• With your permission, may I be a little bit less serious today than normal? But first, let’s get to the serious.

    October 2014 hits the five-year mark for this blog, making this close to the 100th blog post. It’s been fun, and I’m looking forward to it continuing. It’s a kick to have people say they enjoy reading the posts. The most meaningful of these remarks came from a collaborator on the GANA Sealant manual a couple of years ago. She said she could hear my voice coming through the blog. I guess that’s what happens when you spend too much time in meetings with your peers – they get to know you too well. In all honesty, sometimes the blog subject matter falls right in my lap. Sometimes someone says something that gets the brain matter churning. Other times, it takes a little bit more to find the right thing to say.

    Whatever the process, I’m grateful TGP lets me do this. Although I have a confession to make: I’m indebted to my trusty wordsmith for cleaning up my use of the King’s English. This blog wouldn’t be half as good as it is without your help. The fact that someone could hear my voice through it is as much a compliment to you as it is to me. Thank you.

    Now, to the less serious … After recently posting about the KnickerBloggers, our marketing group came up with a design at the behest of the sales force and created a T-shirt to commemorate the anniversary:

     

    Knickerblogger_formatMy wife Vicki says that’s not me modeling the shirt. We were obviously not on the same page. It wasn’t until we printed a blowup of the shirt that we both realized I was talking about the caricature on the front; she thought I was talking about who was modeling the shirt. For five minutes or so, we were both right, not knowing the other was talking about something else. Hopefully she’ll like the one I got her for Christmas. She’s a wordsmith, too, but maybe something nicer might be more appropriate. For both of them, I’m guessing…

    Granted, no one’s standing around out in front of the TGP signage with this shirt like they did on a Friday last February wearing a certain football team’s regalia before a certain football game, showing their 12th man-ness. I appreciate the sentiment nonetheless.

    On a different topic, with apologies to Mr. Paul Bieber, forget the “Mazing Mets” of 1969. How ‘bout them Remarkable Royals? It’s enough to make you become a fan of the game again. By the time you read this, the first two games of the World Series will be in the book. Blue Flu in these parts has taken over. The KC Chiefs had a bye last week in the middle of all this, and it’s like they don’t even exist anymore – no one cares about football in this town right now. I guess they’re another victim of, “That’s what speed do!”

    It’s the first time I’ve been in town when the home team’s made the championship, and I’m sure enjoying it. We left Milwaukee, and the Brewers went to the ’82 WS. We moved from Dallas and the Cowboys won three Super Bowls. We moved from Dallas (again) and the Mavs won the NBA crown and the Rangers made the World Series. We left Wausau, and the Packers went to two Super Bowls. So naturally, when we left Seattle in August of 2012, look at what happened a year-and-a-half later? For the record, when we left Minneapolis in ’97 and Kansas City in ’02, nothing happened. So, it’s not like we’re always a good luck charm when we move out of town.

    If St. Louis had made the Series, the Royals weren’t going to need to bring Don Deckinger out of retirement. At least not the way they’ve been playing (P.S. Don’t ask a Cards fan about the reference; look Deckinger up in Wikipedia)! A co-worker from St. Louis had an 8 ½” x 11” picture of this moment prominently displayed in his office cubicle when we worked together in Kansas City.

    Baseball talk aside, I’d like to thank you, the reader, for being a KnickerBlogger. I’m always open to topic suggestions, and I always appreciate your feedback.

  • Today’s post picks up where the one from last week left off, with more of the high points covered at the GANA Fall Conference held in Toronto September 23-25.

    Handrails, obviously, are still getting a lot of attention. Being in Toronto, where so much of the news about guardrails is emanating, it seemed only natural to hear how the Canadians are addressing the issue. CSA’s Dwayne Torry, talked about the A500 standard, which is being developed with cross-representation of regulators, suppliers, architects and users (not sure what that means: installers? building owners?). They’re looking to develop a standard to serve as “a consistent baseline for design.” The plan now is for spring 2015 publication. Like the AAMA/WDMA/CSA standards for doors and windows, it might be beneficial for those of us on this side of the border to pay attention.

    Also, testing of handrails was discussed, both in the pre- and post-construction phases. Most exterior guardrails use the exterior cladding wind load, either from wind tunnel testing or by code, to determine the design load for the handrails. Further research is required to determine if that’s realistic, but no one has stepped up to do that, yet. Likewise, there is now additional attention being paid to more stringent post-installation maintenance requirements – everything from checking glass fittings to checking the connection of the guard rails to the structure, etc. If you install handrails, this is certainly worthy of consideration.

    Not a lot is being talked about the causes of the handrail glass breakage, due in large part to the on-going “who’s to blame” game being played on many projects. It’s not only nickel sulfide, but other causes, such as improper installation (e.g., grommets not installed around bolts passing through the glass, posts not installed vertical or in plane with the glass, etc.). The root causes may not be known for years.

