Volume 39, Issue 9, September  2004

Harmony is Such a Lovely Word
IGMA Makes Stride Toward Harmonization During Summer Meeting
by Ellen Giard Chilcoat

If the Insulating Glass Manufac-turers Alliance’s (IGMA) summer meeting was to be summarized in one word, that word, perhaps, would be harmony. The topic of harmonization came up in a number of instances, including discussions of standards, glazing guidelines and certification. The meeting took place August 5-8, 2004, at the Harbour Towers Hotel & Suites in Victoria, British Columbia. Nearly 100 participants attended.

Certification and Standards
The Harmonized Insulating Glass Standard, commonly known as HIGS, was again a topic of discussion. Last October the Standing Committee on Houses of the National Building Code of Canada had recommended unanimously that ASTM E 2190, the standard specification for insulating glass unit performance, be adopted into the 2005 code. Early this year, the recommendation went before the executive committee of the Canadian Committee on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), which oversees all building codes. There had been concerns that the standard had not undergone public review, so the executive committee sent the standard to the full committee of the CCBFC for review. In April IGMA’s executive director Margaret Webb and Trulite’s Ray Wakefield went before this committee in order to satisfy the public review criteria. It next went before the executive committee of the Provincial Territorial Policy Advisory Committee on Codes (PTPACC), which has now forwarded this to the full committee of the PTPACC. At press time, the full committee was tentatively scheduled to meet in late November in Edmonton, Alberta. According to Webb, IGMA would likely be able to attend and present there. If the standard passes at this level it will go back to the Canadian Committee on Building and Fire Codes for formal acceptance and will be published as an errata to the 2005 code.

Discussion of harmonizing the IGMA certification with that of the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC) also took place, with the announcement that IGMA had licensed its certification program to the IGCC.
“Both IGCC and IGMA have agreed to proceed judiciously to ensure the long-term success of this affiliation,” said IGMA’s Webb.

Under the agreement, the long-term goal of the two groups is to create a single North American set of requirements for certification. (See page 20 of this issue for more on IGMA and IGCC.)

Working Group Efforts
After two years, the glazing guidelines technical working group completed its efforts toward harmonizing the guidelines of the Insulating Glass Manufactures Alliance of Canada and the Sealed Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association. The document has been sent to the technical policy committee for approval and was then to be sent out for printing.

“The Glazing Guidelines is the most popular publication we have,” said Webb. “And we expect it to be out in one month.”

“I’m glad we’re done. A lot of work went into [the document],” said working group co-chairperson Ken Shelbourn of TruSeal Technologies. “We had good discussions … we tried not to rewrite the documents, but merge them,” he said.

Randi Ernst of FDR Design, chairperson of the Gasglass best practices working group, provided an update on the group’s progress. Ernst said they are currently one third of the way through the round-robin testing; ten Gasglass units have been sent out to customers and they have received 12 readings so far. Ernst said he expects to have 52 sets of data at the end of the testing.

An update on the efforts of the gas permeability working group was provided by Bruce Virnelson of PRC De-Soto International, who also serves as the working group chairperson. There are five parts to this working group’s project:Determine the gas permeability of insulating glass sealants in sheet samples;
• Evaluate the gas permeability through a simulated IGU edge sample;
• Evaluate the permeability through an edge sample in a strained 
• Use the data from these studies to develop a mathematical model to predict gas loss from an IGU; and
• Develop an improved test method for measuring gas loss rate from a sealed IGU.

“The committee is working to develop a new test method to measure the rate at which argon will permeate through a sheet of the IG sealant,” said Virnelson. “While a sheet or flat sample of the IG sealant does not represent the configuration in an IG unit, it is an easy sample to make uniformly and is reproducible.”

The working group reviewed several different test methods, and decided to use the European EN1279 test method. The testing will be done by TNO in the Netherlands.

According to Virnelson, approximately 6- x 6-inch sheets that represent sampling of all insulating glass sealants on the market will be sent to the test lab. Samples will be made in two different thicknesses and testing will be conducted at three different temperatures.

“The testing will then determine the rate of argon permeability through the sheet. This will allow the ranking of sealants from high to low and will aid in the selection of materials for use in manufacturing argon-filled IGUs,” said Virnelson.

The project is also a collaborative effort, and a number of other industry organizations are taking part in the project. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association and the National Fenestration Rating Council have all agreed to participate. 

“This data is of interest to other organizations within the industry as they begin to look at the durability of gas-filled insulating units and the ability of the unit to maintain the thermal benefits of gas-filling over the life of the unit,” added Virnelson.

Visual Quality 
IGMA’s technical director Bill Lingnell is leading the initiatives of the visual quality working group, which held its first meeting last February. The group seeks to establish basic guidelines for visual quality conditions in insulating glass.

“We’re really looking at what we want to judge inside the IGU,” said Lingnell. Some of the possibilities to be considered include chemical fogging, rainbow effects, corrosion of coatings, excess sealant, spacer sightlines and the compatibility of individual components in the unit.

