VMC Discusses Regulatory Reform, Weathering, More at Summer Conference

The Vinyl Material Council went over several topics at the AAMA National Summer Conference, including some education initiatives, regulatory reform developments and several document updates.

Work on these matters and others will continue this October at the AAMA National Fall Conference in Greenville, SC.

Educational Developments

The VMC Marketing Committee and the VMC Education Task Group (Chair: Mark DePaul [ENERGI Fenestration Solutions]) revised the status of various educational initiatives.

  • The Vinyl Windows: Designed for Performance course was reapproved for AIA accreditation.
  • A new white paper was reported as needing only final formatting to be ready for balloting
  • The Sustainable Vinyl course is being sunset. It was noted that members may use information from sunset courses to create their own courses, although they cannot use images without their owners’ permission.
  • The VMC Web Development Task Group (chair: Gary Hartman [Chelsea Building Products]) was reactivated, under the chairmanship of Gary Hartman (Chelsea Building Products) to consider new elements. The group will repurpose information from courses being sunset to provide more in-depth content.

Regulatory Reform Wish List Noted

The VMC Environmental Stewardship Committee (Chair: Tony Vella [Vision Extrusions]) reports that the vinyl industry is seeking regulatory reform in these areas:

  • EPA Risk Management Plan should be revised
  • NIOSH Carcinogen policy, which basically states there is no safe exposure amount, does not take into account limits or worst/best case exposures; these should be defined in much the same way as is done for air and water pollutants.
  • Vinyl and the EPA Environmentally Preferred purchasing list
  • PVC Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT), currently stalled, should be reconsidered.
  • Amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act Amendments would establish a risk screen process. It was also noted that the five chemicals to be listed will affect the vinyl industry.

The group further expressed concern that PVC red-listing has not as yet been seriously addressed, particularly by speakers selected for presentations at national conferences. ("Red Lists" of allegedly harmful materials have been developed for building materials by green building rating systems and architecture firms based on EPA chemical hazard lists.) The group would like future guest speakers to be selected from among those who will address this issue. The opinion was expressed that the committee and all material councils should be included in the assessment of potential future guest speakers.

In related matters, it was reported that

  • The EPA plans to publish a framework document for Windows, Doors and Skylights (WDS) version 7.0 later this year or next
  • Energy Star Canada is moving ahead and will not be harmonizing with Energy Star U.S. National Resources Canada is proposing 2020 ENERGY STAR

Conflict Minerals Rule Tabled

Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, otherwise known as the Conflict Minerals rule, mandates that corporations are responsible for reporting on their supply chains such that they disclose whether or not they are buying minerals from armed groups, which have reaped enormous profits from these sales. AAMA’s Diana Hanson reported on behalf of the AAMA Regulatory Affairs Committee (RAC) that a Court of Appeals has said it was a first amendment violation to report that their products have “not been found to be ‘DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] conflict free’.” In addition, the acting SEC chairman says they will not enforce the rule as it is written due to such uncertainties. These actions are deemed positive for the vinyl industry. For more details, see Hanson’s presentation on the AAMA website (log in required).

303 Update Focuses on Test Temperature Cycling

The 303 Vinyl Profile Performance Standard Maintenance Task Group (Chair: Jeff Franson [Quanex]) determined that as a result of substantive comments to the recent ballot of Draft #7:

  • A co-extrusion section will be added.
  • The section on third-party paint applicators will be removed
  • There is a need for further research into delamination at cold temperatures and the heat thaw cycle test needs for dissimilar materials. A task group was formed to explore these matters, under Franson’s chairmanship. Results will figure into a future revision of AAMA 303.

The document is currently out for re-ballot as Draft #9, tentatively due August 17.

Extended vs. Accelerated Weathering Examined

The Extended Outdoor Weathering Study Task Group (Chair: Tony Vella [Vision Extrusions]) is asking members to submit weathering data to the AAMA staff to be anonymized and assembled for presentation to the group. If data is not forthcoming, the Certification Policy Committee will be asked to approach ALI to run the requisite tests for 10-year weathering, pending a final determination of colors, time period and costs involved. This would bring vinyl – still at two years’ warranty – up to par with laminated glass and other materials which are subject to 10-year warranties.

Meanwhile, the Alternative Accelerated Weathering Task Group, also chaired by Vella, continued its work in investigating whether there exists an accelerated weathering method that replicates outdoor weathering. Samples (4 replicates of eight materials) were comparatively tested at outdoor test sites in Florida, Arizona and Ohio for 24 months (with intervening color evaluations at 6 and 12 months), and in the laboratory where they were to be exposed to xenon and fluorescent UV for 2500 total hours (actual accumulated exposure time being 350 hours to date). The majority of tested materials were “robust,” showing no signs of degradation over the course of the exposures. It was noted, however, that outdoor results do not take into consideration the input from temperature and moisture in the environment.

To date, there has been a good comparison between xenon and outdoor exposures through 1400 hours, but with no definitive results obtained from detailed correlation analysis, it was agreed that the tests should be continued until noticeable degradation is observed. Continued outdoor exposures can corroborate similar performance to xenon. The recommendation is to continue outdoor exposure (2 to 3 years) with more materials to permit a more thorough statistical analysis and corroborate acceptable xenon comparison.

1506 Update Progresses

The task group charged with updating AAMA 1506-04, Voluntary Test Method for Laboratory Heat Build-Up Effects on Fenestration Products, (Chair: Jeff Franson [Quanex]) reviewed substantive comments to the recent ballot of Draft #6 of the pending update.

Substantive comments to the recent ballot of Draft #6 noted a discrepancy in the referencing of ASTM G179-04 (2011), Standard Specification for Metal Black Panel and White Panel Temperature Devices for Natural Weathering Tests, which covers devices to measure temperatures that estimate highest maximum (black) and lowest maximum (white) temperatures of coated metal specimens during natural weathering tests. G179 requires a plywood backer whereas Section 6.2.3.1 of AAMA 1506 requires an EPS backer. Also, the size of the black plate is not clear in G179, resulting in use of plates ranging from a foot long to 3”x5” in size – although tests seem to be running fine as is. It needs to be determined whether a specific size needs to be specified. A conference call with subject matter experts in the test methodology is scheduled to help ensure that specifying plate size is necessary.

Corner Break Standard Passes Muster

The VMC Corner Break Task Group (Chair: Jeff Franson [Quanex]) reports that a re-ballot of the Voluntary Standard for Welded Thermoplastic (PVC) Corners to the task group has been concluded and was successful. The group needs to review the ballot comments before balloting to the next level. It was noted that the test is to be moved to the NAFS appendix per the current draft of NAFS-2019.

VMC Seeks to Preserve Class Gateway Designations in NAFS

Balloting of the controversial draft of a “simplified” NAFS for 2019 release has been paused per member vote at the recent summer conference. The VMC has gone on record as noting the significant impact that the draft document would have on vinyl materials and opposing the elimination of the minimum gateway test sizes for R and LC products, which is seen as essentially eliminating the difference between these product classes. A Council motion to recommend to the NAFS Committee and AAMA Board to retain the designations passed overwhelmingly.

It was further noted that the current NAFS draft also removes the sash/leaf concentrated load test.

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