More Labels? Next: Environmental Product Declarations!

May 28, 2014

“Ecolabels” enumerating window products’ impact on various environmental parameters are coming. Known more formally as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), they are already a requirement for earning LEED™ points for product and building life cycle assessments, and several proposals for EPD are under consideration for the 2015 IgCC.

Dean Lewis, AAMA’s Educational and Technical Information Manager, described the EPD process and how AAMA is participating with other industry organizations to prepare the necessary Product Category Rules (PCRs).

EPDs disclose the environmental performance of products based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which, in turn, is based on the Product Category Rules. Unlike most environmental labels that claim “green” performance, EPDs objectively disclose environmental impacts in much the same way a nutrition label on a food package discloses nutritional values.

An EPD is developed in three steps.

First, PCRs – documents that define the rules and requirements for EPDs of a certain product category – are finalized by an appropriate Program Operator; the coalition in which AAMA participates has chosen Earthsure Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE). The PCR document provides manufacturers with identical parameters to measure the environmental impact of like products during every life cycle stage: raw material extraction; materials processing; manufacture; distribution; use; repair and maintenance; and disposal or recycling.

The finished EPD must meet and comply with specific strict methodology prerequisites spelled out in the PCR to ensure that similar procedures are used when creating EPDs for different products.

The draft PCR for residential, commercial and institutional window products in North America, first issued last December by a task group composed of representatives from AAMA, IGMA/GANA and WDMA, covers single windows, skylights, curtain wall and storefront windows. The PCR provides a detailed method for developing data to support comparable, informed and objective sustainable purchasing of windows. This is expected to be finalized sometime this summer. Related PCRs are in development by other organizations for door hardware, flat glass and also steel doors.

Second, a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is conducted by the manufacturer based on the PCR.

For analysis purposes, a “functional unit” of one square meter of window (including the frame) is defined, and assumed to have a lifespan of 30 years. Performance simulation is specified for residential and office space environments in three climate groups: heating-dominated, mixed heating and cooling and cooling-dominated.

ISO procedures 14010 and 14044 are cited as the methodology for producing an LCA, and the various data sources for populating the methodology were listed.

Lewis used flowcharts connecting the life-cycle stages and depicting the inputs of materials and energy required by each stage and the waste products it generates that could impact air, water or soil. Recycling paths feed back to prior stages. “Transportation hops” connecting the sequential stages take into account the inputs and outputs of the activities needed to move the product of each life cycle stage to the next. Lewis proceeded to review examples of data sources as input to each stage.

The information output of such an LCA is expressed in terms of megaJoules (or Watts) of fossil fuel energy and renewable energy required to produced a functional unit and water usage in liters per functional unit. These are mathematically analyzed and compared by converting them to equivalent quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2). For example, use of 3 Kg of methane (CH4) converts to an equivalent emission of 75 Kg of CO2.

The last stage is creating the EPD itself. Emissions are quantified for five different impact categories – climate change, acidification, eutrofication, photochemical smog and stratospheric ozone depletion – and expressed in terms of CO2 equivalents, as well as SO2 NO2, CFC and ozone equivalents using established computer models.

An EPD “label” can then be generated to express the five impact categories as well as nonrenewable and renewable energy use, global warming change and water usage resulting from the life cycle of the functional unit of the product. Lewis showed an example format for such a label and listed the required contents:

  • Climate change
  • Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer
  • Acidification of land and water sources
  • Eutrophication
  • Formation of photochemical oxidants
  • Depletion of fossil energy resources
  • Depletion of mineral resources
  • Any harmful contents of the product

EPDs must be third-party verified as conforming to the applicable PCR by an LCA Certified Professional (LCACP).

As IERE claims, a well-developed EPD represents “a science-based, measurable action, not ‘greenwashing.’” It should serve as a valuable tool for providing product differentiation and helping purchasers to better understand a product’s sustainable qualities and environmental repercussions, Lewis concluded.

This article originally appeared on the American Architectural Manufacturers Association website.

