When Green Isn’t Just a Color
GANA’s Decorative Division Looks
by Cathie Saroka
The modern world has united, sometimes whether it has wanted to or not,
to increase energy efficiencies and reduce the potential harmful effects
we humans have on our planet. One of the many tools to bring about this
change has been the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®)
Green Building Rating System™. LEED, which has helped define methods to
create beautiful buildings that impact our surroundings in a less harmful
way, has also undergone numerous changes. These changes, along with the
massive scope of the system, have left many confused as to what actually
earns LEED credits. And, as decorative glass is in a class of its own
in terms of product, many wonder if it would even qualify for credits.
To make sense of it all, the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA)
Decorative Division has just released the new GANA Decorative Glass LEED®
The GANA LEED paper is now fully approved and available free of charge
on the GANA website at www.glasswebsite.com/techcenter.
The paper helps eliminate confusion by describing some of the ways in
which decorative glass is consistent with and furthers the intent of the
LEED system. It gives information on specific credits, as well as some
potential strategies and applications where decorative glass can be used
to help achieve LEED credits.
About two years of research, writing, rewriting and approval have gone
into this document. The question now becomes “what exactly does this mean
for all of us involved in decorative glass and how can we best use this
information for the benefit of the whole industry?”
The purpose of the GANA Decorative Division LEED document has always been
to demonstrate how the use of decorative glass supports sustainable building
practices (in other words, decorative glass = green). Now that the paper
is approved and available for distribution, we can use the document as
a tool to educate decision makers about the value and versatility of decorative
glass. Some of the things to consider as next steps may include a plan
for marketing and communicating the information, updating the paper to
ensure it stays current and encouraging other GANA divisions to develop
similar information for their segments of the industry.
Marketing: The first step in encouraging people to use this information
is to make sure they know it exists. A marketing and communications plan
will be created to get the information out to architectural and design
firms, spec writers, contractors and others that are working with LEED-registered
projects. Members of the GANA Decorative Division also are a source for
communicating the information through links on their company websites.
Communication through other associations, including AIA, CSI, USGBC and
CaGBC, should be considered.
Updates: The paper is written to the new LEED-NC
Version 3 Rating System (2009) with variations for Commercial Interiors,
as well as the Canada Green Building Council’s Rating Systems. The Decorative
Division’s LEED task group is responsible for further updates to the paper
as new versions of the rating systems are released.
Other Divisions: Now that the Decorative Division
has completed its paper, other divisions within GANA have begun developing
similar information to demonstrate how their products support and further
the intent of LEED. This will allow our association to provide a comprehensive
package of information to those with an interest in green building. The
use of glass in construction can be an important component of sustainable
design. The more complete and credible technical information we provide,
the more influence we can have in ensuring that the use of glass in its
many forms is considered as a preferred building material in LEED projects.
Although the LEED program has experienced some criticism, it remains the
system within which we all work. Tools such as this paper will help us
to educate architects, designers and others about the sustainable properties
of decorative glass. It also gives us the opportunity to influence material
choice and even promote the innovative use of glass in construction. As
members of this industry, we can choose whether or not to take advantage
of these opportunities, but one thing is certain: the end result will
be directly proportional to the effort we put in.
Download the document today and join us in spreading the word about decorative
Cathie Saroka is the membership
and website committee chair of the GANA Decorative Division. Ms. Saroka’s
opinions are solely her own and not necessarily those of this magazine.
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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.