Always the Whipping Boy
Editor’s Note: I took a few months off
from writing this column and it’s good to be back. (Please visit my blog
at http://usglass.blogspot.com/ for a little more background on this experiment.)
Glass and the glass industry are the whipping boys of the construction
industry. When the energy gurus decide commercial buildings are using
too much power, what do they do? They sic the National Fenestration Rating
Council (NFRC) on us. Nevermind that economical building owners and managers
have been self-regulating this area for years and the NFRC’s intrusion
is not needed. Can you imagine a National Concrete Rating Council? Of
course not, but the concrete industry has done a pretty good job of standing
up for itself.
And who is coming up with new codes and regulations for the use of glass
in buildings? The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning
Engineers (ASHRAE) is. That’s right. According to its website, ASHRAE
advances the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning
and refrigeration to serve humanity. And what do those HVAC engineers
How do they work to decrease energy usage? You would think those engineers
would concentrate on what they know. Yet, if the past is prologue, ASHRAE
regulations such as 90.1 have made the glass industry carry a heavier
part of the energy conservation load than the HVAC industry.
And now we have the cap-and-trade discussion and a very disconcerting
proposal that will move even more of one of the last true manufacturing
industries in the United States offshore, even quicker and more forcefully.
Glass is blamed for everything. Just a few weeks ago we ran a story about
a new and innovative New York City glass-clad hotel on our daily e-news
service www.usgnn.com™. (You can view the story at www.usgnn.com with
a link under August 31.) The story, which also was covered on NBC?Nightly
News, talked about how the patrons at this particular hotel had taken
to doing those things that hotel couples sometimes do when alone together,
if you know what I?mean. The problem was they’d taken to doing said deeds
without the benefit of window coverings in a building overlooking a park
where children played. Never mind that the hotel seemingly encouraged
such behavior by inviting guests, through its website, to “release their
exhibitionist tendencies” during their stay. The outcry and national attention
prompted a change in attitude. And guess what got the blame??Yup, it was
all the fault of the glass. ?The hotel released a statement saying that,
after all, the facade is glass and that it “will remind guests of the
transparency of the guest room windows.”
From the banal to the important, our industry need not be a whipping boy
anymore. We need to take and keep control of our own destiny, and there
are efforts afoot to do that. But it takes everyone’s involvement to make
On page 28 of this issue you’ll find an excellent article by Ed
Zaucha, president of APG?International of New Jersey.?In it, Ed writes
about the pain and challenges of losing his friend and partner, along
with one of APG’s employees, suddenly in an air crash last year. It takes
immense courage to write a story such as this and to share it with an
industry, and we applaud Ed for doing so. He embodies the courage so many
in our industry have.
Let’s take that courage, along with all the other good qualities our industry
has, and lose our whipping boy status for good.
P.S. :?I’ll be down in Atlanta too, in booth #2902, so please stop by
and say hello. I’d love to have the chance to talk with you.
© Copyright 2009 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.