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.
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