Volume 45, Issue 10 - October 2010


Falling Into New Opportunities
GANA’s Fall Conference in Review

By Megan Headley

Even as members of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) made progress on educational bulletins they provide to the industry at large during the association’s annual Fall Conference in August in Kansas City, Mo., these attendees learned themselves about potential changes to the industry and new ways to promote glass usage.

CPSC Proposes Requirements for Testing Programs
Last August, GANA members listened to warnings that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) would soon require that safety glass fabricators include new information on their certificates of compliance (see March 2010 USGlass, page 34). As of February 11, 2010, when the last change went into effect, a “reasonable testing program” was not defined.

This year’s Fall Conference attendees learned that in May 2010, CPSC proposed adopting mandatory requirements for testing programs to provide just that. “Taken literally, this will radically change this industry,” John Kent of the Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC), told the membership. “We hope literal isn’t what they meant and there will be some clarification.”

Of the several proposed testing requirements, SGCC and GANA have focused comments on one point. GANA requested that, for in-plant failures, which CPSC would require be tested, an alternative be used to the full-blown 16 CFR 1201 impact test. GANA also has asked in its comments to CPSC for clarification on what constitutes a change where a new test would be required.

Safety check: CPSC updated its labeling requirements in February to require more information from
fabricators of architectural glazing materials installed in hazardous locations – see page 34 of
the March 2010 USGlass for more information.

“For example, taken literally, this says every time you adjust your furnace you’ve got to do an impact bag test,” Kent said. “We’re going to have to figure out what a minimum acceptable level of production testing is.”

Kent said that the CPSC is expected to issue the proposed rule some time next year, and then the industry will have six months to comply.

“Right now it’s just a proposal, nothing’s finalized,” Kent assured listeners, adding, “but if it goes the way it’s written now, it’s a big deal.”

Tempering Division Offers OSHA Input on Suction Cups
During a meeting of the Tempering Division, attendees learned that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was accepting comments on whether or not to adopt ANSI I14, which addresses rope descent systems for window cleaners, among other items.

Add your input: In its efforts to dissuade window cleaners from using metal scrapers on glass, GANA is
seeking input from glass companies about the cleaning products they recommend
using to clean construction debris from glass.

GANA technical director Urmilla Sowell shared a video demonstrating one example of this form of descent, where the window washer used a suction cup to latch onto the glass. In some instances the suction cups are used for “anti-sway” to keep the window cleaners stationary while they work.

Several division members expressed concern that, with adoption by OSHA, it will become much more difficult to stop this potentially dangerous practice. Division members discussed the potential for damage to the glass. The biggest concern, of course, was the possibility that this practice could lead to glass breakage, a danger to the window washer and passersby below.

Members agreed that it should not be approved by OSHA as a safe practice. A motion was ultimately passed to go on the record with OSHA to simply say that GANA does not endorse the use of suction cups as a personal safety device.

The group also discussed its continuing work with the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA). As representatives of the association have become more receptive to GANA members’ insistence that scrapers should not be among the tools used to clean glass, IWCA is asking for suggestions of what to use in their place. GANA is asking members for their own suggestions.

Kansas Cop Argues for More Protective Glazing
Members who turned their security alarms on before leaving home for Kansas City found themselves shaking their heads by the end of the Protective Glazing Committee meeting. Officer Michael Betten of the Overland Park Police Department gave a presentation on “Securing Houses of Worship with Laminated Glass.”

Betten explained that he focused on houses of worship specifically because many people think of churches as “soft targets.” Churches aim to provide a feeling of openness and trust; glazing materials can enhance that feeling of openness but can also allow quick, easy access to intruders.

“Security is a lot of commonsense, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there as well,” Betten said. According to Betten, security systems can promote a false sense of security. As Betten explained, a security alarm going off is an indication that the offender is inside. “By the time we get there, your stuff is already on eBay,” he said.

