Volume 48, Issue 1 - January 2013


Glass Product Category Rules Being
Developed to Aid in Life Cycle Analysis

With the assistance of Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) flat glass manufacturing division, NSF International announced the development of a Product Category Rule (PCR) for flat and float glass. This PCR is intended to provide an international scientific method of assessing the environmental impact of the product throughout the entire life cycle of the material. It will encompass float, sheet, plate and rolled glass.

The life cycle assessment (LCA) for a particular product group and what to include in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) will be defined by the new PCR. EPDs are verified by the third-party inspection of NSF International’s sustainability division. The division confirms that data meets all ISO 14025 labeling requirements as well as follows applicable PCR guidelines.

“This rule will fundamentally change the industry,” says Ashley Charest, account executive for GANA. “GANA’s flat glass division saw it as a need. When all is said and done, paid for and completed, anyone will be able to access this industry document.”

“GANA is funding the PCR and Mike Turnbull of Guardian is chairing the effort,” says Charest. “You don’t have to pay to help fund this research, anyone can participate. They are truly going to utilize this as a way to get industry information from across a variety of groups to make sure we have the most accurate PCR possible.”

A panel of glass manufacturers, suppliers, regulatory agencies, life cycle practitioners, trade associations and end users will be used by the NSF National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS) to create the PCR.

“Enabling comparisons of glass products on the basis of their environmental impact, using standardized and scientifically sound data, will provide a competitive incentive for glass manufacturers to focus on the environmental impacts of their products and operations,” says Turnbull, who, in addition to being the NSF PCR chair is also the GANA float glass manufacturing division representative. “Developing a PCR for float and flat glass is an important step for the industry [to move] toward a more sustainable future.”

“There is growing interest in transparency of product information both domestically and abroad. The inclusion of criteria supporting Environmental Product Declarations in the LEED V4 Green Building Rating System Standards in development will further increase demand if adopted,” says Tom Bruursema, NSF sustainability general manager. “GANA is taking an important step in the green building industry to develop the PCR that will enable the reporting and comparison of the environmental attributes of their products.”

Green Matters to Corporations Too
In a recent 2012 survey of corporate leaders, McGraw Hill Construction (MHC) found that sustainability is becoming “business as usual” with more firms increasing investments in that realm. Firms are expecting significant benefits from sustainability, which is seeing an increased role in corporate financial plans and new product and business development. In fact, 43 percent of firms dedicate funds to this area.

These were some of the findings presented by Ari Kobb, LEED AP O&M, director, sustainability and green building solutions, Siemens Building Technologies, and Harvey Bernstein, vice president, industry insights and alliances, MHC, during MHC’s Annual Outlook Executive Conference.

Other findings include the fact that the depth of green commitment is increasing; there is a rise in firms that are largely dedicated to green building; and a drop in firms “moderately involved or less.”

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