Energy & Environment

Mayors of Seven U.S. Cities Commit to Net Zero Building by 2030

In just 12 years a substantial number of buildings around the world could use net-zero energy. Nineteen mayors globally have committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that new buildings within their cities operate at net-zero carbon by 2030.

U.S. mayors from Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., Santa Monica, Calif., and Washington, D.C., all signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration. Ca-nadian mayors from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, British Columbia, also signed the declaration. It defines net-zero buildings as those that “use energy ultra-efficiently and are supplied by renewables.”

By signing the declaration, the mayors also pledge to ensure that all buildings in their cities, old or new, will meet net-zero carbon standards by 2050. The commitments are one step toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The mayors also pledge to work together with state and regional governments and the private sector to achieve the goals of the declaration.

With the demand for energy efficiency growing worldwide, the glass industry is assessing its place in the movement. Jim Gulnick, vice president and director of operations at fabricator McGrory Glass located outside Philadelphia, believes the glass industry needs to become more technologically focused.

“We need to understand and become more familiar with the technologies out there. We need to be aware of how materials impact the performance of insulating glass units,” says Gulnick. “We have to know how the chemistry of materials like ink and frit impact performance, and then relate that to the client.”

The company has been a proponent of energy efficiency. In 2012, McGrory Glass opened its net-zero plant in Paulsboro, N.J, using solar power.

“Knowing the energy use of a building in its entirety is important. We went above and beyond in reducing our own footprint for a facility that houses tempering, laminating, cutting, grinding and edging machines,” says Gulnick.

He adds that up until recent years, glass was mainly decorative with little energy efficiency.

“In the future, there will be more technology involved in the exterior of the building,” says Gulnick.

Joe Butler, director of sales, North America at Guardian Glass, says his company has been addressing the impact of energy codes and net-zero building for many years.

“…Guardian Glass understands that it’s critical to develop each new product and service with an eye toward helping architects and designers meet sustain-ability goals,” he says.

Another way the company focuses on energy efficiency is through its regional technical advisor (RTA) team.

“Our RTAs bring technical glass and building knowledge into a conversation that continues to get more complex as tougher energy codes and net-zero requirements come to bear,” says Butler. “Applied during the early project stage, building performance analysis tools such as energy, daylight and thermal comfort modeling as well as heat transfer analysis are all critical in helping the building team select the appropriate glass products. Having a person behind the technology, like an RTA, is critical to helping the building team achieve project success.”

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