As he explained, the offenders already assume an alarm is on. Moreover, they already know they can get through a window. What they are looking for is whether that window will provide a great deal of visibility from the outside while they are inside committing the crime. As a result, Betten actually promotes the use of “more glazing” in churches. He encourages a great deal of visibility so people can easily see in—and potential offenders have no place to hide.

Moreover, he noted, laminated glass is important “if we have to initiate a lockdown, we want a barrier.” Another benefit, he pointed out, is that laminated glass “works whether there’s electricity or not,” as opposed to alarm systems.

The concern for use of laminated glass in residences, the audience agreed, is that most homeowners question whether firefighters are able to get in through laminated glass.

Betten pointed out that compensating for lack of protective glazing with extra deadbolts and other measures can, in fact, be more dangerous for homeowners. “But,” he said, “[knowing] that comes with education.

“I’ve probably sold more laminated glass than anyone in the country,” Betten joked as he closed his otherwise sobering presentation to a round of applause. It was an educational meeting for the GANA members, who, during the session, began considering educational opportunity for customers.

Attendees Discuss Energy, Environment Issues
Energy issues continued to be a topic of conversation for each of GANA’s divisions.
Under new business, GANA executive vice president Bill Yanek proposed that the Energy Committee consider creating an Energy Manual. The guide would act as a 101 introduction to the topic of energy, with sections ranging from solar to daylighting and topics in between. The committee agreed to first survey the existing literature on these topics to see what type of resources could be used.

The group also heard a proposal from Guardian’s Steve Farrar on behalf of the Flat Glass Manufacturing Division that the committee consider life cycle assessments. “One of the ideas that has taken hold among the green and a lot of the related institutions is the idea of life cycle assessment—figuring out how much energy your product uses from ‘birth’ to ‘death.’” Farrar said. Groups look at data such as energy information from the production process, to shipping, to, in some cases, even energy used by employees to get to work. George Petzen of LinEl pointed out the consideration should be for ‘cradle-to-cradle’ analysis, to account for recycling and reuse of glass.

“It seems to me we should think about how we would answer this before we’re forced to come up with an answer,” Farrar said. He added,

“I think it’s a real blind spot in our industry.” The committee put together a task group this question and to consider existing work along these lines.

In addition to these projects, the Energy Committee, now chaired by Helen Sanders of SAGE Electrochromics, brainstormed about other issues for future consideration. Tom Culp of Birch Point Consulting and GANA’s Glazing Industry Code Committee suggested that the group take a position on whether or not there should be an Energy Star program for commercial windows.

Culp also suggested getting more involved in green codes. Sanders pointed out that these “above-code-codes” are to some degree setting the direction the codes themselves likely will take down the road. Sanders also suggested the group look at additional efforts to educate the building community on the energy benefits of glass.

Later, during the Decorative Division’s Technical Committee meeting, a task group was initiated to look at the recyclability of architectural glass products at large. Committee members pointed out that their division covers a gamut of glass products that can be recycled, but also discussed the opportunity to merge their work with the Energy Committee’s work, potentially in its own new life cycle analysis task group.

The Mirror Division, too, addressed energy and environmental topics. The division is among the first in the association to have published a LEED white paper. “We’re ahead of the game,” commented Marc Deschamps of Walker Glass on the publication.

The division also sought to get “ahead of the game” in addressing the use of mirrors in concentrating solar power, rather than waiting for the topic to come up before the Energy Committee. Staff is working to compile a list of manufacturers of solar mirrors and component suppliers in an effort to begin reaching out to this newly recognized segment of the glass industry.

On an environmental note, Deschamps told the group that he has been receiving questions regarding the VOC content in mirrors. He suggested that the group look into creating an industry position paper on, essentially, “What do we tell the market?” As the Technical Committee discussed creating a task group on this topic, other frequently asked environmental questions came up. Ultimately, it was decided that the newest task group would “look into the questions that are being asked from a LEED perspective about mirrors.”

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