Lead, Energy Star and tax credit updates at AAMA
Attendees at the Regulatory Affairs Committee meeting June 7 at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association National Summer Conference in Minneapolis heard updates on a range of topics, including lead paint, window tax credits, EnergyStar Phase II, anti-dumping duties and skylight standards.
Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO, provided a broad update of regulations, including one "good story" regarding recent federal regulation against aluminum extrusion dumping. "We understand this has had a profound effect right away," Walker said.
Environmental Protection Agency
Lead paint regulations continue to be a top industry concern. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to review and curb some current regulations, including the recent Lead Renovation Repair and Painting program, and the EPA could reach a final decision by this summer, Walker said. Additionally, the EPA is "looking at commercial building next for lead," Walker said. The agency is currently seeking comments from the industry, and final action hearings are set for July 2013.
The EPA is also taking action in regard to a Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) for sources of PVC production, which would affect vinyl producers. "It requires producers to demonstrate initial and continuous compliance with the proposed emissions standard," Walker said. The Vinyl Institute is working on a response to the proposal. The deadline for stakeholders to provide input on the proposal to the EPA is July 19.
The group heard an update on Energy Star Phase II, with revised criteria for residential windows and doors. The updated program is still scheduled to take affect in fall 2013. Currently, the EPA is seeking feedback from manufacturers regarding the estimated cost of producing higher performance products at a higher capacity.
In a related move, the EPA is investigating a blind testing program for windows, said Jim Benney, executive director of the National Fenestration Rating Council, Greenbelt, Md. "The EPA is going to start a pilot program to determine if this blind verification procedure actually adds value, not just to Energy Star, but to all products in the certified product directory," Benney said. "The EPA wants NFRC to buy products blindly from manufacturers and test them to ensure they meet labeling found on those products. ... Every industry in Energy Star has to do this."
AAMA has also joined forces with several other organizations, including the WDMA, to address tax credits for windows, which dropped drastically after the larger credits ran out at the end of 2010. The current maximum tax credit for energy efficient upgrades is $200, down from $1,500. "We're trying to put together a lobbying force to reconsider these tax credits," Walker said.
AAMA is working with other industry associations to provide life cycle information to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for its Life Cycle Inventory. "We're investigating how to fit into the inventory," Walker said. "We're working with IGMA, GANA, WDMA and NFRC so we speak with one voice."
ASTM and IGMA
Ken Brenden, AAMA technical services manager, provided an update on activities at ASTM and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, Ottawa, Ontario. One topic of interest at ASTM included discussion over water penetration and proposals to update the definition, creating revisions to 331 and 547. "We should see that coming later this year or early next year," Brenden said. The ASTM Skylight Human Impact Resistance Task Group is also making progress in developing testing criteria, Brenden said.
Brenden covered several developments at IGMA, including the association's recent and well-attended Glass Safety Awareness seminar. The program is posted on IGMA's website and complimentary to the industry.