Technical Presentations

Those attending the meeting also had the opportunity to learn about a number of issues that affect IG, ranging from NFRC simulating to safety glazing codes, through the various technical presentations offered.

Jeff Baker of WestLab led a presentation titled “Everything an NFRC Simulator Would Like to Know About IG But Didn’t Learn from the Window Manufacturer.” Baker talked about the various requirements needed for NFRC reporting, such as glass thickness, spacer thickness, glazing types and other materials used in the window.

Though Baker was targeting the IG manufacturer specifically through his presentation, he said it is still important for window manufacturers to understand all the components that go into the sealed units they buy.

“We want window manufacturers to understand the importance of good information on all the products they offer,” Baker said. “If they don’t [understand] and there’s a problem with the unit it could cost them even more financially in the long run.”

Next up to discuss the recently published book, Window Systems for High-Performance Buildings, was co-author John Carmody from the University of Minnesota. The book is designed to help professionals understand all the options available in window selection for commercial buildings. 

How To Certify IG
As IGMA and the IGCC continue to move forward with the certification harmonization, understanding how to earn certification becomes an even more important element. During a panel presentation Webb and Lingnell, John Kent of IGCC, David Bailey of Bodycote Materials Testing Canada Inc., Elie Alkhoury of Can-Best and Bob Davison of Intertek Testing, discussed the various steps, procedures and requirements for certifying IG.
“Certification is an assurance to the end user,” said Webb.

Lingnell provided an overview of the standards: ASTM E2188 is the standard test method for IG unit performance; ASTM E2189 is the standard test method for resisting fog in an IG; and ASTM E2190 is the standard specification for testing IG.

Other topics of certification covered included auditing, inspections and testing.

Safety Glazing
Kent, who also serves as the administrator for the Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC), talked about safety glazing code requirements and labeling.

“An IG unit is the most important component of a window and safety glazing, when used in an IG, is an important component of that,” said Kent. 

Kent began the presentation by giving a “who’s who” look at safety glazing and standards, from both the U.S. and Canadian standpoints. Test standards evaluate the performance characteristics of a product; building codes establish the requirements for use; and third-party agencies, which are voluntary (such as the SGCC), provide interpretation and implementation. 

“Test standards [are necessary] because they help get a seller of glass to the buyer,” said Kent.
Kent also compared the differences in testing, codes, third-party agencies and labeling used in the United States and Canada. 

Thermal Stress, Testing Standards
Sometimes, glass breaks and you don’t always know why. These “mysterious breaks” can be caused by thermal stress. Lingnell led a presentation that looked at thermal stress design and considerations and the proposed ASTM standard for determining the resistance of single-glazed annealed architectural flat glass to thermal loadings. 

Jeff Haberer of Cardinal IG provided a comparison of the different IG testing standards: the old ASTM E773, E1887, E774; the old CAN 12.8; the new ASTM E2188, E2189 and E2190; in Europe (CEN), EN 1279 (parts 1-6) and ISO DIS 20492 (draft standard).

“The newly-harmonized ASTM standard (E2190) is now recognized in both Canada and the United States as the testing protocol for insulating glass certification,” said Haberer. “For window manufacturers selling into Canada and the United States it will be beneficial to certify to E2190 and eliminate duplicate testing and certification. This will reduce cost and simplify compliance.”

Window manufacturers selling into Europe will soon have to provide products that have a CE mark, a certification protocol.

“This means the IG units in these windows will have to comply with EN1279. Failure to have the CE mark will mean that the windows will be stopped by customs officials and not allowed into the respective country,” said Haberer. “Loss of business or severe penalties for non-compliance will be experienced by companies that are not ready for the changes happening in Europe.”

Low-E Coatings
A panel discussion of low-E glass coatings also took place. Presentations were made by Bob Spindler of Cardinal IG and Chris Barry of Pilkington.

In his presentation, Spindler noted performance characteristics of both pyrolytic and sputter-coated low-E coatings, and talked about potential problems with low-E. The problem of thermal stress breakage, for example, could occur if solar heat absorption is too high in annealed lites; sealant adhesion can also be an issue to both edge-deleted and non-edge deleted coatings. He also said high solar reflectance has the potential to create vinyl siding distortion. 

Barry talked about how all low-E products are different. His presentation included a number of graphs that compared solar heat gain co-efficiencies to visible light transmittance to show various performance options with different low-E coatings and glass substrates.

Jim Fairman of Pando Technologies ended the conference with an update of the IG Durability Knowledge Base project. Conducted by Aspen Research and funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), the two-year project seeks to gain a qualitative understanding of the characteristics of IG durability, as well as tools for predicting IG durability. Those leading the program are currently waiting to hear if their application for additional development will be accepted by the DOE.

Want to Learn More?
If you were unable to attend IGMA’s summer meeting, there will be future opportunities. The group will hold its annual meeting February 22-27, 2005, at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess in Acapulco, Mexico. Olé!
Info www.igmaonline.org. 


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