    Associated with the handrail discussion were some of the items covered in the GANA Laminating Division meetings. There was some talk about the edges of laminated glass in handrails, and whether they should be finished, pre- or post-laminating. If the architect uses tempered glass, a finished, polished edge is often specified. But, laminated glass complicates that, as most laminators will polish the edges before laminating, and getting the lites in the laminating sandwich to match up is difficult, plus the laminating layer oozes out from between the lites. One possible alternative would be to polish the glass after lamination, but apparently that’s not easily accepted given the budget and schedule constraints of most projects.

    One thing I learned about that I didn’t know before: using a cementitious material to set laminated glass into sill shoe isn’t such a good idea. The cement-based material can damage the laminating layer. I know for the next project where this comes up, a discussion will be warranted between suppliers and glass fabricators.

    The use of laminated glass in doors, and the effects of clamping hardware and/or patch fittings is still being researched, they’re looking for a door manufacturer to lead the testing.

    One issue that’s starting to surface, and it’s really early on, so no immediate cause for alarm, is whether ceramic frit on spandrel glass is causing the glass to loose strength. There’s no data on this, yet, either. What follows is strictly my take on this, not a lot of consensus, and therefore no conclusions were reached. On one hand, some manufacturers talked about applying frits to glass before the glass was heat-strengthened, in which case they report there’s no loss of strength if the glass gets the proper treatment. But, other manufacturers may be applying the frits as a secondary operation after heat treating, and the re-heating may weaken the glass.

    What’s confusing this was two of the leading fabricators are on opposite sides of the question. One insisted that there is no evidence that ceramic frits were causing breakage due to wind loading, that ASTM E1300 still worked with no drop in performance for heat-treated, fritted glass. Another said there was. So, we’ll have to wait and see where this goes.

    A lot covered. A lot to do. Many of the industry manufacturers are well represented at GANA. We’ll look to cover some of this at BEC in the Technical Committee, especially if it rises to the level that the glazing contractors will start being asked about it going forward.

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  • For those of you who couldn’t make it to the GANA Fall Conference, held September 23–25 in Toronto, following are some takeaways, with more to come in next week’s blog.

    Vicente Montes-Amores of CDC made a presentation about solar radiation that was thought-provoking. He noted that we not only need to consider how much solar energy passes through glass, we should also be mindful of what becomes of the reflected energy. Vicente also mentioned that North Carolina’s rule outlawing low-E glass in residential applications has been overturned, for now.

    The GANA Energy Division talked about developing a Glass Information Bulletin (GIB) on how to mitigate the effects of reflectivity, but many people expressed concern about unintentionally implying that reflectivity is a problem, thus opening up the GIB to being more of a reaction vs. action-type message. A video put out by the vinyl siding folks, regarding vinyl melting due to solar reflectivity, clearly laid the problem at the foot of the Low-E glass currently used in new home construction.

    Exxon’s headquarters in Houston, built in the 1960s, may give a great clue for stopping reflected light off a building. If you don’t allow the sunlight to reach the glass, there’s no need to worry about reflectivity. The building’s architect designed sunshades that are approximately 6-foot-wide that protrude from the building at every floor. The sun only reaches the glass early or late in the day, when the energy isn’t as intense. The glass isn’t filmed or insulated—it’s just plain, old quarter-inch clear. But, Exxon hasn’t seen fit to upgrade it, as far as I know. Such indigenous architecture can be instructive on how people dealt with local climate challenges long before mechanical systems and glass wall systems came on line.

    Other innovative designs might be out there, but if the courts ever determine that a new building owes an obligation to not increase the thermal load of their neighbor’s building, the architecture of buildings will have to respond. For example, if a building gets built with all the innovation on the energy front, but a new building that gets built next door causes changes in the original building’s energy performance, due to shading or reflectivity or 100s of other reasons, how is that going to settle out, and what impact will that have on future design and building?

    The GANA Insulating Division is working on a hot-bent glass GIB in which the glass is heated and formed to a specific radius. Once that is developed and published, the group is going to turn its attention to cold-bent insulating glass. Also on track is a GIB for gas-filled IGUs. When asked about whether the gas-filled units lose any gas over the lifetime of the glass, the answer was non-committal: “There’s no empirical data on that at this time.” This is in a sense like testing fading on finishes, in which you put the glass through an aging process or leave it in the sun to see if the values drop over the years. Isn’t someone working on that for IGUs? To the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing out there that says it’s any less of a problem than it was when gas-filled units first came on line.

    Also, a working group was formed to look at butt-glazing insulated glass without a supporting member behind it, much like the practice using monolithic glass and having just a sealant joint between. Point supported insulating glass can do this, so it shouldn’t be much of a reach to allow this in non-point supported applications.

    Just about the time you think the world is a really big place, something happens that smacks down that theory, right quick. It’s pretty surprising what you find out when you talk about something other than glass at any of these types of conventions. Rick Wright has been heavily involved in GANA for much longer than I’ve been, but it wasn’t until I sat next to him last week that I found out he and I went to the same high school within a few years of each other. Rick, Ed McCoy said to say hi!

    On a closing note: Vicente Montes is a real up-and-comer, I expect he’ll be making an impact on the glazing profession for quite some time.

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