glassblog

Monday, March 16, 2015

After spending several days out of the office, I’m scrambling to keep up. So for this week’s blog, no lead story, just a bunch of quick hits…

--The positive economic trends in our industry are still moving along, but then again so are the continued tightening of supply and lack of consistent transportation. Last week I spoke to several industry insiders who told me they are rolling with things the best they can, but it's getting tougher every day. The key? Planning and communication. The more you do of both, the better off you will be.

--You never know what and whom you will see in Las Vegas. And while I have been there at least 40 times (in my best estimation), I have never run into anyone as epic as Steve Cohen of PPG did last week: the “baddest man on the planet,” former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson. Nice! I wonder if Iron Mike will now be calling on architects with Steve; could make a convincing case to get products in the spec! Plus, props to Steve for taking a selfie with him. Way to go, my friend.

--The Glass Magazine Awards are back with the 2015 edition. Nominations are being accepted now for the products and projects portion of the annual awards program. For more info, including the specific categories, please click here!

--Caught a very interesting documentary this past week: Pink Ribbons Inc. The focus was the massive “pinkwashing” surrounding fundraising for breast cancer awareness and more importantly the lack of progress in identifying what causes breast cancer and finding better treatments or a cure. Really intriguing to watch as I have never been a fan of certain organizations jumping on board to help their own image (the NFL every October is a big one). It's frustrating to see billions of dollars raised, yet no major advancements in place. Worth the watch if you are interested.

--Now that BEC is in the books, next up are a couple of excellent regional shows, including the always-popular Mid-Atlantic Glass Expo April 29th, and then AIA May 14-16 in Atlanta. Before you know it, GlassBuild America will be here, and from all indications this year’s event will be very strong. I’m excited to see how things progress there.

--Last this week, two questions I am curious to get your opinions on: one pop culture/social and one industry.

  1. Do you think the Apple Watch will make it? I am torn. I love Apple products but have not worn or needed a watch in years. I can’t see the need when my iPhone does everything. But I’m also old and staid. Curious for other insights.
  2. At BEC, guest speaker James O’Callaghan made mention of the use of ultra thin glass. There are a few manufacturers who make it (AGC had their Dragontrail on display at GlassBuild last year), but finding a home for use is still a question. So do you think that this product will find its way into prominent places in the exterior glass world?

As always feel free to e-mail me, as I don’t monitor the comment section very closely.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

When James O'Callaghan, director, Eckersley O'Callaghan, presented the first design ideas to Steve Jobs for the Apple flagship store in SoHo, New York City, it featured all-glass stair treads paired with a metal rail system. Jobs responded, “I think you should make it all out of glass,” O’Callaghan recalled. And thus began Apple’s iconic and increasingly innovative structural glass stairs and storefronts. 

Attendees at the BEC Conference yesterday in Las Vegas were treated to a tour of the evolving innovations in glass at Apple, where designers and engineers continued to push the envelope of what is possible in glass design. 


First structural glass circular stair, at the Apple store in Osaka.

Two-story circular stair, in New York City. 

Refurbished Apple glass cube, with just 15 glass panels. 


Istanbul Apple store, made of just four massive glass panels. 

Photos by Eckersley O'Callaghan.

From the beginning, the idea was “a very simple structure,” O’Callaghan described to the group of about 400. At each step, and in each new store, “we began to strip away the levels of connection. … Each time, there is a small incremental change.” 

That first location in SoHo featured the all-glass stair rail and treads, with minimal hardware. A location designed soon after in Los Angeles includes a stair that can meet significant seismic loads. “The stair is hung rather than supported at the base, and it can accommodate lateral sway,” O’Callaghan said. 

Next came longer staircases (a 5-meter stair in Beijing), and circular staircases, like that in Osaka. “This required chemically tempered glass,” O’Callaghan recalled. From single-story circular staircases came two-story staircases (14th St. in New York).

In 2006, the company moved beyond stairs to develop a glass cube entrance to the 5th Ave. underground store in Manhattan. However, the dimensions of the cube—30 feet on each side—required 106 panels and 250 primary fittings, and thus more interruptions in the clarity of the space. 

