Codes and standards were big topics during the first day of the National Glass Association’s (NGA) Glass Conference, which opened on Feb. 6, 2024, at the Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, just outside of Charleston.

Energy Code Developments and Changes

To begin the three-day event, energy codes consultant Tom Culp provided an update on energy code developments and potential changes. He said the Consensus Committee approved the 2024 version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) last fall. The updates include marginal improvements in commercial and residential fenestration U-factors as well as credit for high-performance windows, increased daylight area, automated shading, photovoltaics and building integrated photovoltaics.

Culp explained there is also a push for decarbonization and electrification. This desire brings new provisions, including solar-ready and onsite and offsite renewable energy requirements. The push, however, did generate some appeals from the gas industry, mostly around electrification issues.

Culp added that the glass industry will continue to monitor and defend renewables as being in-scope. The 2024 IECC will be published after these are resolved.

Energy codes, schools and other code and standard discussions are some of the key topics on the agenda for the NGA’s Glass Conference underway this week.

ASHRAE 90.1-2025 Updates

Culp touched on updates to ASHRAE 90.1-2025, specifically centered around what did not happen at the most recent meeting: new fenestration requirements remain in progress. However, with current component costs and energy savings data, Culp expects only marginal U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient changes.

One update to watch, said Culp, is the one about opaque insulation requirements, as this will affect spandrel. He added that spandrel is currently treated “like a metal stud wall.” He says the hope is to complete proposals for this summer.

Colorado and Massachusetts Energy Codes

Culp likes what he sees out of Colorado’s and Massachusetts’ energy codes. Massachusetts, he said, has an aggressive stretch energy code that’s loosely based on passive house. This puts extremely aggressive requirements on curtainwall and window wall with a mandatory 0.25 U-factor and aggressive overall envelope requirements.

Culp is optimistic about what he sees and hears from the state so far.

“What I’m hearing is that vision area is not being reduced,” he said.

He added that projects opting for high-performance systems and products do not limit the use of glass. He said this is a good sign that the industry’s messaging about occupant health and wellbeing is being heard. Culp said Colorado now has a new law requiring residential windows, doors and skylights to meet Energy Star V7 starting in 2026. The state is treating this much like an appliance standard, meaning manufacturers cannot sell a product that’s not in compliance.

Colorado also has a new building performance standard to update existing buildings, including the windows. Culp likened the standard to a tool to get building owners to upgrade their buildings.

School Safety

Code consultant Thom Zaremba provided an update on efforts to create a school safety code within the International Building Code.

“It’s critically important to protect building occupants from active shooters,” he said.

Areas of importance include protecting school entrances and exterior wall openings. In particular, the proposal calls for main entrances to be constructed to provide those inside with a clear view of the outside so they can see vehicles and pedestrians approaching the building.

The proposal also calls for ground floors and doors in the exterior walls and glazing to be designed and tested per ASTM F3561-23.

The Charleston Glass Conference runs through Thursday, Feb. 8. Stay tuned to for more news and updates from the event.

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