Publisher Debra A. Levy; twitter:@keycomm;  
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Contributing Tara Taffera, vice president  
o you know what Hyalophobia is? Or Nelophobia? In all my years in this  
Editors Extension 113  
business, I had never heard of either until a clue on Jeopardyhad the an-  
swer (or question depending on your point of view) of “What is Hyalopho-  
bia?” Hyalophobia is an insidious disease and can be deadly, especially when it  
affects the building industry or code officials.Based on what I’m seeing, we could  
be on the cusp of a pandemic if the glass industry doesn’t step up.  
Hyalophobia is a fear of glass. (Nelophobia is more akin to fear of glass break-  
age and injury from glass, by the way.) It’s synonymous with Hyelophobia and  
it means fear of glass as a material. I’m afraid we’re seeing the pre-cursor to an  
outbreak among the building community. Let me explain.  
A recent webinar sponsored by the ComEd Energy Efficiency program and  
Seventhwave featured a discussion among architects and other building profes-  
sionals professing that, when it comes to glass and glazing,“less is more.”  
Architect Brett Bridgeland of Seventhwave demonstrated modeling examples  
in which a building with what he called a “strategic” 40-percent window-to-wall  
ratio (WWR) had a higher Useful Daylight Index when compared to one with an  
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5-percent WWR.  
He said that “... in most cases, designing the WWR for the sake of saving elec-  
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trical lighting probably isn’t a valid strategy, and will become even more so as  
electrical lighting and LED lighting become more efficient on their own.”He said  
it’s “a more complex optimization problem than just maximizing the amount of  
glass in the space.”  
Now, it would be easy to discount the comments in this webinar as Hyalophobia,  
but that would be short-sighted, as the premise of the webinar could wound our  
industry or prove fatal.And the only medicine that will defeat it is data.  
Instinctively it feels that the aesthetics and effects of glass would counter the ef-  
fects of Hyalophobia, and on an anecdotal level it would. But battles of the wall are  
not fought in anecdotes; they must be fought with facts and data.  
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The webinar participants talked about moving toward designs that remove  
glass from the sleeping areas in multifamily housing since “people often have  
their blinds shut anyway.”Well, data would be needed on these assertions as well.  
We need complete measures of occupant comfort factors when considered against  
different types of glass with distinct performance characteristics. Do we know the  
glass Bridgeland and his colleagues considered when developing their matrices?  
I remember when Scott Thomsen, then president of Guardian’s Flat Glass Group,  
called me to talk about the proposed changes in the building codes that would  
massively reduce WWR. He was surprised that many in the industry didn’t feel a  
sense of urgency. I contacted several industry thought leaders, including company  
and association heads, sounding the alarm. We did a number of digital and print  
campaigns explaining the issue,as well.The industry responded,and“battle for the  
wall”became the industry’s most successful one to date.  
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Well this time, I am sounding a different type of alarm. The Hyalophobia we’re  
facing is a small virus right now.But it’s going to grow and mutate as viruses do.If  
we, as an industry, are not in the lab NOW creating medicines and preventatives,  
it will eventually best us. We are going to need an arsenal of measures and data  
to fight this successfully. I’m happy to help fight this disease. If you want to help,  
please reach out. This is a long-range problem that will need constant attention,  
and it’s not a problem that can be solved by reaction. We need pre-action and  
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pro-activity or Hyalophobia will take its toll.  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | June 2017  

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