Expert Educates AAMA Members on Life Cycle Assessment

June 2nd, 2009 by Editor

Dan Handeen, research fellow at the University of Minnesota, who does work regarding life cycle analysis (LCA), gave two presentations to AAMA members meeting in Minneapolis this week with the goal of educating them regarding LCA. Yesterday, Handeen spoke before members of AAMA’s Life Cycle Assessment Task Group and this morning he presented to the Green and Sustainability Committee.He told members there are different levels to the LCA toolkit and different models are available. Level 1 includes a product focus, level 2 an assembly focus and level three a whole building focus. There are also different models available to conduct LCA (CLICK HERE for more info ( One of these models is the Athena EcoCalculator which the USGBC will use in its LEED program. (LCA has its own category within LEED.)

During yesterday’s presentation to the LCA Task Group, Kerry Haglund from the Center for Sustainable Building in Minneapolis, reported that she is working with the WDMA and AAMA and other industry groups to write a proposal in the hopes of getting stimulus money from the Department of Energy to conduct LCA research.

But LCA is not an easy task. For example, Handeen pointed out that when it comes to vinyl windows it would mean taking into account the energy used by the crane to dig the tin. LCA would calculate the impact of going all the way back to where the materials came from.

In yesterday’s task group meeting, AAMA president Richard Walker said the association’s broad goal is to have its green certification program that is under development (CLICK HERE for that story) to be recognized by USGBC and “to do that we need LCA.” The group decided to continue looking into fenestration-related North American LCA studies that the association may be able to endorse.

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