Volume 44, Issue 11 - November 2009


Float Glass Conservation?
An Interview with Global Glass Conservation Alliance President Mike Boyle


There’s a new association on the horizon, and architectural glass companies at all levels that are embracing the green message may want to take note. The not-for-profit association, known as the Global Glass Conservation Alliance (GGCA), reports that its goal is to reduce the amount of float glass that is thrown out each year and to espouse the benefits of being an environmentally-conscious glass consumer.

The repair industry, led by the GGCA, is aiming to doing its part to preserve its planet. To learn just how the fledgling organization aims to accomplish this, USGlass sat down with GGCA president Mike Boyle to get the inside scoop.


Q: When and why was the Global Glass Conservation Alliance formed?
A: It’s something that we have been considering for quite some time because a lot of the members in the [NWRA] work on glass other than just windshield repair. As more environmental issues come to light, a lot of us started to feel like we wanted to create an organization that specializes not just in the restoration of auto glass but in all float glass—marine, architectural and automotive. It seemed like in the last six months to a year that we all just coalesced around the fact that to grow the base of people that were concerned about restoring glass we should expand outside of automotive glass.


Q: GGCA started out as the NWRA. Are there any big differences in repairing/recycling architectural flat glass as compared to automotive glass?
A: In the architectural arena it becomes a lot more diverse, because you initially have problems in production and manufacturing where glass gets scratched during the production cycle, then it can get damaged during delivery and installation. That happens quite a bit—and then you have all the other issues, from atmospheric damage of glass to vandalism to a variety of other things that happen to architectural glass that obviously aren’t as prevalent on automotive.


Q: Why should glass architectural glass companies get involved with GGCA?
A: We’re trying to attract people who, number one, have a sustainable business model in their head. Understanding that as the economy has changed there are a lot of people out there that would prefer to keep existing glass in place as opposed to replacing it. What we’re trying to do is gather like-minded people all the way from a windshield repair person up through someone who hangs window film or [applies] glass coatings … those types of people. I think we can create a conduit of people that can help businesses and individuals that need restoration of glass. It will be a great place for people to come and find people that specialize in not just replacement but restoration. We’re also looking to entice manufacturers of glass; obviously a manufacturer will deliver thousands of square feet of glass and if it’s damaged they need a resource that can deal with a project that large.
There’s really no organization at this point in time that helps restoration people, film people, glass coatings and people from recycling organizations as well.


Q: What can member companies do to promote glass repair and recycling?
A: It has to be a core philosophy in your company that you are going to always do the best to maintain the product that you have as opposed to having to replace it. Having a truly transparent sustainable message and getting that message out there, that’s important. If you put the resources into an organization that can provide restoration then it opens a whole new market.


Q: Can you discuss a bit what is meant by “reuse” of glass as opposed to recycling?
A: Re-use means finding new uses for glass, it does not mean using the glass again. There’s so much waste in glass out there, and in some cases obviously restoration isn’t even an option. But what we’re now looking into as an organization is helping companies that have technologies for recycling. We’re not an organization that’s against the replacement of glass—we just want to make sure that when glass is replaced that it doesn’t end up in a landfill somewhere. The options for restoration are plenty. Right now the options for recycling [float glass] are not that large. But there is some technology out there that if we could get enough effort behind it, that technology could be placed in landfills or other municipality areas that would allow for the recycling of that glass. That glass can come back as several different components, all the way from playground sand to an aggregate for drainage to even to a decorative glass that’s used in landscaping.


Q: We hear concern from glass manufacturers that use of cullet in the manufacturing process does not count toward LEED credit for using recycled materials. Does GGCA have any goal of working with LEED to get more credits for glass in areas such as this?
A: Sure, I think that’s the reason that we attended Greenbuild last year and we intend to attend it this year. This is kind of a whole new thought process for, I think, people in the building markets but we would like to see it get some credit for it if glass can be restored or recycled as opposed to just replaced. Because the whole LEED program is really just in a pioneering effort right now and moving pretty quickly we want to figure out where we fit there. But we think that we can offer plenty of benefits and hopefully become of some value to LEED organizations.


Q: Are there plans for meetings or events in the future where the flat glass industry can learn more about this new organization?
A: We’re working on some ideas as we grow. We’d like to have a conference once a year where we can get people together and talk about, not only the processes and technologies out there, but also how do we educate the consumer. The end-product user probably has the least understanding of what can be done with the glass. We’d like to shoot for having at least one annual conference or retreat where we can get all parties together and try to build some link between manufacturing, distribution, installation and then renovation.


Spotlight on Scratch Removal Companies
A number of companies offer technologies to keep glass flawless and free of scratches, including the following.

Unscratch The Surface Keeps Glass Flawless
Unscratch The Surface in Camarillo, Calif., says it is able to effectively remove isolated scratches on a small scale and also can flawlessly resurface and restore large lites of glass; the largest-to-date has been a 8- by 8-foot lite, completely resurfaced. In addition, Unscratch the Surface has pioneered a new process for the restoration of a type of glass previously thought un-restorable: exterior reflective glass with a pyrolitic coating. Unscratch The Surface now has a unique way to remove the yellowing, runoff, haze and hard water damage without the use of abrasives or harsh acids.

GlasWeld Uses Gforce
GlasWeld in Bend, Ore., offers its Gforce scratch removal system for glass companies interested in reducing waste and saving money. The portable system restores damaged glass at any stage, from the manufacturing floor to the distribution facility, and even after installation. By repairing scratches and other damage on glass doors and windows, users can keep these products in the supply chain and out of the landfill.

SRP Offers Scratch Repair Over the Long Haul
SRP Glass Restoration in Savage, Minn., says it has a proven track record in glass restoration as companies have used its products for more than 20 years to restore scratched and damaged glass, including windows. According to the company, the SRP Glass Restoration System removes scratches quickly, easily and neatly.

Scratch Hog™ Repairs Glass
Severe glass scratches and or glass damaged due to mineral deposits can be repaired without distortion using the Scratch Hog™ from Glass Technology in Durango, Colo. Users apply a 35-micron disc to the scratch to quickly remove the scratch and then restore the glass. This tool applies microscopic 3-dimensional (pyramid shaped) structures in varying sizes that allow deep scratches to be repaired. This size differential allows users to remove and restore the scratched area much faster then trying to polish a deep scratch with traditional paste polish. Users simply select the right micro grade for the severity of the scratch. The discs are color coded to prevent confusion.









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