GANA: Advocacy and the
Future of the Glass Industry
by Bill Yanek
Recently, I visited with a doctor (fortunately on an association matter,
not my health!). His observations on association advocacy struck a chord.
It seems medical specialties are grappling with the new healthcare landscape.
Beyond the expected challenges of plugging medical specialties into a
one-size-fits-all health system, cardiologists are concerned that their
voice at the state and federal levels is not being heard. Sound familiar?
The commercial architectural glazing industry’s advocacy dilemma at the
state, federal and regulatory levels mirror what the cardiologists are
facing. How best do we make our voice heard in all relevant advocacy arenas?
I often hear from members of the Glass Association of North America (GANA)
that we need to stop “parachuting in” at the last minute and asking for
the world from a standard-setting body that has been at work on an effort
for months, if not years. To become more proactive, GANA: Advocacy must
engage in three areas.
A Seat at the Table
First, we must represent our industry in all forums.
A well-worn phrase in Washington, D.C., warns, “If you are not at the
table, you will be on the menu.” We need to ensure that GANA remains at
Advocating on behalf of architectural glazing need not necessarily reside
in the Capitol. All of our U.S. Congressmen have constituents in the commercial
architectural glazing industry. A conservative estimate of the annual
global economic impact of our industry equals more than $38 billion.
GANA: Advocacy already is making progress. May 10-12 GANA member companies
and staff visited key Congressional members and staff to discuss pending
Building Star legislation and educate members of Congress on GANA’s clean
energy efforts. In addition, GANA and several other industry associations
jointly signed a white paper on proposed changes to Building Star and
that document was distributed during these visits to the Hill. GANA also
sent a letter to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and other key Senators outlining
GANA-supported clean energy principles and efforts.
GANA: Advocacy in the States
State level regulation and adoption of energy and building codes continue
to impact commercial architectural glazing.
As the adoption of California’s climate change/cap and trade framework
moves into implementation, GANA: Advocacy will engage on this issue through
the AB 32 Implementation Group. This coalition represents large and small
businesses that are vital to California’s economy and provide hundreds
of thousands of jobs. Its mission is to be a constructive voice in the
process to implement AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act) and ensure
that the greenhouse gas emission reductions required are achieved while
maintaining the competitiveness of California businesses and protecting
the interests of consumers and workers (learn more at www.ab32ig.com).
Also in California, work is under way by the California Energy Commission
(CEC) in developing the state’s building energy efficiency standard (Title
24). The intent is to achieve significant energy savings through
the development of reasonable, responsible, and cost-effective code
change proposals for the 2011 code update (learn more at www.energy.ca.gov/title24/).
And across several Western states and two Canadian provinces, the Western
Climate Initiative is managing the collaboration of independent jurisdictions
working together to identify, evaluate and implement policies to tackle
climate change at a regional level. This is a comprehensive effort to
reduce greenhouse gas pollution, spur growth in new green technologies,
help build a strong clean-energy economy and reduce dependence on foreign
oil (learn more at www.westernclimateinitiative.org).
Historically, advocacy in front of regulatory bodies, code promulgating
entities and standards setting organizations have dominated GANA: Advocacy
efforts. They will remain a critical piece. However, in addition to the
International Code Council, ASHRAE and ASTM, regulatory agencies such
as the Environmental Protection Agency (which is contemplating the regulation
of greenhouse gas emissions) and Department of Energy (which is at the
forefront of energy policy), will need increasing emphasis in the near
This year GANA: Advocacy will synchronize efforts in Washington, D.C.,
at the state level and in front of regulatory, code and standard setting
Secondly, GANA: Advocacy needs to continue to develop member advocacy
tools and improve our current offerings.
On our new website at www.glasswebsite.com/advocacy
you will find increasing commercial architectural glazing industry advocacy
This new portal combines traditional web articles and links with video
podcasts and social media tools to deliver to you the most up-to-date
advocacy information. The portal will assist you in educating legislators,
regulators and other commercial architectural glazing industry stakeholders.
Finally, GANA: Advocacy must learn to navigate the new advocacy reality—coalitions,
alliances, social media and constant change.
Advocacy efforts that worked just a few years ago are being swept away
by new alliances, new coalitions and new communication channels. The High
Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition is one such coalition.
On Building Star, GANA worked with the Energy Future Coalition, a non-partisan
alliance that seeks to bridge the differences among business, labor and
environmental groups and identify energy policy options with broad political
support. GANA: Advocacy will continue to forge relationships with such
entities. But to be a viable partner, GANA will have to be at the table
“early and often” and be able to provide member expertise.
And, don’t just take it from me—listen to the doctors.
Bill Yanek is GANA’s executive vice president. Mr. Yanek’s opinions
are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.
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