• On a VERY personal note, I hope you’ll forgive an indulgence…

    On August 22, Vicki will have been putting up with my shenanigans for exactly 40 years. So, I had to go out and buy her a new house, and romantic devil that I am, we’re likely moving into it on that date – or unpacking or whatever else goes on. And, she’s OK with that, believe it or not. To see Vicki move, we don’t stay packed very long. She hangs pictures the first night! So in the lead up to everything that goes on with a move, this is a very short blog today.

    For any of you that know me (or her), you realize that her putting 40 year in qualifies her for sainthood, right? As for me, I hope the Good Lord lets me ride in on her coattails. Besides her being a mom and nanny, I wake up most days just amazed she’s hung in there this long. I am most fortunate. Call it lucky or blessed, or whatever, maybe all of the above.

    Here’s to another 40, darling, and as grandpop used to say, “Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”  Thank you for your love, patience and above all, a heck of a great time. And I have loved every minute of it.

    Tags: ,

  • For it being the dead of summer, it sure has gotten busy. From leaking skylights to laminated glass, a couple of news items caught my interest recently.

    With all the rain we had this spring up and down the Midwest and other parts of the country, many folks in the industry have been called about leaking walls, windows and skylights. Yikes!

    This situation reminds me of an owner who thought he didn’t need to remediate a 40-year old wall because it didn’t leak. The gaskets were rotting out, had pulled out of the corners, and so were generally in need of replacement. But, since it had been a dry spring and summer, he leapt to the conclusion that the wall was in great shape – until it started to rain, which it inevitably did, and began to ruin some of the interior finishes already installed during his remodel. He changed that tune pretty quickly, then had to hustle to catch up the remediation of the leaks.

    I recently participated in an ASTM working group about construction air tightness in areas other than curtainwall and windows. Our friends north of the border and in the UK are doing this already on a full-building basis. The timing of testing, near the completion of the building, leaves some lingering questions, most notably how to fix the hard to reach wall areas when the building is almost finished.  Stay tuned, this is something that the building commissioning folks will be looking for when it gets to field testing. Granted, it’s not directly related to windows and curtainwalls, but can you imagine the blowers and testing to determine the air tightness of the WHOLE building? Picture blowers the size of semi-trailers.

    Having our Navy son transferred to Kansas earlier this spring made his mom happy, as you can imagine. No, he is not stationed on any ships calling Kansas City their home port, as we’re a little too far upriver on the Missouri for that to happen. He’s pulled a recruiting billet here for the next couple of years. After the recruiting center shootings in Chattanooga happened, I’m paying a little more attention to the news – you do that, don’t you, when someone you know might be involved, whether it’s tornados, hurricanes, other natural disasters, or man-made tragedies? All of a sudden, talk not about bringing your work home, but having it come home nonetheless. I sent him to work with some facility suggestions for his superiors. I hope they’ll listen.

    I’ve seen that companies are actively marketing bullet-resistance glazing to schools, but what about other facilities? Getting strip mall owners (where most armed forces recruiting stations are located) to upgrade the glass walls might be a bit of a reach. For very selfish reasons, it’s OK by me if the Navy spends some of my tax dollars upgrading them on their own.

    Last year, after Julia Schimmelpenningh’s presentation at the GANA Annual Conference about lami glass offering a quick / simple solution for upgrading school or other building entrances, please call your school district’s facilities management staff and offer them your services gratis. One of the news feeds mentioned that any kind of protection need offer only a four- to six-minute delay to an intruder, the time it takes first responders to get on site.  Laminated glass can help do that. If you have kids or grandkids, just do it.

    And now in the heat of summer, another story about a “death ray” building. It looks like they’re fixing that problem on the so-called “walkie-talkie” skyscraper in London by putting screens over the glass (see the third photo from the top). But, now the concern is about people being blown over by high winds.  Anyone who’s walked the streets of downtown New York or Chicago knows of this phenomenon all too well.  For those of you that live and work in DC, with its maximum height restrictions, do you see much of that?  Maybe the canyon effect in a city with a lot of tall buildings, might be something to that.

    Keep your chin and nose up, there’s a heck of a lot going on in these dog days of summer.

    Tags: , , , , ,

  • Field Notes 16.07.2015 4 Comments

    Over the past couple of weeks, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) has been in the news again. Some of the people intimately involved in the organization have left, and the July 14 piece on USGNN that NFRC is seeking more industry input is welcome. Surprised by that announcement? I am, too; here’s why.

    Because of the glazing industry’s inattention to thermal specification requirements, we’ve left the door wide open for people to ask how glass manufacturers, frame suppliers and glazing subcontractors are meeting thermal performance.  Most of us were complacent, including me at one time, believing it was enough to meet the center of the glass U-value, and never did anything more to ensure the frame contributed to higher performing walls. The architects and consultants never called us on the wall’s actual U-value, but that started to change with all the attention thermal performance has gotten in the last 10 years.

    Given some obvious holes in the Component Modeling Approach (CMA) process, such as: 1) thermal insulation not being considered in the wall’s U-Values; 2) only vision areas considered for certification; and 3) other materials, such as metal panels, stone, or other glazing substrates aren’t figured in how the NFRC calculates thermal performance, there’s a way to go yet. The foundation is there in the glass, frame, and spacer databases already established. But, before the CMA can be considered universally applicable to glazing, some of these larger holes have to be plugged, or the timetable to plug them has to be increased.

    Some of that stopped when NFRC came on the scene, and we’ve all had to buckle down and dot the thermal performance i’s by ensuring the products actually perform as modeled. None of us should back away from where we’ve come in the last 10 years in this respect. Let’s keep that going. And, I think NFRC can play a role in that.

    What was surprising in the July 14 story was that NFRC “will be reaching out to collaborate” with a range of glazing industry groups.  That’s certainly welcome.  But when did all these trade organizations become their “partners?”

    Because that certainly wasn’t the case when Greg Carney, Tom Culp, and others were trying to reach out to them when the CMA was first being developed. NFRC tried to set up CMA based on their past experience with residential windows, yet the two industries aren’t related, nor should their certification processes be. The biggest difference is commercial glazing doesn’t generally mass-produce thousands of similar windows or curtainwalls year in and year out. On this side of the fence, every job is different. I don’t know first-hand what NFRC thought about the commercial glazing industry back then, but there was certainly a lot of negative reaction, some of which tainted my perspective.

    So if NFRC is now ready, willing, and able to sit down at the table and be one of many players equal in stature in developing an industry-wide, common sense approach that contributes to building an authentic consensus program, then where do I sign up?

    The idea here is to come up with an easily understood and user-friendly program that will draw people to it, that will result in every project in the land using its benefits. Because, when it provides more benefits than it costs, it’ll be a runaway hit.

    The challenge for NFRC will be to be open to adapting the program, and maybe going back and including some of the things the industry requested initially. It’s equally obvious that the numerous recent staff changes aren’t because the program’s been an overwhelming success, and that re-tooling it is necessary. So I ask, “What can we in the industry do to help ensure it succeeds this next go-round?”

    Make no mistake, unless we get back the confidence of ASHRAE, the architects and building owners, we might be on our own in figuring out thermal performance. The CMA has an opportunity to make that simpler, and I hope it succeeds, and am willing to help where I can.

    GANA, NFRC, AAMA and IGMA: all of you have a say in this, so I hope you’ll contribute. And glazing subs, who are the real end users, please jump in, too. You bear the brunt implementing whatever program is developed, you ought to have a say in what that looks like.

    Tags: , , , ,

USGlass Magazine

USGlass Magazine