News Analysis: Fall Conference

Fall Conference Combines Education and Networking in the Glass City

By Ellen Rogers

When it comes to glass industry meeting spots, Toledo, Ohio, is the perfect fit. Known as the “Glass City,” this area of northwest Ohio was once home to more than 70 glass manufacturers. Companies included the Edward Ford Plate Glass Co., which acquired Libbey-Owens Glass in the 1930s. Those companies eventually became NSG Pilkington, which still operates in the Rossford, Ohio, glass plant.

A tour of that facility was part of this year’s Fall Conference, which took place in Toledo, August 13-15. Originally organized by the Glass Association of North America (GANA), and now a part of the National Glass Association (NGA), the Fall Conference featured technical and educational sessions, as well as a number of networking activities.

LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS

The sessions opened with the Forming Committee Meeting (formerly the GANA flat glass division). Among this group’s discussions was an update on CA AB 262. This California legislation requires contractors bidding on state infrastructure and construction projects to disclose the global warming potential for certain products, including flat glass. The California Department of General Services (DGS) had to set a global warming potential number and that number comes from the flat glass (or other building material) Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). One challenge for the glass industry, has been the concern that an industry-wide EPD for flat glass currently doesn’t exist. Last August, the association issued comments to the DGS outlining its issues and concerns, explaining that facility-specific EPDs should be considered. The DGS responded that “individual facility compliance cannot be verified through submission of a multi-facility or industry-wide EPD …” Urmilla Sowell, NGA technical director, reported that the DGS “made note
that AB 262’s requirement for facility-specific EPDs could result in excluding products from California’s marketplace and will further investigate the issue …”

In April of this year the Forming Committee met with employees of DGS along with their general counsel for a question and answer discussion addressing facility-specific EPDs as well as industry concerns.

According to the DGS timeline, California will begin requiring EPDs in January 2020.

CODES UPDATE

During the Advocacy Committee meeting, code consultant Tom Culp provided an update about a number of energy codes, including ASHRAE 90.1, which will be published in October. One of the focuses in the new version will be a continued expansion of daylighting.

There were a number of areas still in the works that did not make it into this version, including envelope trade-off limits or backstops.

He explained that when using the performance path to do trade-offs, the proposed envelope backstops mean:

• It must show compliance of overall building energy performance. This includes everything: the envelope, HVAC, lighting, hot water, etc.; and
• Proposed envelope performance must be no more than X% worse than the prescriptive envelope.

As far as window area, he said there have been no direct attacks on window-to-wall ratio (WWR) in recent code cycles, but there is a growing indirect pressure. Backstops, he said, restrict the types of trade-offs that can be used. Culp added that with or without backstops the industry must continue to promote high-performance glazing and framing as the solution.

For the ASHRAE 90.1 proposal, the industry had proposed that envelope performance factors may not exceed the baseline envelope by more than 15% in multifamily, hotel/motel and dorm applications and 7% in all other buildings. This provides flexibility in a number of ways. He said limits were established by modeling to allow about a 70% WWR with prescriptively compliant windows. He added that a 90% WWR with good orientation, shading and/or better windows could be a possibility.

Culp said that for high-performance systems, backstops are a plus, but for glazing “we are between a rock and a hard place.” He said the industry would prefer no envelope backstops that impact glazing area, but if something is going to be done, it’s better than other alternatives or what individual locations may do.

OLD GUARD REUNION

This year’s Fall Conference dinner was held in conjunction with the Old Guard Reunion, a separate and independent group of industry veterans who meet annually for an informal dinner, reminiscing and storytelling. Ren Bartoe, who recently retired from Vesuvius, was presented the Harry Miles Award, an honor last given by GANA in 2009 to Bob Maltby. Prior recipients were industry consultants Stan Joehlin (2005) and Bob Brown (2002).

NGA’s next meeting will be the Annual Conference, January 13-15, 2020 at the Hilton Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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