Volume 46, Issue 10 - November 2011


Speaking the GANA Language
From GIBs to LCAs, Learn what Members of the Glass Association of North America Talked About at Fall Conference
by Megan Headley

A new member of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) could be heard asking his neighbor early during the association’s recent Fall Conference: “what does that mean?”

The comment was in reference to a number of abbreviations offered during the course of a codes update. But in short time, the varied shorthand became familiar to members new and old throughout the course of the conference, which took place October 17-19 in Kansas City, Mo. During the conference the association made quick and effective work of updating its members on a number of items with potential to impact the industry.

The Alphabet Soup
During a joint meeting of the Flat Glass Manufacturing and Energy Divisions, Mike Turnbull of Guardian Industries gave an introductory presentation on the “next big programs for the fenestration industry.” The big topics under discussion included some shorthand with which many GANA members are just starting to become familiar: product category rules (PCR); life cycle assessments (LCA); and environmental product declarations (EPD).

Why pay attention to these green programs? Turnbull explained that EPDs have become a way of substantiating certain environmental claims. He advised thinking of an EPD as an “environmental nutrition label,” a non-promotional way of giving information to interested parties. He cited a UL study that showed that 90 percent of architects “researched, specified or purchased” verifiable green products. Moreover, he noted that the European Union currently is working on requirements for EPDs, and the ASTM International Committee E60 on Sustainability has started a whole-building LCA committee, two more reasons to expect these labels to play a bigger role in manufacturing in the future.

In addition, the glass industry has become more familiar with the need for life cycle analysis since GANA and several other industry players earlier this year agreed to represent the fenestration industry to third-party players developing an EPD for the fenestration industry.

"How do we quantify [a view]? Once we do, we start beating out every other building material.”
—Mike Turnbull, Guardian Industries, Flat Glass Manufacturing Divisio

Taking a step back, to get an EPD a company needs to perform an LCA, and the PCR is required prior to conducting that LCA. But even though the PCR is the genesis of this chain, it’s the “newest player,” Turnbull said. So he defined the product category rules by saying they should include the specific assumptions, guidelines and requirements that must be followed to develop a verifiable EPD. There are ISO standards that “guide and influence” the PCR process, he explained, and in the fenestration industry, the “program operator” for establishing a PCR, as established by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is the Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE).

Turnbull went on to note that the LCA is the tool for capturing all aspects and impacts of a product, process or service. LCAs can focus on the full life cycle—called cradle to grave—or subsets of the life cycle—either cradle to gate or gate to gate. Turnbull encouraged the Flat Glass Manufacturing Division members to be proactive and take on a “cradle to gate” PCR that outlined the process from manufacturing to putting the glass product on the truck.

He also noted that the “use” stage of life is among the most critical for windows, as that covers the product’s impact during its useful life. As Turnbull pointed out, one of the biggest impacts of glass is that it provides a view. “How do we quantify that?” he asked. “Once we do, we start beating out every other building material.”

Turnbull concluded by saying that these three items are “creating a new reality” for the glass industry and new challenges. In fact, he said it is anticipated that having EPDs and LCAs will become either code or law within the next 5 to 10 years.

Following Turnbull’s presentation, GANA technical director Urmilla Sowell later spoke to the membership at large about how the glass industry can get involved in the LCA process.

While IERE is establishing industry PCRs, the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) currently is working on a window LCA. NIST currently lacks LCA data on window frames, and has contracted a third party, Four Elements, to survey window manufacturers to collect this data.

Energy Division Notes Air Leakage Criteria
The meeting of the GANA Energy Division concluded with a discussion of one topic the brand new division (formerly the Energy Committee) has not previously touched: air leakage.

In a presentation on “Air Leakage in Buildings Mitigation and Code Issues,” Stanley Yee of the Facade Group acknowledged that the topic is one his audience “may have heard of in the periphery but may not have made the connection to energy.” Yet according to a 2005 NIST study, Yee said, air infiltration (or leakage, which he defined as essentially uncontrolled air infiltration/exfiltration) is responsible for 33 percent of the total heating energy use. Sources of air leakage include the mechanical systems; the building enclosure by stack effect; and the building enclosure by wind effect. Seeing as how fenestration is an integral part of two of those causes, he said, this should be a topic of notice.

Of particular notice should be a recent change in air leakage criteria made by one of the groups that sets such criteria, Yee said.

A number of organizations ranging from the International Energy Conservation Code to the General Services Administration (GSA) have set air leakage criteria at 0.40 CFM/sqft. That criteria, he noted, has not necessarily been enforced to date. According to Yee, NIST had surveyed a sample of building stock and found that building air infiltration is more typically 3.5 times that allowance.

With that in mind he noted that earlier this year the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers set a requirement that all new buildings and major retrofits need to be 0.25 CFM/square foot. “I can tell you now that there will be many to follow suit in that number, ASHRAE being one, GSA being next ... it’s just a matter of time before we start seeing this number as the norm,” Yee said.

He added that the Corps expects total energy costs savings to range from 5 to 25 percent from this improved air infiltration and, as such, is expected to enforce the new number more stringently than in the past.

Yee also went over how to test for air leakage, explaining the process for the ASTM E779 air blower test. He pointed out that test is used on a finished building and if the building does not then meet the criteria it cannot get an occupancy permit. In addition to using AAMA 502 and 503 for pressure testing along the way, he mentioned thermography as one way to diagnose air leakage. The tool shows heat differences in a building, revealing where the hot air used in the blower test is escaping.

One listener pointed out how striking it was to see the thermographic image of a relatively “young” building—two years old—showing dramatic air leakage through the fenestration. What does this say for the life cycle of the building, he asked, if the fenestration isn’t keeping air (and energy) effectively inside at the beginning?