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) recently updated a Technical Information Report (TIR) providing metal curtain wall designers with the necessary data to select fasteners for curtain wall framing members and components. AAMA TIR-A9-14 also goes into the process of anchoring curtain wall systems to building structures.“The updated AAMA TIR A9-14, ‘Design Guide for Metal Cladding Fasteners’ will be even more technically significant to the metal fenestration industry than the original widely used AAMA TIR A9-91, ‘Metal Curtain Wall Fasteners,’” says Tanya Dolby (Kawneer), Chair of AAMA’s Curtain Wall Fastener TIR Task Group. “The 2014 release contains new and updated sections that reflect testing and research that occurred over the last 23 years.”Hydrogen embrittlement is now addressed in the Protection against Corrosion section of the document. Additionally, the new Safety Factors section provides a thorough explanation of how safety factors were derived for the range of fastener diameters.

“The intent is to provide safety factors which are conservative, consistent and simplified throughout the document,” Dolby says. “Updated and expanded information in the ‘Pull-out Strength section includes equations for thick, thin and transition regions, as well as thread stripping of internal and external threads. Also, pull-out strength tables were incorporated from the 2000 addendum.”

Section 20 Fastener Load Tables required the most “behind the scenes” work, says Dolby. These tables were re-worked, re-organized and constructed into Excel spreadsheets with incorporated equations and properties. Every value in the tables links back to several interacting equations.

“I anticipate AAMA TIR A9-14 will continue to be widely used and referenced throughout the curtain wall and cladding industry,” Dolby says.

TIR-A9-14 may be purchased from AAMA’s Publication store.

More information about AAMA and its activities can be found via the AAMA Media Relations page or on the AAMA website, www.aamanet.org.

AAMA is the source of performance standards, product certification
and educational programs for the fenestration industry.SM
– See more at: http://www.aamanet.org/news/2/10/0/all/1068/aama-updates-design-guide-for-metal-cladding-fasteners#sthash.jbOnlJac.dpuf

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) recently updated a Technical Information Report (TIR) providing metal curtain wall designers with the necessary data to select fasteners for curtain wall framing members and components. AAMA TIR-A9-14 also goes into the process of anchoring curtain wall systems to building structures.“The updated AAMA TIR A9-14, ‘Design Guide for Metal Cladding Fasteners’ will be even more technically significant to the metal fenestration industry than the original widely used AAMA TIR A9-91, ‘Metal Curtain Wall Fasteners,’” says Tanya Dolby (Kawneer), Chair of AAMA’s Curtain Wall Fastener TIR Task Group. “The 2014 release contains new and updated sections that reflect testing and research that occurred over the last 23 years.”Hydrogen embrittlement is now addressed in the Protection against Corrosion section of the document. Additionally, the new Safety Factors section provides a thorough explanation of how safety factors were derived for the range of fastener diameters.

“The intent is to provide safety factors which are conservative, consistent and simplified throughout the document,” Dolby says. “Updated and expanded information in the ‘Pull-out Strength section includes equations for thick, thin and transition regions, as well as thread stripping of internal and external threads. Also, pull-out strength tables were incorporated from the 2000 addendum.”

Section 20 Fastener Load Tables required the most “behind the scenes” work, says Dolby. These tables were re-worked, re-organized and constructed into Excel spreadsheets with incorporated equations and properties. Every value in the tables links back to several interacting equations.

“I anticipate AAMA TIR A9-14 will continue to be widely used and referenced throughout the curtain wall and cladding industry,” Dolby says.

TIR-A9-14 may be purchased from AAMA’s Publication store.

More information about AAMA and its activities can be found via the AAMA Media Relations page or on the AAMA website, www.aamanet.org.

AAMA is the source of performance standards, product certification
and educational programs for the fenestration industry.SM
– See more at: http://www.aamanet.org/news/2/10/0/all/1068/aama-updates-design-guide-for-metal-cladding-fasteners#sthash.jbOnlJac.dpuf

“Graham Architectural Products, Curtain Wall Solutions” Unveiled

May 12, 2014

As part of Graham Architectural Products’ 2014 rebranding effort, we are changing the way we market our curtain wall product line.
In 2009, Graham Architectural Products acquired FM Enterprises, a Merrill, WI, based manufacturer of curtain wall windows, storefront windows and doors, and sunshades. Since the acquisition, the company has been operating under the …