LEED Guide Being Developed By WDMA

The Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) was formed to gather information on green building initiatives and developments critical to window, door and skylight manufacturers and suppliers.

This includes monitoring developments at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its expanding network of sustainable building certification programs. ESC is also gathering information about other groups who have an influence on green practices, like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), as well as sate and local green building programs nationwide.

In addition, the ESC is in the process of developing a guide on how door and window products can contribute to building points in the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programs. LEED gives points for various aspects of environmentally-friendly design, but does not give direct credit for individual products.

Initially developed for the WDMA Interior Doors Standards committee, the ESC guide currently covers wood interior doors. The guide is now being expanded to include all other products manufactured by WDMA members including windows and exterior doors, according to Peter Walker, chairperson of the ESC and an executive with the J.M. Huber Co. It will also cover other materials, such as aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass and composites.

The ESC also continues to gather information about ongoing changes in LEED, which now include commercial construction programs for existing buildings, commercial interiors and core and shell development, in addition to the original program for new commercial construction.

A program for homes is also being developed for LEED. Some of the LEED guidelines, according to Walker, need to have the basis for their scientific information reviewed. For example, he said, LEED puts an emphasis on alternative species of trees, which are what the USGBC called 'rapidly renewable' (i.e. renewable in 10 years or less), but does not give proper emphasis to other types of trees. The use of wood species from more traditional forests should also be encouraged, Walker said, since more trees are now being planted than are harvested from these forests. "Wood is one of the more renewable products," he added. "Forests can regenerate or be replanted."

Walker also takes issue with the fact that LEED currently only recognizes one certification program: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Certification by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) should also be included, he says, because there is not enough wood certified under FSC to meet the needs of the window and door industry.

Nigel Howard, vice president for LEED and LEED international programs, spoke at the summer meeting of WDMA in August and underscored the USGBC's willingness to listen to comments and criticisms from industry organizations.

On other fronts, the ESC is now developing a calendar of green, sustainable and environmental events and meetings that might be of interest to its membership and is working to update the WDMA environmental statement of beliefs drafted in 2000. "A lot has changed in five years," said Walker.

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