The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) held its fall conference September 21-24 in San Antonio at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort. While the meetings ran the gamut of the group’s various aspects, one topic seemed to prevail throughout all the sessions: the ideas of green and sustainability and how to promote them.

One popular topic throughout the conference was the group’s green certification program, which currently is under development. Walker advised he has meetings planned with both the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Initiative in order to get feedback on the AAMA program as it develops.

“We don’t want to go too far down our road without having their input,” he said.

Tracy Rogers, who chairs the green and sustainability specification development task group, introduced the group’s first draft of a possible specification document. While the draft was rough in form, according to Rogers, it details a list of the possible items for which an item might receive points under the green certification, and details a matrix in which a ratio is calculated, resulting in two final “green” scores-one for features and one for performance. Performance includes items such as air/water/structural performance, while features include such items as recyclability, recycled content, etc.

Much discussion ensued after the introduction of the document about what makes a product sustainable.

“I don’t know how structural performance has anything to do with sustainability,” said one attendee.

“It’s because it affects the life cycle of the product,” Rogers said.

The group also had some discussion about whether the glass and framing material should be considered separately when it comes to “recycled content” of the product, though no conclusion was reached. Many were concerned about the basics, such as what constitutes recycled content. Currently, the draft references FTC 260 for identifying what is considered recycled content.

The task group hopes to have the specification balloted early next year.

The green and sustainability committee held one of the largest meetings of the conference. Committee chair Steve Fronek of Apogee heard reports from the various subcommittee and task group chairs.

Among the highlights of the meeting was a report from Dave Moyer of Architectural Testing, chair of the procedural guide task group, who noted that the group is in a bit of a holding pattern, trying to develop a procedure for a specification that’s not complete yet.

“The procedural guide task group is doing what we can, but we’re kind of the tail on the dog and the dog isn’t there,” he said. “I’m wondering if we might be a little premature in our efforts.”

Moyer recommended that the group hold on its efforts until the spec is complete. Fronek called on Rogers to explain how long he expected the specification to take. Rogers said that with many comments and balloting still in the future, it likely would not be complete for about a year.

John Lewis, AAMA technical director, expressed some concern about this timeframe.

“It looks like we’re looking at a year and a half or so until this is complete, but we could be facing a different world a year from now,” Lewis said.

Brent Slaton of Keymark, who chairs the aluminum sustainability task group, questioned the motivation to push the program through so quickly.

“I’d think we’d like to give it a little thought and do it right the first time,” he said.

Fronek agreed.

Lewis noted, though, that often, the program that emerges first is the leader in a given area; for example, he noted that of the Green Globes, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) green building programs, he expects eventually the USGBC’s is the one that will last, as it was the first to make strides.

“Being the leader in this for fenestration is what’s important,” Lewis said.

But, Rogers argued, the way the process for developing standards within the association has been set up prevents rushing a document through-and with reason.

“The process doesn’t allow it,” he said. “I could ask the people involved to put their thoughts aside in the interest of time, but that will end up taking longer.”

AAMA’s 72nd annual conference will be held February 22-25, 2009, in Coronado, Calif, at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort near San Diego.

CLICK HERE for a full report of the conference.

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