Speakers and presenters offered insights into the future of sustainability in the building industry at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) 2015 Summer Conference, held June 28-July 1 in Seattle.

Author and researcher Mic Patterson delivered the conference’s keynote address. He reviewed the recent evolution in façade technology and applications. He identified current and emerging drivers of change and discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the glass industry.

Patterson discussed geometric complexity, material and process diversity, and acoustical performance. “Most projects referred to as high performance have little to do with performative considerations, but are largely driven by appearance,” he said.

Architect Rich Mitchell from Mackenzie presented an overview of his experience with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Building Initiative rating systems.

“With LEED, the box is either checked ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” Mitchell said. “Alternately, the Green Globes assessor is coaching you to the finish line.”

Ulrich Sieberath of ift Rosenheim spoke about the performance and sustainability of window technology in Europe. He compared past design standards with those of today and demonstrated how changes have been for the better.

For example, one product standard he cited characterized windows with 24 different features. In the past, similar design standards covered only a few characteristics, such as frame material groups instead of U-values.

James Connelly of the International Living Future Institute spoke about the future of building products in the industry.

“The majority of energy savings in a building come from fenestration products, which is why I’m excited to talk to you,” Connelly told the crowd of residential and commercial door, window and skylight professionals.