Volume 7, Issue 8 - September 2006

Sizzling Summer Meeting 
IGMA Tackles Issues in Toronto
by Brigid O'Leary

The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) summer meeting took place at the Sheraton Center in Toronto at the end of July, addressing issues important to the industry and overseas.

The event started on Sunday, July 30 with an early morning meeting of the Certification and Education committee. Those who assembled gathered at 8 a.m. to look at several issues, starting with the addition of the certification aspect to the education committee, both in name and scope.

The reason for the addition of certification to the role of the education committee, it was explained, was two-fold. Brian Burnet of AFG Industries and chairperson of the IGMAC Certification Procedures Committee recently retired. His absence created a need for IGMA to address certification issues. With his departure, IGMA executive director Margaret Webb felt it would be beneficial to have documented IGMA stances on issues of certification. 

The first part of the committee meeting was spent defining the objectives and goals of the committee in light of this new topic.

After the discussion of goals and objectives, which were tentatively approved, the committee turned its attention to the IGMA educational programs. Upcoming is the Insulating Glass (IG) Failures educational seminar that will be presented in Las Vegas in September, at WinDoor in Toronto in November and again at the Florida Educational Seminar in Tampa in December. 

Following the update on the IG failure seminar, the committee began further planning of a seminar IGMA will offer: a quality procedure course.

The committee also reviewed the report of the Gas Fill Work Group, and the review generated much discussion. The topic that drew the most debate—both in the work group and within the education and certification committee—was the discussion regarding how much gas fill would be mandated for both initial and final fill for a company seeking durability certification. “What we’re talking about is workmanship,” said Webb. “This is the test method. We’re testing a manufacturer’s ability to make a good seal.”

A straw vote of the work group voted 25 to five in favor of 90 percent initial gas fill and 80 percent final gas fill after testing, a result mirrored by the straw poll of the certification and education committee, which had only one dissenting vote.

Before adjourning, the committee reviewed the guidelines governing the testing of double- versus triple-glazed units, agreeing to keep the current IGMA guideline that all triple-glazed units must be tested, and double-glazed units of like construction from the same manufacturer qualify without separate testing.

Hard Working Working Groups 
After lunch, the priority of the glazing guideline work group was a review of Amendment #2 of the glazing guidelines, particularly regarding the use of thermoplastics and the compatibility thereof with sealants. After adding the word “virgin” to the amendment for clarification, the group moved on to a question posed to IGMA at a previous industry event. Under recommendation by another industry member, Webb brought up the subject of the use of setting blocks with vinyl windows but the group decided it did not warrant further discussion. Rather, it moved on to new business, a debate about whether or not capillary tubes should be sealed or not, and if so, how.

“I’m all for industry position. I think we’re all better off [with one industry position] than with many different ones,” said Rick Wright of Oldcastle Glass.

A small working group was formed to draft a proposal of the appropriate language for an industry consensus on the sealing of capillary tubes to be presented at the next meeting.

Up second was the gas permeability work group, the focus of which was to talk about phase 2 of the gas permeability project.

“Phase 1 is essentially done,” said PRC DeSoto International’s Bruce Virnelson, committee chairperson. 

Despite much discussion about various related topics, including the test design, other options for the testing process, the potential cost and the variables associated with it, the task group emitted an overall lack of strong feeling on the topic and to help keep things moving, Virnelson suggested creating a draft of the RFP.

“I don’t think we should abandon the concept until there’s proof it won’t work,” said Jeff Haberer of Cardinal IG.

The thermal stress working group was up next, with several objectives. In the absence of group chair Steve Crandel, Bill Lingnell led the meeting.

After some dialogue regarding the “Do’s and Don’ts” guidelines, the committee took a look at the IGMA Thermal Stress Field Service Inspection record and made recommendations for changes to the language. The result fine-tuned the one-page document to work as a check list and allows glaziers in the field to report back breakage; the data—and samples in some cases—will be collected by IGMA for review.

Wrapping up the first day of meetings was the visual quality work group, chaired by Joe Hayden of Pella Corp. Most of the meeting centered around the definitions created by the smaller work group, which were presented to the committee for review and were subjected to several changes. Once the definitions were completed—and at least one turned back over to the smaller working group for refinement—the next topic of discussion was the conformance requirements. Adhesive residue, desiccant dusting, dirt/debris, fingerprints, fogging and Suction/vacuum cup marks all as defined by the group in the previous discussion, are not allowed; marks (also as defined by the group discussion) are expected to follow ASTM C1036. The variation of muntin/grill alignment shall and the sightlines of spacers and sealants should be no greater than 3mm.

Day Two: Everything On Cue
Following a breakfast buffet at which IGMA president Luc Cormier, of Multiver Ltée., discussed IGMA’s strategic plan for the future, attendees heard technical presentations including Ray Wakefield of Trulite, Jeff Harberer of Cardinal and Andre Piers of TNO.

Harberer took to the podium after Wakefield to present the findings of Cardinal’s residential field project comparing the energy efficiencies of clear glass, high solar gain low-E glass and low solar gain low-E glass. The company built identical houses in three different locations across the United States—two houses in Roseville, Calif., three houses in Windrose, Texas and four houses in Fort Wayne, Ind.—at least one house in each location being equipped with low solar gain low-E and each house was scientifically measured and monitored for energy used, solar heat gained and how much the air condition and heating units in the house worked to keep the interior temperature at a consistent state. Overall, the results reflected what was anticipated—that low-E glass of any sort is more energy efficient than clear glass, but low solar gain low-E glass still regulated temperatures during peak times and certain seasons more efficiently than did high solar gain low-E glass.

His presentation included a short video of Cardinal’s findings, which reflected what Haberer says many in the industry have always believed—it just offers scientific proof that the industry was right.

“The point is you’re going to reduce emissions by having low solar gain products,” he said.

Piers finished off the morning presentations with a presentation about European requirements for gas fill, explaining to IGMA members how gas fill is currently measured.

“In Europe, we have subsidized programs from the government so that homeowners can get price reductions if they replace windows with high performance glass,” he said, explaining that in Europe the U value of the glass is taken from the center of the glass and “is only intended for comparison of performance of products under same conditions and thus makes no statement for actual in service U value.”

It’s Over Already?
The summer meeting wrapped up earlier than anticipated on Tuesday, August 1, with an abbreviated schedule of technical presentations.

Andre Piers of TNO returned to the podium for the second day to discuss certification in the European market. As he explained, the standards for IG certification in Europe vary somewhat from the standards in Canada and the United States, but the requirements also overlap in some ways.

One important difference is that in Europe, a company’s management representative files a report every six months about the results of conformity control tests and manufacturers are required to keep these reports and results of any action points mentioned therein for at least five years, sometimes longer depending on the country. In England, for example, those reports are kept for 12 years.

One difference, however, is that in Europe, IG units that are CE certified have labels that reflect what the intended use of the unit is and what parameters it meets, such as sound reduction and fire-resistance. The labels reflect to what degree manufacturers have created the unit to meet these different aspects of glazing and are held liable to what they say the unit can do.

“Manufacturers must keep this in mind: what do I put in my intended use and what don’t I put in my intended use?” he said.

Additionally, part of the certification process in Europe requires the system manufacturer to submit for testing sample units that are representative of the units that are not perfect but that the company is still willing to sell to the public.

The next IGMA event is the annual meeting, scheduled for February 21-25, 2007 in Tampa, Fla.

Brigid O’Leary is a contributing editor for DWM magazine.

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