So, the design team began investigating ways to get larger glass lites, requiring fewer connections. “We were looking for large format glazing applications where we [could] maximize transparency and minimize fittings,” O’Callaghan said. 

Working first with seele, which bought a 15-meter autoclave, O'Callaghan's designs began to feature much larger lites of glass. “However, the logistics associated with such large lites were quite challenging. There were no machines to lift the glass, or to ship the glass,” O’Callaghan said. Beijing North Glass also made large investments in equipment to produce the large lites for Apple, including developing a tempering machine to handle 12- to 13-meter curved glass for the glass drum at Apple IFC Shanghai

With large format glass now available, the company began exploring glass railings made of one lite of glass, like that used at the Hamburg, Germany Apple Store. And, in 2011, it refurbished the 5th Ave. glass cube with the large glass, totaling just 15 panels and 40 fittings. “There is a certain elegance when we start to strip down the connections,” O’Callaghan said. 

The newest developments in glass for Apple include glass walls that act as structural support for the roof structure. The company completed a store in Palo Alto, California, where glass columns support a steel roof. And, the new Apple store in Istanbul consists of just four massive panels of glass that are joined at the corner with silicone joints and topped with a carbon fiber roof. “It’s drilled down to the minimum. It’s almost not there. This is a successful conclusion regarding where we are trying to drive design,” O’Callaghan said. 

And of course, there are the large-scale architectural feats on display at the now under construction Apple headquarters

Looking ahead, O’Callaghan says even larger lites are coming, with 4 meters by 20 meters now possible. And, he sees great architectural possibilities with Corning’s Gorilla Glass, an ultra-thin, ultra-strong glass. “This is different than float glass. We are able to use a cold bending method to create new forms. It’s something that can be a flexible material on the skin and used to create more lightweight structures,” he said. 

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at kdevlin@glass.org.

Monday, March 9, 2015

This year for the first time in a while, the Glass Association of North America's BEC Conference was combined with GANA’s Annual Conference, which used to be known as “Glassweek.” And when you get a couple hundred companies in a small space together, along with some of the great technical minds in our industry, news is made and networking happens.

 

News:

  • One of our industry's most precious resources is Dr. Tom Culp. He gave updates on the upcoming ASHRAE 90.1. The big item so far is that the new version includes no changes to the window area. As you can remember a few years ago, there was a major push to reduce the window-to-wall ratio. Thankfully as of now, and thanks to amazing efforts by Dr. Culp and others, that is not on the table. However, many other items are in process including changes to the climate zone map and reduction in U-factors. Nothing that is brutal though, at least in my opinion. 

Networking:

Overall attitude and tenor of people attending was very positive. There’s a lot of industry confidence right now that is awesome to see. As for seeing actual people...

  • Great to see old pal Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle BE. He’s in tiptop condition and looks like he could run a marathon tomorrow. Of course no GANA meeting is the same without Eastman’s Julie Schimmelpenningh; catching up for a few minutes was wonderful. And a cool surprise to see my former co-worker Jon Johnson, now calling View home. He’ll do great there.
  • After years of coming to events like this I thought I met everyone I could from Viracon, but nope. I finally got to meet Bob Carlson in person, which was great. Plus, visiting with Garret Henson, Seth Madole, and of course the Hollywood model Cameron Scripture, is a treat.
  • I have heard about and admired Tim Kelley of Tri Star Glass for years, so meeting him for the first time was excellent and seeing Greg Oehlers (also Tri Star) is never dull. Spent time with Steve Cohen of PPG who is settling in nicely to his new digs there.
  • One of the classiest men in our industry, Dave Helterbran, was here and all I can say is he fights the good fight better than I ever could. Keep getting better, Dave! His daughter and son-in-law (Lindsay and Dustin Price) are launching a new business with Dave and I know it will be a tremendous success.
  • Speaking of success, I think everything that guys like Marc Deschamps (Walker), Mark Silverberg (Technoform), and James Wright (Glass Coatings & Concepts) touch turns to gold. Just picking their brains and having a dialogue with them makes you smarter, too.
  • Quickly visited with Bob Cummings (Hartung) and Kirk Johnson (Glasswerks) which was great, since I probably only get to see or talk to those guys once a year.
  • And I will say as a marketing guy I was really impressed/jealous of the awesome video that the folks from Vitrum showed. Incredible piece and it was nice to get to chat with Thomas Martini, Bruce Robinson and Tara Brummet about that and all the good things they have going on.
  • Also from a marketing and PR standpoint, getting to share a room with the insanely talented Heather West and Rich Porayko was as good as it gets. Those two produce some of the industry's best materials on a daily basis and it’s an honor to get to spend any time with them.

