Volume 47, Issue 4 - April 2012

feature


East and West
Two Different GANA Conferences Offer Industry a Chance to Network and Learn
by Penny Stacey


The Glass Association of North America (GANA) has had a busy 2012 so far, hosting both its annual conference in Sarasota, Fla., this February, followed by its annual Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference in Las Vegas in March.

The conferences were split apart for the first time this year, having previously been a part of the annual Glass Week event. Even from separate ends of the United States, each offered attendees a chance to learn, work and network.

Collins Offers Industry Outlook
The five-day annual conference closed with a presentation by Michael Collins, managing director of Jordan, Knauff & Co. (and a columnist for USGlass magazine’s sister publication, DWM), during which he offered some predictions for both the commercial and residential glass industry.

He offered a few general positives, such as that commercial property prices are rising and U.S. office construction “appears to have found a bottom.”

“We’re looking for increases in some of those segments,” said Collins.

Overall, Collins predicted a rise in the future. “In total nonresidential construction, we’re looking for an increase this year,” he said.

Hospitals also are expected to be up next year in construction. “Hospitals do use a ton of glass,” he said.

When it comes to fenestration imports, Collins said these saw a drop from 2009 to 2010. “The door people are getting hammered, but windows less so,” he said of the comparison between the amount of doors and windows being imported.

“Typically [China manufacturers] stay away from commercial entry doors because they want to have to deal with the codes and such,” Collins said.

With the import of glass, specifically, Collins said China imports currently make up 42.2 percent of the U.S. glass imports at approximately $209 million; Mexico, 11.4 percent at $56 million; Canada, 11.4 percent at $56 million; and the rest 25.6 percent at $126 million.

Dynamic Duo
The GANA Conference kicked off with a special energy division session featuring Timothy Snow and Robert Tenent of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., who spoke about the requirements and potential for windows and concentrating solar power. Specifically, Tenent discussed his work on the “Dynamic Windows Research Program.”

Tenent explained that while electrochromic windows are the most-often-discussed type of dynamic glazing, there are other types, including photochromic and thermochromic. Much of Tenent’s own research focuses on cost analysis.

“We’d love to put [the necessary items for dynamic glazing] into a float glass line—in fact, that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Tenent. “ ... If we can make the chemistry work, the price point will be there.”

There may be other potential as well, according to Tenent. “We hope there are multiple paths to get to a lower price point,” said Tenent.

NREL officials also hope to get industry representatives further involved in their work. “I’m really interested in working with industry,” said Tenent. “I’m not interested in going out on my own on this.”

"The objective here is to take a new look at how we use mirror. Daylighting can be a pretty complex issue".
—Marc Deschamps, Walker Glass

Solar Sells
Patrick Sargent, president of the Corona Solar Group, followed with a look at the growing solar industry. “There are a lot of new things going on in the photovoltaics industry, and a lot of things that could be going on that are not going on,” said Sargent.

Sargent said currently the Italian and German markets make up 57 percent of the entire solar market, though the United States has great potential. “Everywhere in the United States is better for the solar market,” he said. “North America does not have a national energy policy to speak of—they’re letting the states control it here.”

Meetings and More
In addition to these sessions, many GANA divisions and groups held meetings throughout the week.

The Energy Division received a code update from code consultant Tom Culp of Birchpoint Consulting, who posed a general question to the group and encouraged members to look toward the future. “Where do we want to go from here?” he asked. “Are we willing to go to triple glazing as a requirement in the energy code? It’s more glass, but it’s also more expensive.

“These are the kinds of questions we’re going to need to answer in the coming months,” he said.

Rob Joyce of Guardian Industries also provided an update on the Energy Division’s Governmental and Regulatory Affairs subcommittee. The group intends to begin providing quarterly public policy updates, and is proposing that the division organize a Washington, D.C., fly-in. “The objective is to broadly educate Congress members on our issues,” he said.

Helen Sanders of Sage Electrochromics provided an update on the Life Cycle Analysis Task Group. “Most of the activity in this group has been focused on product category rules,” she said.

