnerships like these are what enable us to rebuild lives.”

PGT has been working with World Vision since last year, donating product from their aluminum and vinyl residential product lines. The Boylards are one of many families in West Virginia who have improved their lives through PGT’s donation. Appalachia is an area of the country where poverty is magnified, due to many factors, including fewer employment opportunities and lower income potential.

Several companies in the industry have recently celebrated milestones and anniversaries.

  • Seaway Manufacturing Corp. celebrated its 50th anniversary on Friday, May 29, with a ceremony at its plant in Erie, Pa.

  • Edgetech I.G. Inc. in Cambridge, Ohio, and Crystal Window & Door Systems of Flushing, N.Y., both are celebrating 20 years in business during 2009.

  • Gorell Windows & Doors in Indiana, Pa., is celebrating 15 years in business.

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