Glass industry organizations join together to address life cycle assessment

Glass Magazine
August 22, 2011
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Glass Association of North America, Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and Window and Door Manufacturers Association have joined together to collectively address life cycle assessment of fenestration products. "LCA has become a critical component in clearly determining how environmentally friendly a product is by fully analyzing its effectiveness over its entire life cycle," says Rich Walker, president and CEO of AAMA.

LCA is being used by organizations including the National Institute of Standards Technology to rate building products and complete buildings. "It is important for the fenestration industry as a whole to understand the critical assumptions included in the NIST Sustainability Calculator, as these assumptions form the basis for the development of window Product Category Rules that will be the guidelines for developing specific LCA values through [Environmental Product Declarations]," Walker says. "This work provides the foundation for standardizing and analyzing the environmental performance credentials of windows. The group's initial meeting output included two tables populated with critical assumptions for the NIST Sustainability Calculator. These assumptions included U-factors and SHGC, along with window type, operability and window-to-wall ratios for model building types. It is imperative that all industry voices are heard and contribute to this building block for the EPDs.

"The four industry organizations signed a memorandum of understanding in late June, creating the Window Industry Ad Hoc PCR Task Group. "The task group serves as a discussion forum, and the meetings are considered informal with voting only taking place on procedural items. WDMA and AAMA rotate in the facilitator role every three months," Walker says.

The next step for the task group is collecting data from industry companies, as representative members from the four organizations will be sent confidential questionnaires to gather LCA data. The task group will meet twice monthly via conference call to discuss questions on the submitted data and "plan for the next stage in the process," Walker says.