Glass TEXpo™ 2016 kicked off this morning with updates from industry experts, beginning with a construction forecast from USGlass publisher Debra Levy.
Levy laid out how things have changed since the Great Recession. “You can see how everything dive-bombed in 2008 and 2009 with the exception of public works and institutional building,” she said, explaining the government poured money into those sectors.
But things are changing, and the two-year dip has reversed itself over the last seven years.
Regarding U.S. commercial office buildings, Levy said, “We’re coming back. In 2016, we’re expected to be up by 17 percent.”
She also pointed out two strong sectors for the glazing industry.
“Texas is still doing very well on the educational front,” she said. “I think if I was coming into the glass business, based on this report, I would look at educational and healthcare building. Those sectors are growing tremendously.”
Two of the top ten projects last year were in the Houston area, she said—Methodist Hospital and Memorial Herman Hospital.
By the end of 2016, the overall construction industry is expected to be up by 6 percent.
New ANSI Z97.1 Standard Update
Julia Schimmelpenningh, global applications manager of Eastman Chemical Company, presented as the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) secretary of ANSI Z97.1, the code that affects safety glazing.
Work on the latest update began in 2009.
“These things do not go quickly,” Shimmelpenningh said. The full standard was revised in 2014 and published in 2015.
What has been changed since the 2009 version? One major difference is in the marking.
“As soon as this is adopted in any area, the mark on the glass will have to change,” she says. Instead of “ANSI Z97.1-2009,” it must now say “ANSI Z97.1-2015.”
The Safety Glazing Certification Council and the International Building Code have also adopted the new standard.
Additionally, heat-strengthened glass cannot be classified as safety glazing. Neither can wired glass, or chemically-enhanced glass, because it breaks as shards.
The new standard has many other updates and can be found by clicking here. The next will be rolled out in 2020.
Getting Leads from the Internet
Chuck Bankoff, digital marketing strategist for Kreative Webworks, then shared his expertise on getting sales leads online.
“When a decision is made to get something done, 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before buying, where you can get a pretty good impression of a company before contacting them,” he said.
To make the best initial impression, Bankoff stressed websites should be simple with lots of illustrative photos. This is especially essential for something like shower doors. “This is a very visual consumer-type product,” he said. “You’re not really selling shower doors—you’re selling full bathrooms.”
He suggested having photos of entire bathrooms, even if the shots don’t highlight the shower doors. That way, companies are selling the experience.
Bankoff then focused on companies’ contact page.
“When you have a fully-loaded contact page, it helps you in the search engine rankings,” he said. According to Bankoff, that means having your number, a contact form, address, map and icons that exhibit your achievements such as Angie’s List awards.
He wrapped up his presentation by running a contest in which two companies received $1,500 worth of marketing services. People who missed his presentation can see more at www.gotglass.info.
Kevin Haynes, account representative for Tubelite, joined the TEXpo seminars to share his expertise on U-factors, or the coefficient of heat transfer through glass.
“We’re talking about the glass and the frames when we’re talking about U-factors,” he said. “Codes are changing and requiring better U-factors.”
He started with product selection concerns. “You have to look at a balanced design,” he said. “People may not know about U-factors. We know what R-factors are, and U-factors are just a reciprocal of that.”
Haynes said several design features can affect U-factors.
A U-factor for a frame may be at .90, the center is .29 and the edge of the glass is .34. Those are put together to find the total U-factor.
He also said a bigger window may have a better U-factor because there’s more airspace in a larger glass.
“A designer may want to look at larger windows to get better thermal performance,” he said.
Lastly, he stressed that coatings added to laminated glass may improve glass’s solar heat gain coefficient, but that they do not improve center-of-glass or edge-of-glass U-factors. Gas fills affect the center of glass primarily, he said, but over time, Argon will dissipate at an estimated 1 percent per year.
The day’s sessions ended with USGlass magazine blogger Richard Voreis of Consulting Collaborative rounding out the seminars with a presentation on the future of the construction industry.
The show is open today until 7 p.m. and tomorrow from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Stay tuned to usgnn.com for more updates from Glass TEXpo 2016.