Volume 44, Issue 4 - April 2009

GANA Perspectives

The Proof is in the Glass
GANA Foundation Proves Its Energy Leadership
by Bill Yanek

Imagine yourself making the case for value-added glass products that are energy-efficient, look fantastic and complement green building efforts. But then your client asks the million-dollar question (or billion-dollar question, as depicted in the stimulus bill): how does high performance glazing impact energy use and CO2 emissions?

What if you could produce a study that answers those specific questions and actually predicts the impact of high performance glazing on energy use and CO2/greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States as a whole? The newly established Glass Association of North America (GANA) Educational Foundation Research Fund is working to do just that.

GANA and its foundation are embarking on a fundraising effort to finance a study that would predict the impact of high performance glazing on energy use and CO2 emissions. With this study, GANA members will be able to empirically show and predict the impact of high performance glazing on energy use and GHG/CO2 emissions in the United States. The value of such a tool, naturally, is immeasurable.

Study Focus 1: Energy Use in Existing Buildings
The Energy Information Agency (EIA) conducts a Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) every four years. The last set of commercial building data available is based on 2003 (EIA is currently processing the building characteristics data for 2007). In 2003, CBECS reports that commercial buildings: 
• totaled nearly 4.9 million buildings;
• comprised more than 71.6 billion square feet of floor space;
• consumed more than 6,500 trillion Btu of energy, with electricity accounting for 55 percent and natural gas 32 percent; and
• consumed 36 percent of energy for space heating and 21 percent for lighting.

The last set of EIA residential building data is based on 2005. The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) provides information on the use of energy in residential housing units. This information includes:
• the physical characteristics of the housing units;
• the appliances utilized, including space heating and cooling equipment;
• demographic characteristics of the household;
• the types of fuels used; and
• other information that relates to energy use.

The 2005 survey collected data from 4,382 households statistically selected to represent the 111.1 million housing units in the United States. RECS data is tabulated for the four Census regions, the nine Census divisions and for the four most populous states: California, Florida, New York and Texas. 

The GANA Educational Foundation study will review building energy use, by region, for existing residential and commercial buildings. The data will be separated by building type and energy end-uses in order to predict cooling and heating energy savings. The study also will estimate the cooling and heating energy savings, by region, for each square foot of glazing sold. The savings will be predicted by building type. The study also will estimate CO2/GHG emissions in existing buildings.

Study Focus 2: Energy Use and CO2 Emissions in New Buildings
Relying on industry sponsors to provide predictions for new construction in the residential and commercial sector, the study will estimate the glazing area and identify prescriptive requirements for glazing using the energy standard ASHRAE 90.1-2004 and estimate CO2/GHG emissions.

The information gathered in this study will give us the proof we need that many of the high performance glazing claims made by the industry are indeed true and that we, as an industry, have been providing products that are on the forefront of the green movement. Because of that outcome, GANA is soliciting your help. This study is not inexpensive, but its value is priceless. The GANA Educational Foundation is accepting tax-deductible donations to make the study a reality. In troubling economic times, donating to this cause can be a real investment in your company’s future.

For more information visit www.ganafoundation.org

Bill Yanek is the executive vice president of the Glass Association of North America. Mr. Yanek's opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.


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