Volume 45, Issue 3 - March 2010

Issue@Hand

Time to Act



An important issue came up just as we were going to press and I don’t have a lot of space (and you don’t have a lot of time), so please excuse my bluntness and lack of finely-honed writing (I know, some of you will say “why should this month be any different?”) but here goes.

It will be no surprise to anyone who works in the contract glazing industry that there are almost no projects out there on which to bid. I can’t find any companies’ building backlog; most are just eating through it. The stimulus plan, which was supposed to help the construction trades, has done a good job for highway and bridge contractors, but little for the commercial construction industry. The Homestar program, which was supposed to help the construction industry, has helped door and window manufacturers and other residential-based suppliers, but has done little for the commercial construction industry. And yes, there’s supposed to be more money coming for healthcare and school construction, but those projects aren’t even being drawn yet, let alone gone out for bid.

We could be facing a situation in which great companies have projects on the books for 2011 and 2012 but little confidence that they are going to be around to produce them.

Evidently our elected officials have been hearing much of this because the Building Star Energy Efficiency Rebate Act of 2010 has been introduced in Congress. The good news is that it is designed to provide rebates to commercial building owners that make their buildings more energy-efficient. The bill would cover about 30 percent of the cost of installing energy-efficient products and/or related services in commercial and multifamily residential buildings this year. The Associated General Contractors of America estimate that the $6 billion in funding for the Building Star program would bring $18-$24 billion in total spending. The program is designed to work quickly and includes simplified application procedures for building owners.

The bad news is that the bill crafters really don’t understand how glass is installed in commercial buildings. As currently written the bill references only “windows” and does not include storefronts or curtainwall. The Glass Association of North America (GANA) has been spearheading proposed corrections to the bill. It estimates that, as now written, the bill will exclude as much as 70 percent of the total glazing area in existing commercial buildings. Further it addresses only whole assembly replacement, as opposed to the most common methods of commercial glazing including retrofits.

Please visit http://www.usgnn.com/newsGANA20100312.htm for more information about the bill. If corrected, it has the potential to advance energy-efficient buildings and help provide stimulus for the commercial glass industry. And, if you are so inclined, please make sure the position paper produced jointly by GANA, AAMA, AEC and NGA (www.usgnn.com/documents/newsGANA20100312.pdf) gets to the your elected officials quickly. With some education, this bill could be a great law. Without it, it could be an opportunity lost.


-Deb

 


USG
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