Yee said that among the ways to prevent air leakage and improve infiltration and exfiltration is attention to how glazing system design, assembly and installation can contain and prevent air from moving inside the building, and ensuring a connection between door and window frames and the air barrier. He concluded by noting that fenestration has an important role to play in improving air infiltration and improving energy, but added that it must do so in conjunction with other trades and in the context of the whole building.

Confirming Best Practices
During the Tempering Division meeting, Greg Carney of C. G. Carney Associates proposed starting a task group for development of a document on “best practices for heat treating glass.” As he explained, the division had been working with the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) for several years now, encouraging window cleaners to use proper procedures for cleaning glass. One of the items that has come up in discussion with IWCA, Carney noted, is that the window cleaner group put together a best practices document and have taken large strides in this direction. They then challenged GANA to do the same. Carney showed the group a proposed outline of what could be covered by such a guideline, a broad stroke of general guidelines including dos and don’ts and basic considerations. During this meeting, Carney went over a proposed outline of topics to consider, from appropriate personal protective equipment to washing to conveying systems to packaging and shipment.

One listener spoke up and said a resource like this could be work to improve overall quality of the industry. Others expressed concern that many of the coaters might not agree—or share—those best practices adopted in their own processes.

The task group will continue to evaluate the possible direction of such guidance.

Divisions Discuss Safety
The Fall Conference featured a number of discussions related to safety. For starters, members of the Protective Glazing Committee reviewed a very early draft of a potential glass informational bulletin (GIB) on radio frequency (RF). Products have been introduced in recent years that can protect building occupants from ease of electronic eavesdropping on RF signals through windows (see March 2007 USGlass, page 34). Of concern was that the committee wants to address the topic but its members at this point don’t include RF experts. Consequently, the group is still seeking expert input in order to proceed with an educational document.

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The committee also brought up topics to consider for future GIBs. Among them, a particular hot topic of late: bird-friendly glass (see page 20 for related story). While the committee seemed at first unsure that the topic fit within the scope of a committee that has focused on safety to building occupants, many members seemed to agree that it would be a proactive to address the hot topic with some industry-specific information.

Standards and Codes
During a meeting of the Laminating Division, the group continued editing a GIB about glass in furniture. As ASTM moves closer to completing its standard on this topic, the GANA group hopes to publish a document explaining the types of glass to be used in furniture applications, with the expectation that more detailed information on this will be included in the Laminated Glazing Reference Manual following publication of the ASTM standard. Upon completing a number of edits to the GIB, a motion carried to move the document to the Technical Committee for ballot.

The Tempering Division likewise heard an update on the ASTM standard, which is expected to be released before the end of this year. During that division meeting, Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia commented, “This standard ASTM is putting out is very weak compared to standards coming out from other countries, including China, so this is something we’ll want to keep an eye on.” By way of example, she noted that China is requiring a label on every piece of glass. That the United States does not has been “one of the big contentions,” Schimmelpenningh said.

The council meeting concluded as Thom Zaremba provided an update on recent fire code changes (see October 2011 USGlass, page 20). Zaremba pointed out January 3, 2012, is the deadline for submitting 2015 International Code Council code change proposals. Razwick noted that when the council meets as part of the GANA Annual Conference, February 20-24, 2012, in Sarasota, Fla., it will be the perfect time for the association to “put together a position that we can then move forward as a group.”

Talking with Jon Johnson, GANA President

In just three words Jon Johnson can sum up the Glass Association of North America (GANA): advocacy, education and sharing. Johnson, regional general manager, Midwest, with Arch Deco Glass, serves as president of GANA, and has been involved with the group for about seven years. In that time he has participated in a variety of programs and activities, from marketing to membership.

USG: In your role as president this year what have been some significant projects you’ve worked on?
JJ: It’s been both an interesting and challenging year. My stint as president was escalated with the withdrawal of the vice president late last year when he left the industry. So I actually should have been vice president this year. Along with that, we saw our executive vice president Bill Yanek deployed to Africa on guard duty. So while there have been some challenges, it’s really been a smooth year. As far as our efforts, probably the biggest has been spent on seeing the Glazing Industry Code Committee (GICC) grow and gain stature in the industry. We’ve spent a lot of time making sure members are represented in that arena. We also changed gears somewhat at Fall Conference to address the many issues we’ve seen this year with glass balustrades and the rash of breakages that have been reported.

USG: What projects/items do you have on your GANA president’s to-do list for the remainder of 2011?
JJ: As an association we’re heavily dependent on volunteers. We have some excellent people and the consistency of their involvement is amazing. But there are lots of people always doing the same work. We surveyed members and one negative has been that we don’t always move fast enough toward a resolution. The reason we sometimes get log-jammed is because we need more people to be involved. We’re working on a bylaw amendment that would help move things forward and make us faster and nimbler.

USG: What do you think are the biggest challenges the glass industry is facing and how is GANA working to address those?
JJ: We’re living in challenging economic time. GANA is ensuring through, for example, energy codes advocacy, that glass is seen as a beneficial building product. Plus, glass products, both exterior and interior, serve two purposes. One is utilitarian in providing energy efficiency and comfort, but they are also beautiful. You can achieve one or the other with other materials, but you can have both with glass. We also want to make sure government agencies are aware [of the benefits] of glass in terms of energy conservation.

USG: Why do you think it’s important for the industry to be involved in GANA?
JJ: The group is the voice of the industry and there is so much untapped experience and knowledge out there. The more involved people are the better the knowledge pool—especially during a difficult economy.

Megan Headley is editor of USGlass. She can be reached at mheadley@glass.com or follow her on Twitter @USGlass.

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