04.22.10 Association News

On 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, AAMA Emphasizes the Need for Year-Round Energy-Efficiency Initiatives

Forty years ago, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded a national teach-in event called Earth Day, designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the environment. Observance of this event has grown, and it is now celebrated in more than 175 countries annually, each April 22. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) takes this day to recognize the positive steps that have been made to recognize the importance of the pursuit of energy efficiency and the need for institutional incentives that reward those who make energy-saving changes.

“Each year on Earth Day, there is a marked increase in announcements and articles emphasizing the importance of ‘going green.’ While this increased publicity does serve an important purpose, the intended effects of these reminders should last long after Earth Day has come and gone. This day should serve as a reminder that individuals have the power to daily make changes and decisions that not only save money on their energy bills, but are also environmentally friendly. On a broader scale, these changes on the part of consumers not only help the U.S. in the national pursuit of energy efficiency, but also help to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil, from both foreign and domestic sources,” says Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO.

A recent Journal of Industrial Ecology article stated that when it comes to environmental impacts of individual households, four areas dominate: transportation, diet, housing construction and energy-using appliances. In industrialized countries, these categories collectively account for 70-80% of a household’s environmental impacts.

“In both new home construction and renovations, homeowners have the opportunity to reap both short and long-term benefits of energy-efficient changes,” says Walker. “Many energy-efficient products or renewable energy systems are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $1,500. In addition to buying an energy-efficient appliance, weatherization improvements, such as insulating walls or replacing windows can provide savings for many years.” The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the value of home weatherization improvements is 2.2 times greater than the cost of the improvements themselves.

“At AAMA, energy efficiency has always been a priority initiative for us,” says Walker. “We work with window, door and skylight manufacturers who continually are creating new and improving existing products with the goal of increasing energy-efficiency. The designation of green windows, doors and skylights is simply market recognition of these manufacturers doing their job well.”

A full news release is available online at AAMA’s online news room.

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