The first day of the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) 2021 Hybrid Fall Conference wrapped up on Tuesday with a focus on wildlife and glazing. Jennifer Hatfield, FGIA’s codes consultant, spoke to a virtual and in-person audience from Phoenix about the collaborative efforts between FGIA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) to determine a transmitted standard for tinted glass in areas where sea turtles are likely to nest.

She referenced Section 161.163 of the Florida Statutes, which requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to designate coastal areas likely to be used by sea turtles for nesting and establish guidelines for local government regulations that control beachfront lighting to protect hatching sea turtles.

“Some Florida law localities have or are considering changing their turtle ordinances to require a 15% inside to outside transmitted standard for tinted glass, rather than the 45% that has been the previous Florida standard and is what’s in the model code,” Hatfield said.

She explained that some communities altering the ordinances brought this issue to FGIA’s attention. Fort Myers Beach changed its local ordinance to 15% in March 2020, and Longboat Key considered the adjustment in April 2021. However, she said they have maintained the model code of 45%.

“Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s website states that the 45% is required, but they are recommending 15% and that’s what led to this.”

Hatfield said that a design shift towards all-glass buildings and brighter lights affected the sea turtles, causing them to not return to sea.

“[An FGIA member exploratory] call also highlighted the need to have a continuing dialogue with FWC and look at possible research that can be done to determine what that magic number is that works for turtles, but that may not be as dark as 15%.”

A sea turtle glass issue task group was formed in May, according to Hatfield, and meetings have been occurring since then between FGIA and FWC to study options, provide samples of different glass, discuss concerns and find a reasonable solution.

“We talked about the details of the proposed sea turtle testing procedures for informing the type, the size, the thickness the wavelength of monolithic and laminated glass samples so we can know better what to provide them,” she said.

The next meeting scheduled is a joint call for November 4, according to Hatfield.

The FGIA Fall Conference runs through Thursday. Stay tuned to USGNN™ for more updates and reports.