AAMA summer conference focuses on sustainability

Last month, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) summer conference featured three presenters (pictured left to right: James Connelly, Rich Mitchell, and Ulrich Siebereth) who discussed different topics with a focus on sustainability. Photo courtesy AAMA

Speakers at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) summer conference focused on ‘green’ matters within the industry.

The gathering, which took place in Seattle in late June, included topics on alternatives for green certifications, window technology in Europe, and the future of building products.

Rich Mitchell of architectural firm, Mackenzie, spoke of his time as an architect experiencing the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Building Initiative (GBI) rating systems. GBI uses a 1000-point system for its assessment tool Green Globes, whereas USGBC employs a 100-point system for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) tool. Green Globes assessors can use judgement, while LEED uses a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ model. Mitchell says Green Globes will pull more people into sustainability and encourage involvement.

Ulrich Siebereth of German window testing institute, ift Rosenheim, discussed the technical performance and sustainability of window technology in Europe. He compared past design standards with those of today and demonstrated how the changes have been better in terms of design and features. For example, he cited one product standard characterizing windows with 24 different features. Similar design standards from the past only covered fundamental designs and a few related characteristics like frame material groups instead of U-values. He also provided examples of sustainable buildings from across the world, as well as environmental product declarations and how to get them for different certification systems.

The International Living Future Institute’s James Connelly speculated about the future of building products in the industry. He said sustainability is not only about reducing your carbon footprint, but also about creating a handprint by reducing others’ footprints and focusing on generative actions.

“Handprints are the sum total of positive impacts we create,” he said.

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