Volume 44, Issue 5 - May 2009


Glass Minds Think Alike
Great Glass Industry Minds Gather for GANA's Glass Week
by Megan Headley, Debra Levy and Ellen Rogers

The members of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) who volunteer their time and work hard to help educate the industry met for their annual Glass Week conference in February at the Palms in Las Vegas. Each committee, including some newer ones, got straight down to business. 

Energy Committee Holds Its First Meeting 
GANA’s new Energy Committee held its first face-to-face meeting during Glass Week. The group agreed on a scope to “represent the glass and glazing industry in fostering dialogue and interaction with organizations and governing bodies in regards to energy conservation, alternate energy policies and legislation as it pertains to glass technologies.” The committee also announced an intent to focus on sustainability issues. 

Indeed, discussions during the Glass Week meeting did, to some degree, focus on sustainability. Specifically, the group discussed an outreach effort to the U.S. Green Building Council to begin a dialogue on the use of glass in relation to earning LEED credits. The group began a letter to the Council, including the committee members’ concern with the way that cullet cannot be claimed as recyclable content. Helen Sanders of Sage Electrochromics added that there needs to be some discussion as to how increase the credits for glass by pointing out that high performance glass usage will earn a building the same number of credits as merely adding a bicycle rack.

The group also intends to open communication with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, as well as ASTM, since both may be working on standards for solar glass.

Nils Petermann of the Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC) provided an overview of EWC, with the note that the educational organization is beginning to pay more attention to commercial applications than in the past. The group is seeking input from GANA on how to raise awareness of glass’ role in energy conservation. 

The Energy Committee also agreed to review documents throughout GANA’s divisions to provide oversight on energy and “green” items. 

Fire-Rated Glazing Council Agrees to Disagree 
At the GANA Fall Conference last September in Dallas, the Fire-Rated Glazing Council (FRGC) had agreed to review the existing labeling system for fire-rated glazing. It also agreed to help in guiding the International Code Council’s (ICC) Code Technology Committee (CTC) in recommending an appropriate marking system for fire-rated glass for the next code cycle (see December 2008 USGlass, page 80). Since that meeting, the Council’s Labeling Task Group has further reviewed the current labeling system and how it is being used in the marketplace. Among the main concerns was to keep the information from confusing the marketplace. 

For example, “The problem I’ve had with the current marking system is that it can be misconstrued as being tested and approved for the end use,” commented code consultant Kate Steel.

“A system like this, a marking system that can be manipulated based on interpretation of the code in some way or a system that purports to be a guidelines as to what is a code-compliant application of a product is not really serving this industry or the end users. So we felt this was a shortcoming of the marking system,” said task group chair Jeff Griffiths of SAFTI FIRST.

Because the group remains split on the appropriateness of the current labeling system, a motion ultimately passed accepting the position documents providing background on the two viewpoints (see August 2008 USGlass, page 32 for more) the task group developed. The position documents will be forwarded “without bias to the CTC.” 

The FRGC did have some discussion about the system before approving the motion.

“Although not perfect, the current letter designations do a good job of addressing the reality of three different testing standards,” commented Jeff Razwick of Technical Glass Products. Razwick added that while he felt the current labels are a “fair and accurate representation of test standards … there’s room for improvement.”

Hank Krueger of Anemostat added that whatever solution is found, it will remain “an imperfect system” because it relies on the expertise of the code inspector. “He’s approving something that he’s really not an expert in.” Krueger added, “We’ve been labeling wired glass for 20 years—and still most of the inspectors don’t know it’s supposed to be labeled at all.”

While there was some hope of being able to put together a consensus document for CTC, the FRGC ultimately passed the motion with the understanding that a recommendation on the labeling system would be unlikely at this time. 

“I believe it’s obvious to the CTC study group, and most everybody on our task group, that this marking system is somewhat of a Pandora’s box and it has to be reined in in some form or fashion, otherwise we as manufacturers are going to get stuck in the middle,” Griffiths added. “I don’t think this is a topic where majority rules.”

Mirror Division Looks to the Future 
Mirror Division participants were provided updates on two completed resources: ASTM’s C1503 Standard Specification for Silvered Flat Glass Mirror and the ISO TC 160 standard for mirrors. The division soon will circulate its own document, Mirrors - Handle with Extreme Care, to its members for review. 

In addition, the division received an update on the recently revised ANSI Z97 standard for safety glazing materials. The presentation pointed out examples in which the standard may cause confusion when evaluating mirror breakage. The division agreed to vote negatively to encourage the ANSI committee to resolve these issues. 

