Volume 11, Issue 6 - November/December 2009

Field of Vision
from the editor

Thank You, Arnold
by Penny Stacey

In 2006, the state of California passed a climate change bill called AB 32. The bill was aimed at reducing carbon emissions in one of the most smog-filled states in the country. I haven’t spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, but even when I have had layovers there, I could see the smog in the air as we landed.

So you might think that reducing smog would be aimed at factories, manufacturing, etc.—right? Well, some of it is, but this year, the state’s Air Resources Board (known as CARB) decided to take a new approach, as part of AB 32 called on them to focus on vehicles.

CARB quickly determined that clean air is related to an air-conditioning issue, and set out to make vehicle air conditioners work less. At first, they focused on the paint, and then went for the glass. (On a side note, the brief look at paint drew an outrage from that industry and consumers at large; rumors exploded across the United States that California was banning black cars from existence. While the paint regulations soon fell by the wayside, I have to applaud the paint industry for making their fears so well-known.)

Though the final auto glass regulations have yet to be set, they’re nearing the last stages now; you’ll find an in-depth look at the regulations on page 24, along with some of the industry’s concerns. For example, repair technicians fear that if a metal oxide is used (and many glass manufacturers say it will be) to cut down on the amount of sun that can travel through a car’s glass, they might not be able to repair the glass any longer—leading to more of a need for glass replacements (and thus more waste of glass).

Though there are concerns about the regulations, how they might affect repair and the recordkeeping that will now be required of replacement shops, there also are some positives. Some manufacturers note that this adds value to the glass—and suddenly consumers might realize that glass isn’t just glass; soon they might realize that a windshield is not only structurally important, but now, could affect how cars run as well, how much gas they use, etc.

What could be better than that? So, I am hopeful that there could be some positives there. And, if you’re concerned about the negatives, I urge you to get involved. I’ve called several representatives at CARB and they’ve been very receptive to discussing the issue and are open to receiving industry feedback. If you’re not in California and think this doesn’t affect you, think again. Many similar initiatives have been adopted by the Feds, and who knows if this one could follow suit?

Finally, I’d like to hear what you think of the regulations—good or bad. Please e-mail me at pstacey@glass.com.

“Some manufacturers note that this adds value to the glass—and suddenly consumers might realize that glass isn’t just glass.”

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.comTM

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