The trend toward product transparency doesn’t appear to be changing course any time soon, so the glass industry is reacting accordingly. The topic was discussed Tuesday during the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fall Conference in Kansas City, Mo.

The Glass Association of North America is convening this week in Kansas City.
The Glass Association of North America is convening this week in Kansas City.

Vik Ahuja of thinkstep gave a presentation during the association’s Energy Division meeting. “If you do not have an EPD (Environmental Product Declaration), the specifier will just look for other products that do,” he said. This is being driven by demand from LEED, codes, building owners, architects and government mandates seeking environmental transparency at the product level.

“Think of it as opportunity cost if you don’t have what the specifier is looking for and someone else does,” said Ahuja. He added, “As an industry, if you do not have LCA data, generic databases will be used to as proxies for your product. The proxy may not represent your product accurately.”

To address the demand for product transparency, GANA teamed up with the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) to develop a series of product category rules (PCRs). The most recent one, for processed glass, was released last week.

The next step for industry companies and association members is to determine whether they will go it alone in compiling life cycle assessment (LCA) data to develop EPDs, or whether they will team up.

Ahuja went over the pros and cons of the three options industry members have: to develop LCAs and EPDs individually; to collaborate on an industry-wide EPD; or to do nothing.

In either of the first two cases, an LCA practitioner would be brought on to compile the data. The collaborative option would take approximately twice as long—at least eight months—because it would require data collection from all participating companies to compile an aggregate average. However, members would share cost and would establish a level playing field for all members.

During the meeting, Mark Silverberg with Technoform North America presented results from a recent survey of GANA members regarding LCAs and EPDs. He said he was surprised at the amount of inquiries respondents have been getting for them, and as a result, there seemed to be a general consensus among the industry. “At least two-thirds of members basically said they wanted an industry-wide LCA and/or EPD,” said Silverberg.

Industry members will continue to discuss and determine which route they will take at upcoming meetings, and Ahuja advised that the group act somewhat swiftly given the time it takes to compile and complete LCAs.

Stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for continuing coverage of the GANA conference.