"The companies that are doing anything with recycling decorative glass maybe aren’t releasing a lot of information about it out there yet."
—Mandy Marxen,
Gardner Glass Products

The group currently is working on developing these rules in conjunction with the Department of Energy, through NREL. We’re getting close to having a draft of the rules [complete],” she said.

Daylighting Today
Mark Deschamps of Walker Glass made a presentation about the utilization of mirrors to enhance daylighting options. The session was held as part of the Mirror Technical Division’s meeting.

“The objective here is to take a new look at how we use mirror,” said Deschamps. “Daylighting can be a pretty complex issue."

Deschamps suggested that through detailed planning, mirror can be used in a variety of ways to enhance a building’s daylighting.

“Not only do you want to capture light with mirrors, but you also want to use mirrors to bring light deeper into a space,” said Deschamps. “Of course when you do that, you minimize the need for artificial light.”

Mirrors also can be placed at various angles to adjust daylighting. “Play with the angles and reflect sunlight around the space,” said Deschamps.

Though mirror often is commonly found in residential planning, Deschamps encouraged attendees to look at the commercial market as well. “We tend to think of mirrors as a residential concept, but we need to be thinking about using mirror in commercial and industrial applications as well.”

Triple Glazing Front and Center
The rise in triple glazing was a popular topic during a meeting of the Insulating Glass Division at the Glass Association of North America’s annual conference. Chuck Anderson of Guardian Industries provided a presentation on the topic.

“There are a lot of things pushing the industry into the utilization of triples,” said Anderson. Among these, he pointed to Energy Star as one driving factor. “Energy Star’s not a code, but it might as well be,” he said.

Though Energy Star is most prevalent in the residential replacement window market, Anderson said, it could grow on the commercial side as well.

“From the commercial side the [Environmental Protection Agency] would like to have more buildings certified by Energy Star,” Anderson said.

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) also plays a role. “If we look at the IECC, we can see that the numbers are getting tighter,” he said.

Currently, Anderson said research is limited into the prevalence of triple glazing, and how much this technology is actually being used in the market. “Trying to find out what’s going on in the triple market is very, very difficult,” he said.

On the commercial side, “The triple market is very small ... but people are making inquiries about this,” he added.

Triple glazing presents several challenges, such as load resistance ratings. “Until recently, there wasn’t anything out there to help you evaluate load resistance for triples,” Anderson said.

Cerium Oxide Research Continues
The Mirror Division Technical Committee’s meeting included a discussion about cerium oxide and the fact that the shortage has lessened somewhat (see related story in February USGlass, page 34). The division formed a task group to look at the issue approximately a year ago, according to Jim Ventre of Gardner Glass Products in Acworth, Ga., the chairperson of the group. “[When the group was formed,] we couldn’t get any [cerium oxide] really,” he said. “In the meantime, the supply chain has eased up—and today there doesn’t seem to be an issue getting cerium oxide. Pricing remains high.”

Sylvain Denis of Walker Glass, chair of the Mirror Division Technical Committee, asked the group if the task group should be disbanded. After some discussion, the group decided to continue the work of the task group in an effort to watch the issue. “I’ve learned that there are alternatives, but none of them are as good as cerium oxide,” said Ventre. “It’s things like this that are important to be aware of.”

The group did change its scope, however, to address the changing market. “I think the objective really is information and the development of alternatives and keeping the group informed,” said Ventre.

“What we’re hoping for in the real world is something that pops up and takes its place,” added Ventre.

Glass Recycling Options
The Decorative Division Recyclability Task Group is getting close to drafting a Glass Informational Bulletin (GIB) about decorative glass, according to task group chair Danik Dancause of Walker Glass.

“We’re not quite ready to start writing a GIB, but I think we’re a lot closer,” he said. Meeting participants held a lengthy discussion on the variety of glass recycling options that could be available for architectural glass, but agreed in some cases information is scarce in this area.

“The companies that are doing anything with recycling decorative glass maybe aren’t releasing a lot of information about it out there yet,” suggested Mandy Marxen of Gardner Glass Products.