I know I probably missed some folks…sorry! All I can say is it's always an awesome time to network with the industry's best, and again, thank you for sharing time and conversation with me.

Read this blog and others on Max's blogspot page...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nearly two years ago, I issued a “Loud Call for Attention” regarding the industry’s development of Life Cycle Assessments for windows. That call reaches a new peak this month as the industry finalizes what is arguably the most critical component of the LCA process: the Product Category Rules.

For those who may not be familiar with the sometimes complex and convoluted terms associated with the LCA process, the sidebar at the right provides an introduction. A more detailed explanation can be found here.

Defining Life Cycle

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): An LCA addresses the embodied energy/carbon footprint of a product, taking into account factors such as climate change, acidification, fossil fuel depletion and human toxicity.

Product Category Rules (PCR): Scopes and sets rules for conducting the Life Cycle Assessment. The PCR ensures everyone is measuring the impacts of a product in the same way.

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD): Also known as eco-labels, EPDs disclose the life cycle environmental performance of a product. (The labels are similar to the nutritional labels for the food industry).

Cradle-to-gate: Life cycle assessments that measure the energy impact of a product from material extraction until the product leaves the factory.

Cradle-to-grave: Life cycle assessments that measure the energy impact of the complete life of a product, including: material extraction, manufacturing and production, distribution and transportation, operations and maintenance, and recycle and waste management. (Glazing industry manufacturers might want to consider a cradle-to-grave perspective, as glazing products provide energy benefits during the life of a building.)

Source: Definitions derived from the presentation “Eco-labeling is Coming: Is the Glazing Industry Ready?”, by Helen Sanders, vice president, technical business development, SAGE Electrochromics.

In brief, Product Category Rules (herein, PCRs) are necessary for the creation a lifecycle Environmental Product Declaration for a product. The PCR ensures that all manufacturers are measuring the lifecycle impact of their products using the same metrics.

A joint industry task group that includes the American Architectural Manufacturers Associationthe Glass Association of North America, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association has been working to develop a PCR for windows for several years. That process is now in its final stages—thus the return of the “Loud Call for Attention.”

Two window PCRs are current available for public comment—one for a cradle-to-grave, business consumer EPD that covers only vertical windows, and another for cradle-to-gate, business to business EPDs, covering all window types, according to the Institute for Environmental Research and Education, a developer of LCA programs. Both window PCR drafts are available for download and review from the IERE. All public comments must be submitted by March 30. 

“This will be the final opportunity for the industry to comment on these PCRs, which will affect everyone in the industry required to do an LCA and provide an EPD on any of their products,” said Margaret Webb, executive director of IGMA, in an association release. “These PCRs affect everyone, and if there are any concerns, they need to be raised now, as the LCA group will be meeting to review and resolve any comments received.”

IGMA is asking stakeholders to review the document and submit any comments Webb at mwebb@igmaonline.org.

Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at kdevlin@glass.org.

Monday, March 2, 2015

We’re entering the final month of first quarter 2015 and there’s now an extra storyline to deal with: The renewed grip of winter hitting in more areas than normal could wreak havoc on bottom line performance in this quarter, which would be similar to what happened this time 2014. Obviously a majority of the industry bounced back nicely, but no one ever wants to start from behind. Plus, winter delays will make the glass capacity issues even more perilous; basically jobs that should be installed right now are behind and on hold, and eventually they will go as well as the jobs that were scheduled to go during that time. And what will come will be an extra dose of mayhem, if glass supply stays tight. So once again, the need for planning and proactivity is key. Bottom line for me: I hope March quickly moves from its “entering as a lion" phase and moves right to the “lamb” portion. The sooner the better…

