IGMA 2015 Winter Conference attendees gather for the general meeting breakfast Friday.
IGMA 2015 Winter Conference attendees gather for the general meeting breakfast Friday.

No extensive discussion regarding the modern manufacturing of building products and construction can be had without hitting on the topic of sustainability. That point was not lost on attendees at the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) 2015 Winter Conference in Fort Lauderdale this week.

All the trending acronyms were discussed—LCA (life cycle assessment), EPD (environmental product declaration), PCR (product category rule), and the newer HPD (health product declaration), among others.

Wednesday, Jim Mellentine of Sustainable Solutions Corporation presented “Health Product Declarations for the Insulating Glass Industry,” in which he discussed the nuances of the relatively new sustainability tool and how it fits into the industry.

Mellentine said he found four IGMA members in the HPD Collaborative database, and pulled up two of their HPDs, anonymously, to show the kinds of common mistakes that are made when compiling the HPD.

Two key issues he noted were that the incomplete HPD “claims disclosure of all known health hazards, yet does not list health hazards for substances on the 32 priority hazard lists,” and that it “claims disclosure of all intentional ingredients, yet the ingredients are not listed per HPD standard requirements.”

Mellentine then gave a list of common materials in IGUs and showed an example of what a more accurate HPD would look like.

Later in the afternoon, Dr. Helen Sanders of SAGE Electrochromics touched on the PCR and LCA.

“LCA and eco-labeling is here to stay,” she said, noting that EPDs are in LEED v.4 and that big box stores, for example, are asking for EPDs. She said that while LCA is currently optional in the green codes, it could become mandatory in the next revision cycle. Additionally, many green building projects are requiring LCA anyway, and federal agencies and other progressive green codes are moving in that direction.

The recently established Window PCR also was discussed. In creating the PCR, the cradle-to-gate versus cradle-to-grave methods were a focus, so the group decided to divide the PCR into two. A cradle-to-grave-based PCR is to be used for vertical windows only, and cradle-to-gate for skylights and windows.

The next steps in finalizing the PCR include completing “use phase” documentation for windows, as well as the modifications to cradle-to-gate fenestration sizes. The two PRC documents could then be created, and with them a website page to store models and instructions. Sanders said funding for the process would be approximately $12,000 and would come from a collaboration of various industry associations.

Thursday, a brief codes and standards update was provided. ASTM currently is in the process of updated its insulating glass standards for additional clarity, and the E2141 test method for electrochromics is also being reviewed.

The IGMA 2015 Winter Conference wraps up today, but stay tuned to USGNN.com™ through the beginning of next week for continued coverage.