Town Hall
Attendees also participated in a GANA membership meeting on the final day of the conference, along with a town hall-style meeting. During the membership meeting, GANA executive vice president Bill Yanek provided a presentation about his 7-month deployment to Africa, from which he returned home in early February.

Technical director Urmilla Sowell provided an update as well, reporting that the group published approximately nine Glass Information Bulletins (GIBs) last year. “We also saw more than 100,000 downloads of GIBs, and thanks to you guys we were able to put these out there,” she reported.

Creating Smart Buildings
GANA’s BEC Conference followed the GANA Conference just less than a month later in Las Vegas. Keynote speaker Ted Hathaway, CEO of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, opened the conference with an informative look at creating smart building envelopes. “It’s time to look at the impact of the buildings we create on the environment,” said Hathaway.

“Building envelopes can no longer be passive or stupid,” he added.

He encouraged the use of collaboration and technology to reach smart building goals, and profiled several projects in which he has seen these play a major role.

“Our industry is at the forefront of technology and we have to be able to share that knowledge with architects and designers,” he said.

Hathaway also suggested that focusing on the environment also can be popular among owners and companies that eventually inhabit the buildings on which the industry works.

“Companies today want to locate in buildings that are environmentally friendly and sustainable,” he said.

The Cornellier Challenge
Victor Cornellier, president of TSI/Exterior Wall Systems in Upper Marlboro, Md., followed Hathaway with a warning to attendees to heed recent events, such as the closing and subsequent Chapter 11 filing of Trainor Glass.

“You can say, ‘well, that’s one more competitor I don’t have to worry about,’” said Cornellier. “If you’ve used that phrase, it’s wrong ... We’re one of the highest risk industries in the trade nationwide.”

Cornellier appeared optimistic about what’s in the future, though. “2012, for everyone, is going to be a year of recovery,” he said. “Manufacturers are putting out more quotes, they’re closing more orders.”

As the recovery occurs, he suggested that business leaders look at their company mission statements and make a plan for the future. “What do you want to be? What do you want to become?” asked Cornellier. “If you think things are going to get better this year without having a mission, you’re going to become another statistic.”

He encouraged leaders of contract glazing businesses to take this a step further and review their corporate cultures, to create cultures that encourage success among all levels of employees. “There are profit centers at every level of an organization,” said Cornellier. “Make [employees] accountable, reward them, give them authority.”

Succession plans also are crucial. “As you get further along and get a little gray hair, you better be thinking about succession in every department you’ve got.”

Networking and having relationships with employees is key as well. “If you don’t have a network inside you’re company, you’re not going to succeed,” he said. “Have dialogue daily with your employees.”

Networking also can occur with building owners—and this is important to success, suggested Cornellier. “The owner is the most powerful relationship—the true customer,” he said. “You don’t need to go around the architect or general contractor, but you need to make a relationship with that owner.”

Four Perspectives—One Goal
An informative and popular panel during the BEC Conference brought together owner David Bellman, senior vice president of Avalonbay Communities Inc.; general contractor John Kane, executive vice president of HITT Contracting Inc.; architect Keith
Boswell, technical director for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; and contract glazier Courtney Little, president of ACE Glass Construction Corp.

Bellman said he aims to involve manufacturers and glazing contractors early in the process. “No one knows better than you what a [curtain]wall is worth,” said Bellman.

Boswell echoed Bellman. “Design development is a key phase of the job,” he said. Kane spoke from the perspective of a general contractor and explained the importance of communication among general contractors and glazing contractors, even when a problem arises. “Nothing ages more poorly than bad news,” he said. “The sooner [we] know [about a problem], the better we can all work together to mitigate the impact on the job.”

Little advised attendees he was happy to hear what some of the others on the panel had to say about working with glazing contractors early in the process. “I think partnering earlier and better helps the whole process,” he said.

He also expressed empathy for what architects and designers have to keep up with on each job. “They have thousands and thousands of things they have to deal with,” he said. “They’re just trying to build a building and we’re here to help them.”

Looking for More?
Scan the Microsoft Tag at the right with your mobile phone to view all of our videos from both the Glass Association of North America’s Annual Conference and the annual Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference.

 

 

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