Elsewhere…

  • Just a programming note, next week I’ll post this blog from Las Vegas, site of the GANA Annual Conference and BEC. I’ll have some recaps of the events including some insights from the annual Energy Day program that incredible people like Mark Silverberg of Technoform put on as well as code updates from Dr. Tom Culp and more. Plus the networking notes and who knows what rumors or scuttlebutt can come out…
  • If you did not catch the blog from Jeff Razwick of TGP, please check it out. As always, it’s well done and thought provoking. And it’s also a very effective argument about some of the great things our industry does.
  • A congrats to Linda Vos-Graham on her recent honor of being named a finalist for the “Top Women Owned Business Awards.” She is seriously deserving of this recognition. Linda is a tremendous asset to our industry and the few times I have seen her in a public dialogue (NGA’s GEF a few years ago, especially) she was simply amazing.
  • So a big question: a design of a new Google headquarters is out and it looks absolutely wild. With that, what are the chances that a North American manufacturer and fabricator get this work? Or will it come from overseas?
  • Good part of it finally being March? March Madness and the College Basketball brackets. Not sure anyone can beat Kentucky….
  • Last this week, the magazine Fast Company did a piece on the most innovative companies in 2015. (Actually makes me think we should do a list like that in our world; I think I will do some day soon.) The top 5 were…

#5 Instagram

#4 Google

#3 Alibaba

#2 Apple

and #1 was… Warby Parker!

Only one problem… I have never heard of them. No clue who they are or what they innovate (eye glasses from what I found). So I’m blown away that the most innovative company according to these guys is someone that surely is not near the mainstream. And if they were a computer- or software-related company I could believe it, but glasses? Wow.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

You might have heard of the “broken windows” theory of crime and urban decay. Social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling theorize that a building with a few broken windows becomes a target for more vandalism and escalating crime. At the extreme, they believe that not repairing broken windows can lead to neighborhood-wide degradation due to perceived apathy of the residents.

Beyond fixing broken windows to help maintain neighborhood integrity, I believe glass plays an important role in enhancing and revitalizing urban spaces.

Look for example at Lower Manhattan, where dozens of buildings were destroyed or damaged in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In the nearly 14 years since then, the city has rebuilt itself bigger and better, with glass playing a prominent role in creating impressive new architecture. Examples include:

  • Glass-clad Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center), now the tallest building in the U.S.
  • Steel and glass wings of the Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub
  • Fulton Center transit hubThese glass gems reflect the adaptive spirit of America and provide spaces to serve and energize people every day.

Consider the glass in the Fulton Center, a light-filled space opened in November 2014 that integrates five subway stations served by nine subway lines, and includes retail and office space. Instead of the stereotypical dank, dark subway station, the Fulton Center is brightly lit with natural light. Commuter Dave Palmieri told the New York Daily News, “The light pouring in is just incredible. It’s a real modern gem. Spatially, it’s like Grand Central.”

Glass is crucial to the Fulton Center’s open, inviting atmosphere: A 53-foot diameter glass oculus streams light into a grand atrium, and the retail space and elevator core have glazed curtain walls to capture that light.  Most of the 300,000 transit riders using the Fulton Center won’t notice this, but for the glass geeks among us, the curtain walls are not only beautiful, but also innovative. Notably, the center’s retail space includes both fire-rated and non-fire-rated glazed curtain walls. The thing is, they look the same.

Not long ago, fire-rated frames were bulky, not like the sleek frames and clean lines of non-fire-rated assemblies. But, with matched systems like those used in the Fulton Center, meeting fire-safety code requirements doesn’t have to be a barrier to amazing architecture.

I’m proud of the ways the glass industry has continually pioneered improvements in products such as these. In the end, it’s not just about selling more glass, but in helping create architecture that inspires and amazes.

Jeff Razwick is the president of Technical Glass Products (TGP), a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. He writes frequently about the design and specification of glazing for institutional and commercial buildings, and is a past chair of the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Fire-Rated Glazing Council (FRGC). Contact him at 800/426-0279.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, February 23, 2015

This week marks the 35th anniversary of one of the most amazing moments in American sports history—The Miracle on Ice. It’s something that I still get the chills thinking about. The late, great Herb Brooks assembled a true “team” of players—guys that were there, as he noted, to play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the back. They faced adversity throughout their training and then in the Olympics fell behind game after game, but worked through it and came through in the end.

