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.

Mic Patterson addresses the AAMA Summer Conference in Seattle.
Mic Patterson addresses the AAMA Summer Conference in Seattle.

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

Patterson’s presentation touched on 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.
Alternatives for Green Certifications

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.

The Green Building Initiative uses a 1,000-point system for Green Globes, whereas USGBC uses 100 points for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Mitchell said. Green Globes assessors are able to use judgment in scoring.

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

The Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes is going to encourage more people to get involved with sustainability, Mitchell said.

Window Technology in Europe

Ulrich Sieberath of ift Rosenheim spoke to the conference 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 only a few characteristics, such as frame material groups instead of U-values.

Sieberath also provided examples of sustainable buildings around the world, from the U.S. and Canada to Europe and Japan. He also covered the popular topic of environmental product declarations, and how to get them for different certification systems.

The Future of Building Products

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

“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.

He explained that sustainability has been all about reducing your footprint and, instead, creating handprints. “Handprints are the sum total of positive impacts we create,” Connelly said.

Connelly discussed the three ways to create handprints: Reduce your own footprint, reduce others’ footprints and focus on generative actions, he said.


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