Volume 47, Issue 5 - May 2012


San Francisco to Require Annual Energy Benchmark Summaries

The city of San Francisco recently adopted a new Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance that will require commercial buildings to submit annual energy benchmark summaries. The ordinance, adopted in 2011, is being phased in over a three-year period for existing nonresidential buildings 10,000 square feet and larger.

Each whole nonresidential building larger than 10,000 square feet must be benchmarked using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM). An annual energy benchmark summary includes: contact information and gross square footage; energy use intensity (how much energy the building used per square foot for the year); 1-100 performance rating provided by the ESPM, where applicable; greenhouse gas emissions from energy usage and; assessor’s parcel number (APN or block/lot).

“This is going to help owners of existing facilities in San Francisco become more educated about their own costs for energy and opportunities to reduce expenditures associated with it,” says Stewart P. Jeske, president of JEI Structural Glazing Systems Engineering of Kansas City. “This will drive retrofit and renovation efforts to reduce those costs and by that help the glass and glazing industry in the San Francisco region. As owners become educated about options to reduce those energy costs, there will be a natural investment toward upgrading to energy-efficient glazing systems.”

“We’re hoping that the new ordinance motivates building owners to take advantage of the advances in fire-rated glass that we and other manufacturers have made,” says Jeff Griffiths, director of business development at Safti First in San Francisco. “California, especially San Francisco in particular, has always been a leader when it comes to environmental stewardship and the preservation of natural resources. Unfortunately, many design and building professionals believe that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification label doesn’t necessarily assure long-term energy efficiency for newly constructed buildings, and may be too costly for renovation projects. Periodic audits of a building’s energy performance based on actual daily use seem to be a far more practical means of guiding and monitoring energy efficiency.”

NFRC Considers Procedure to Measure Translucent Panel VT
The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Translucent Panel Visible Transmittance Task Group has developed a procedure to measure visible transmission of overhead or vertical fenestration products.

“The problem is that these translucent panels are sometimes homogenous and sometimes not,” says Ross McCluney, research physicist at SunPine Consulting in Chattanooga, Tenn., and a member of the group. “We resurrected an old ASTM standard that allows you to put a light meter in a shallow box, 3 feet square, and you lay the light meter in the box. It collects light from the panels from all directions. It calls for translating samples between measurements. You average those and divide the average by the incident light level. It’s the ratio of those two levels that gives the correct reading.”

The procedure now will go through the NFRC’s board of directors to be approved, according to McCluney.

AAMA Pursues LCA in Conjunction with GANA, WDMA and IGMA
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) has been a popular topic at recent industry meetings, including the recent American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) annual conference in Naples, Fla., in February.

AAMA is one of four associations that have come together to study this issue as it relates to the glass industry. It is working with members of the Glass Association of North America, the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. Rita Schenck, executive director at the Institute for Environmental Research and Education, is assisting the group with its efforts as she has worked with other organizations on LCA, according to a presentation by Rich Walker, president and CEO AAMA.

Walker told attendees that the group is looking at everything from transportation, energy use and packaging, to waste management and resource extraction.

The latter topic evoked some questions from attendees as where to get this data. “Some of this is already standardized and there are databases to draw on,” said Ray Garries of Jeld-Wen in Klamath Falls, Ore., who is a member of the LCA group.

The group is using COMFEN, a tool from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as its energy model and is basing the research on a building that is 10 feet wide, 9 feet high and 20 feet deep.

“We put this out there, but this could change,” said Walker.

Regarding durability, the group decided on a 30-year shelf life but currently is looking into this more, including a review of existing data.

“Curtainwall is another area we have to wrestle with more,” said Walker, who added that for now the document does not include doors.

The associations hope to have a working document complete this summer.

Future tasks of the group include performing an LCA study, developing a consumer-facing label for big-box stores, and planning a meeting with retailers with an example or a consumer label to gain feedback.

IGMA Group to Look at Vacuum Insulating Glazing
The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance’s (IGMA) Emerging Technology and Innovation Committee of IGMA recently formed a task group to look at vacuum insulating glazing (VIG). The group met for the first time at the association’s annual general meeting, January 31-February 4, in Tempe, Ariz.

As a first step, the group will develop a VIG white paper that describes the technology and defines some of the acronyms and words associated with the technology, according to Dave Cooper, advanced insulating glass (IG) program leader at Guardian Industries of Auburn Hills, Mich., and president of IGMA.

The group expects the paper to be done in the next year. Following that the task group will start looking at creating a test standard for VIG.

“There is a VIG standard from China that doesn’t include testing,” Cooper says. “So, it’s more like a specification, not a standard. [Next] windload tables will have to be developed for VIG. Nothing exists. Information also will have to be acquired based on impact studies on how VIG would perform in hurricanes and other natural disasters. We don’t have any studies around that.”

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