The View From Here
by Ric Jackson
December 15th, 2014

Vinyl Institute Celebrates Successful Year, Looks to Future

PVC and additives producers, as well as downstream product manufacturer such as Quanex, converged November 12-14 for a series of meetings hosted by the Vinyl Institute and Vinyl Building Products Council. The mood in the room was generally optimistic, as the groups were coming off a year of important accomplishments.

Just a year ago, the vinyl industry, as well as state and federal legislators, was questioning the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED material de-selection credits for a lack of transparency and lack of scientific backing. Alternative green building certifications, such as Green Globes, were gaining momentum. While changes didn’t happen overnight, their efforts resulted in the USGBC giving the Vinyl Institute and others a seat at the table.

Green Globes has also surged in popularity, with more than 35 U.S. states adopting it as the standard. In my opinion, this is good for our industry. Green Globes serves as an affordable alternative that balances the emphasis on performance and sustainability – while inviting manufacturers to the table for discussions based on sound science as a general practice.

But this isn’t a group that rests for too long. There’s a lot of work to be done, so much of the meeting agenda focused on the future, including education and the state of the construction market as a whole.

A Focus on Educating Architects

One of the highlights was a panel discussion involving architects and their view on vinyl as a building material. During that discussion, one thing became very clear: Educating today’s (and tomorrow’s) architects, engineers and designers on the merits of vinyl is a crucial next step.

My take was that they know very little about vinyl because they are not seeing it in forms that can be adapted to common construction applications, such as doors, windows and other façade or structural forms. When they ask about its properties, the answer is not in terms they can apply to building designs.

Market Analyses and Forecast

Robert Dietz, vice president of tax and market analysis at the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), talked about the association’s analysis of what they consider a still disappointing 2014 market and trends going forward for the next few years.

One key point for me was the data presented on new household formations vs. the rapid growth of the multi-family market. As we’ve all heard, data indicates that most new home formations, as well as existing single-family homeowners, have gone to multi-family setups.

However, Dietz forecasted for this trend to end in 2015 with a return to more normal distribution between single- and multi-family starts.

This should contribute to rapid growth in the single-family market over the next few years. NAHB also is forecasting the 2014 remodeling market to have dropped 3.14 percent and still be sluggish over the next few years.

The View from Here

The Vinyl Institute always puts on a great program for education and networking within the vinyl material industries. If you are not on the www.Vinylinfo.org email list, go to its website and sign up to stay informed about issues and opportunities facing our industry. Also check out http://www.thegbi.org/ for information on Green Globes.

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