Safety and Energy Codes Discussions Round Out 2020 Annual Conference

Fabricating committee discussions, along with codes and technical reports, wrapped up the National Glass Association’s Annual Conference, which took place January 13-16 in La Jolla, Calif. During the sessions, code consultants Tom Culp and Thom Zaremba updated the group on a number of recent code changes and updates, as well as future developments, among various other presentations.

School Security

Zaremba provided a school security update as part of the protective glazing segment of the meeting. He said there is some codes and standards activity taking place, but it’s moving slowly. While school shootings often get much of the attention, Zaremba explained that businesses are the number-one place active shootings occur. He said while the number of shootings continues to rise, the building code bodies working on these issues are confronting some problems. Specifically, is it possible to prescribe how buildings should be built in order to confront an active shooter?

“Every time you try to enhance security it’s more difficult for first responders to get in or occupants to get out,” said Zaremba.

The only real standard that currently exists is NFPA 3000, which is not related to building design, but rather how the building communicates with first responders to these situations. Zaremba said that ultimately, the International Code Council could decide it needs a separate code for active shooter situations, much as it did when developing the Wildland-Urban Interface Code in response to wildfires.

He also reported on Canada’s efforts to remove wired glass from its safety glazing standard, with a new one that will be modeled after ANSI Z97.1. The new edition will likely be finished by the end of 2020, but probably not published until 2021.

Energy Codes

As part of a codes update, Culp reported on a number of changes and developments in the energy codes. He said ASHRAE 90.1 was published in October without any reduction in window area (see related article on page 24 in the January 2020 USGlass).

He explained work is already underway on the 2022 version of ASHRAE 90.1, and one possible inclusion could be a new prescriptive requirement for a minimum amount of on-site renewable energy on all new buildings or building sites.

In addition, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is finalizing its 2021 version. On the commercial side, there has been a lot of alignment with ASHRAE 90.1- 2019 in areas such as commercial fenestration requirements, an updated climate zone map, increased and improved daylighting, air barrier commissioning as well as opportunities for vacuum insulating glass.

Speaking of the green code, efforts are in the works to finalize the 2021 International Green Conservation Code (IgCC)/ASHRAE 189.1-2020. A second draft, he said, did call out a requirement for minimum views in offices, classrooms and patients’ rooms. This will go out for public review in the spring.

“This is based on what we’ve been preaching … the health and wellness of the
occupants,” he said.

Fire-Rated Glass

During the fire-rated glazing meeting, Devin Bowman with Technical Glass Products, gave a presentation on the versatility of fire-rated glass products. He discussed some of the challenges the products face, including increasing congestion and urbanization in cities such as New York. He explained that as buildings get closer together and taller, lot line protection becomes a concern. In fact, he explained that the New York City Department of Building implemented stricter lot line fire-protection standards in 2015, and that fire-rated glazing systems with narrow profiles can meet lot line protection requirements, as they can complement overall design schemes.

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