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Why are Trade Associations even necessary? What's the value?

Trade Associations have become more important than ever to the public sector and the consumer market in the past 10-15 years simply because a vast majority of people now use the internet for information gathering and research about products and services and companies they are considering to aid in the completion of their projects.

Historically, Trade Associations have acted primarily in the capacity of a conduit between suppliers and code officials, law makers and even competing firms, but since the advent of the widespread internet usage by end users and consumers, Trade Associations have had to expand their influence to include Consumer Protection and Truth in Advertising while offering end-user Contractors updated information on new innovations and trends within the industry and even offering a venue for training and certification programs to be accessed.

This has had the effect of creating a "self-policing" industry in many cases and has served to raise the level of consumer confidence in basic building materials, trades and services. For instance, never again will we have anything like the unfathomable series of decisions based on corporate greed that led to the tragic Asbestos deaths that still remain uncountable as the effects are still being realized.

Add the recent ramp up and groundswell of support for sustainable, renewable and "green" products, and "Portal" sites, such as this one, become an integral part of the world wide web and the free sharing of information and is perhaps our best protection against corporate harm. It's a good rule of thumb that if you see an association that EVERY major manufacturer of EVERY competing product in an industry belongs to, you can bet its more like the Association belongs to the Corporations.

Like you won't find many, if any, fiberglass insulation manufacturers cuddling up to ABI. And for good reason. There are sufficient studies and even personal experiences by Members and Founders of the Association that led us to loudly enough proclaim, in 2000-2003 our dissatisfaction with the way fiberglass insulation was being manufactured as permitting 'micro-fibers' to affect everyone from installers to the air at the topmost highest mountain eagles through fibers that can cause cancers and DNA damage. [see THE FIBERGLASS INFORMATION NETWORK ] we must have been doing something right because CertainTeed send us what looked like a $5,000, tabbed, multi-colored, professionally bound, 50 page document with tabs and all from a fancy Washington DC attorney's firm and demanded we close up shop. Well, we are still here and all it ended up being is we had to say the words "Better Insulation can save you UP TO 50% or more on your utility bills..." - The way I understand it, the logic was that even if the insulation did save 50% or more on utility bills, we couldn't say that because it wouldn't be true if someone left the front door open in the winter time for instance. Nothing to do with the insulation. It had to do with the blanket claim that was true and documented about product, but only under "normal use" situations. So, we add "up to" and good night.

It's not all bad news about Fiberglass and we are happy to report that some manufacturers of fiberglass insulation are bending to the pressure and are finally producing products that, though safer, are still not up to the standards of "bio-safety". The took the formaldehyde out of the process and product in most batts. This was a good thing. They are now milling so the smallest fibers are not microscopic, but only in SOME products. They have produced encapsulation technologies that have gone far to reduce the number of fibers that are loosed upon the environment. This is also good. They are heading in the right direction. And recently there has been talk of the development of a fiberglass based "foam" type product, but we have yet to study that in detail.

Unfortunately, fiberglass insulation, being a glass fiber insulation with no inherent insulation value itself, as it relies solely on the insulation value of the slowing down of air infiltration in a wall cavity and the insulative value of the air within the batt or between the fibers that are blown in and can't possibly compete with a solid insulation such as foam insulation or the denser fibers of cellulose insulation or the phase change insulations when considering true insulation value.

Fiberglass is one thing. CHEAP. But this is truly a "You get what you pay for" situation. Fiberglass insulation is actually the most expensive insulation you can buy because you are paying much HIGHER utility bills than you would be with a more effective insulator such as the products and innovations you will find in the insulation sections of this website and others linking from here.

This Association, like any non-publicly owned business, reflects the ideologies of the managers, founders, employees and Members. ABI is what would be, in the present vernacular, a "Green Building Product" and "Environmental Responsibility" proponent and a proponent of long term savings of energy and resources in the building trades.

This will be reflected throughout the site. We are not trying to control what anyone thinks. We just want people to make informed decisions. So, if you can't stand a little tree hugging, earth loving, environmentalism here and there, then we feel for you, but can't reach you. Wink

By now you are probably wondering who is this person talking? That's assuming you didn't just shut down the computer or go to another site once you saw that this page had a bunch of stuff to read before it got to the point of the "TYPES OF MEMBERSHIPS AVAILABLE" and the "APPLICATION FORM", but I thought, and am told, that putting a human face (even if the picture is a few years old) on a website is the best way to confer to visitors that there really are "real people behind the curtain" and what those people stand for.

Douglas Colby, Director

Granted, it's a few years old and I'm 51 now and haven't aged a bit. Although it now seems obvious to me that the older you get the worse your eyesight gets is a self-preservation function of our evolution.

Our main goal is to provide NEEDED and USEFUL services to our Visitors and Members. We appreciate your input and please don't hesitate to drop us an email with your views. Like, we aren't sure that a forum on this site is even useful or needed. I mean, there's a thousand of them out there. We like the idea of a simple "Ask a Question, Get an Answer" module, which we have put on this site deeming it both "Useful and Needed". But there are more features and options for a website than you can shake a stick at and we don't just want to add EVERYTHING to the site. But if you have a question or would be good enough to answer some questions on the Q&A section, we would appreciate it. Knowledged shared is knowledged gained after all...

So, please let us know what you would find useful. We can add products, but only if you say they are good and worthy. So, let us know. Do you have marketing tools and revenue generating ideas, products, or polices that make or save your money that you would like to share, let us know. If you developed or want to develop an e-book (we can help) that Members or Visitors would be interested in viewing or purchasing and it fits well in our presentation, we would be happy to discuss. Training courses, certification courses? Same thing.

That being said, you are probably on this page to apply for Membership and I apologize for taking up your time, but felt an initial handshake from the hand that guides this site would be a good way to start.

A last bit about me is I am the VOLUNTEER Director of this Association. I am retired and disabled. I am a Veteran. I am dedicated. I put in more time with ABI than I ever did at a "job" when health permits. I am a cancer survivor, at least so far, and doing it mostly through the use of alternative medicines. I am on the Liver Transplant List. I'm a first hand recipient of the health insurance company's ability to drop 'high risk' customers. (my health journal) I have 1 wife, 2 kids, 1 daughter in law, 1 grandson, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 1 cow. I've had triple by-pass surgery and came through like a champ. Politically, I'm like most people. A Conservative-Liberal. Spiritually, I'm also like most people, searching for ultimate truths and learning new things daily. How do I feel about people and the way the world is right now? Well, I just know it is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society, so the growing number of people "acting out" doesn't surprise me. (sorry to go all Zeitgeist on you ;0)

Our staff has a lot of experience in product positioning, marketing, product launches, website design, truck and trailer wrap design, and small business advertising strategies. We provide our Contractor Members with a personalized consultation and a basic overview of available continuing education and training, certifications, and business add-ons for development of multiple income streams. Providing complimentary services to Clients is one way a business grows. We have similar conversations with and provide infrastructure reviews for all our Members.<?p>

We'd be pleased to make your acquaintance. If we can be of any service to you, please don't hesitate to contact me,

Where were you going? Oh, yes...MEMBERSHIP OPTIONS! Click there and have a well-insulated day!

Douglas Colby, Director - The Association for Better Insulation