Volume 41, Issue 9 - September 2006


No Fear
Talking About the Need for Energy Efficiency
by Max Perilstein

As the dog days of summer continue to pound us, I was recently told that we, as an industry, are not promoters or fans of materials such as low-E glass. This makes no sense. Low-E glass is a part of the industry landscape and itís become almost second nature. But, amazingly, for many outside of our industry, thereís a massive misconception that our industry fears low-E glass and its advancement.

That was Then Ö
Back in the early 1990s I think many people had good reasons to worry about low-E glass. The initial products were new and different and required special handling. The products then had various colors to them and, depending on where the sun hit, they could create colors never before seen on a spectrum. 

But given time and advancements, low-E glass has become easy and helpful and will become even more a part of our world as we go forward. Sooner than later, because of the energy needs of this country, low-E products will become a must. I personally feel that, for the good of our country, low-E glass needs to be installed in every commercial opening in any building with more than one floor. Statistics prove that using a low-E glass does help ease the energy load and that should be a priority for our industry.

And yes, I know places like South Florida and Las Vegas have no need for low-E glass, at least according to the masses. While that may or may not be true, Iíd rather we, as an industry, work that angle rather than people from outside it who still think we are scared of low-E glass.

The Good of the Industry
Now I know that many people who know me are thinking I am contradicting myself because of earlier stances against groups such as the NFRC. Plain and simple, I want energy efficiency. I think our industry wants energy efficiency. The country needs energy efficiency. It is time that we make it even more clear to prove that we are all for advancing the energy efficiency envelope. Letís educate those who do not understand that between low-E glass, electrochromic glazings, thermally-broken metal and the new wave of high-performance airspacers, we are making significant efforts to do our part in the energy adventure.

What is my answer? Well once again we need to lean on and demand that organizations such as the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) continue to step up their efforts to make sure our needs are represented better. While there are other groups out there, only these two truly listen and look out for their memberships (in my opinion). The others are more concerned with bumper stickers, expensive certifications, trade shows, swanky meetings and revenue streams. They are comfortable in their skins and have no desire to evolve. I believe that both GANA and AEC are willing and focused on doing what is right. I must note that I am a member of both AEC and GANA and am not a member of every other organization out there. However, I have been involved in various ways with the others, been in meetings with others and done plenty of research that shows their desire to look out for the commercial glazing industry is not as strong as it should be. 

Now, of course, there will be some people who will deride my comments; they are the ones who are mad that groups such as the two I mentioned above wonít fight things like price increases or surcharges. Well folks, thatís not what I mean by looking out for their memberships. These groups are there to work on issues that affect every aspect of an industry and not just spots or divisions. 

So at the end of the day it is simple. We, as an industry, need low-E glass and we donít fear it. We need to get the message out more effectively that we want energy efficiency and we are working as hard as anyone to promote and further our various technologies.

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