The possibility of merging the small Mirror Division (which has 17 members) with, perhaps, the Decorative Division (see December 2008 USGlass, page 80, for related story) was also discussed.

“We need help with this division,” commented Mirror Division chair Jim Ventre of Vitro America. “The division has gotten very small and it’s questionable as to whether it will continue on as a standalone division.” 

A motion to survey the division membership about interest in a merger passed, although Ventre made his opinion on the matter clear: “I am very set against that,” he said during the full GANA membership meeting. He, and other division attendees, pointed out that the mirror division has accomplished quite a bit in recent years and will have more opportunities to do so in the future as the use of mirrors in solar energy generation becomes increasingly important to the industry. Needless to say, the potential merger was the big topic of discussion during the Decorative Division’s meeting as well. 

“The mirror division membership has decreased and there is a lot of synergy between the two groups, since mirror is a decorative product,” said Marc Deschamps of Walker Glass. “The decorative division has a strong membership based already … we can all pull together to create an even stronger division.”

GANA technical director Greg Carney said there was not really a right or wrong way to go.

“It makes sense to have a Mirror Committee under Decorative, as well as part of the Energy Committee. There is no clear answer,” he opined.

Decorative Division Takes Direction
The ever-growing Decorative Division began with the membership committee meeting, during which chair Cathie Saroka of Goldray Industries reported that the division now has 45 member companies and that the group is working to continue increasing membership. A task group was formed that will work toward generating ideas on how the group can continue to bring in new members and to also find ways to show all the benefits of membership.

During the technical meeting, committee chair Greg Saroka of Goldray said that the group’s LEED position paper is now complete. The white paper was created to identify ways that LEED credits can be applied to decorative glass products. The members will work to get it approved as a GANA-wide document.

Also during the technical meeting Jeff Nixon of Glass Coatings and Concepts provided an update on the product color and durability task group. Nixon explained that the group’s goal has been to prepare an easily referenced document on color and durability; identify test methods; consider available specifications and standards; and determine whether there is a need to develop a standard or specification.

Tempering Division Talks About Window Cleaning 
The Tempering Division’s Construction Subcommittee discussed its ongoing communication with the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) (see January 2008 USGlass, page 18). Carney met with the association at the end of last year to “talk about things like evaluating other means of cleaning glass other than [metal] scrapers.” Among ideas coming from the IWCA was the suggestion to put together a “best practices” document for the operation of heat-treating ovens to address the accusations of some window cleaners that many scratches arise from the presence of fabricating debris that is pulled along the surface of the glass. 

The group also continued discussion of the creation of a sticker for use on the glass that would discourage the use of metal scrapers. An image of what the small cling stickers would look like—with a simple graphic and text in English and Spanish noting that “metal scrapers damage glass”—was presented to the subcommittee. 

Insulating Glass Division Strikes Commercial Focus 
Following updates on a number of items still in motion, GANA executive vice president Bill Yanek presented information to the Insulating Glass (IG) Division on the potential merger with the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) (see March 2009 USGlass, page 44). Yanek noted that following the recent IGMA annual meeting earlier in February, the two groups now “have a checklist of deliverables to move forward with.” For now, IGMA is going to continue to poll its members for further input; Margaret Webb, IGMA executive director, noted that she’ll be calling every member company to discuss the picture of what this merger might look like.

In anticipation of such a move, Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning Corp., proposed adapting the GANA Insulating Glass Division’s mission statement and objectives to become more accepting of the IGMA members’ concerns for, among other things, a division dominated by commercial glass interests. The group removed its “particular emphasis on commercial glazing” from the mission statement and also tweaked its objectives. 

Laminating Division Completes Tasks at Hand 
The Laminating Division drew close to completion on a number of educational projects during Glass Week. 

Members of the division were informed that the Laminated Glazing Reference Manual is undergoing its final round of minor edits and is expected to be published in May. A glass informational bulletin (GIB) about Emergency Egress Through Laminated Glazing Materials is on the list to next be updated, followed by the creation of a GIB on Hurricane Substitution Explanations (see July 2008 USGlass, page 36, for related story) and the completion of a GIB on the Approximate Weight of Interlayers Used in Laminated Architectural Glass, a sister document to the earlier GIB on the Approximate Weight of Architectural Flat Glass.

Megan Headley is the editor, Debra Levy the publisher and Ellen Rogers is a contributing editor of USGlass magazine.

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