Even though I knew the result before seeing the US-USSR game (it was on tape delay and CBS Evening News told me who won before it was aired), it will probably be my most revered sports memory. And it doesn’t only pertain to sports; the business angle is in there, too. Several years ago we as an industry had the honor of having team USA Captain Mike Eruzione speak at the BEC Conference, and he was amazing. He had one line that I always refer to:

“You can’t measure heart, pride or commitment…. Intangibles separate good business from great business. If you believe in something, and you’re willing to work hard for it, you can accomplish it.”

Right on...

Elsewhere…

  • By the way, I know I have a very prominent Canadian audience (who I love as anyone who reads this knows) and the 1980 Olympics probably annoys them some, as their boys were beating the Russians 3-1 halfway through their game just a few days before the US played them. Then the Russians scored three goals in three minutes and that dream was dead. But if Canada somehow would’ve held on, history would be so different.
  • The “Ad of the Month” in Glass Magazine goes to Salem Distributing. What a smart, clean and effective ad. Gets your attention and keeps it. Congrats to the team at Salem on a job well done. And by the way, this issue “Growing Pains” is absolutely fantastic. A ton of interesting stories and good research material as well.
  • The Architectural Billings Index came out for January and it was down, barely below the success line, (49.9) but I don’t believe it's time for any concern. The overall numbers still had some very positive parts to them.
  • Ran across an interesting piece this week on the challenges that a construction company will face in 2015. The top two were finding enough qualified skilled workers and landing enough work to be profitable. Quite frankly these are challenges that I am sure our world has as well. I am surprised that things like managing cash flow was not higher.
  • Last this week, just some quick reminders of a couple big industry events on the horizon. GANA Annual Conference and BEC are coming in early March, and the GPAD event is coming mid-March.  I’ll be at the GANA events and I am looking forward to seeing folks that I have not seen in a while—like the movie star Cameron Scripture of Viracon, the prolific runner Joe Erb of Quanex, and old friend Marty Richardson of Metropolitan Glass. And of course, many others. Can’t wait.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, February 16, 2015

So I have been banging on the “glass capacity” issue for a while now and this week I chatted with several people who are dealing with this growing problem. First, there are still folks unaware that glass, especially ¼-inch clear, is getting harder and harder to get. That is on everyone in the supply chain—suppliers, fabricators, glaziers and the media. Communicating about what is happening in the industry is a must. And while this issue has not affected the entire industry yet, the way it is heading I am pretty sure it will. So as I have said before, be proactive.

On that note, I did hear from a few people who are struggling with the best ways to be proactive. Some fabricators are developing programs to reserve glass but some of those programs carry risk (penalties if you don’t take the glass when scheduled is one), and with the volatile schedules of the general contractor, the glaziers are wary about commitments. The fear is, by struggling to get glass, we as an industry could be setting ourselves up for losing that part of the building to other materials. Now while I don’t see “glassless” buildings, designers could choose to go with less glass area, which is scary and ironic since we fought so hard to deflect efforts to limit glass usage in the codes. So again, communication through the chain is key as this is a legitimate issue and one that is not going to go away quickly. Make sure everyone knows what the obstacles are, be truthful with lead-times, push for guaranteed sizes, etc.

In the end, all of these things, as well as other proactive measures, will help and also make everyone more efficient. And if you have not been touched with this tightening of materials, congrats, but be prepared as I have a good feeling you will.

Elsewhere…

  • I know I say it over and over, but sometimes when something is so good, it deserves constant repeating. Katy Devlin’s blogs on Glass Magazine are not to be missed. Last week’s recap of a facades conference was incredible. So good that I think I may need to take a few months off to recharge because my stuff is not even in the same stratosphere.
  • In my last post, I noted one of the buildings that was chosen as “the coolest” in 2014 and wondered who fabricated the glass. Well sure enough it did not take long for the always-excellent Bill Coady of Guardian to pipe up with the info. The glass used was Guardian SunGuard Neutral 40 on No. 2 and Neutral 78/65 on No. 5. The glass was fabricated by Garibaldi Glass. Congrats to all and thank you Mr. Coady for reading the blog and replying!
  • Great news this week about a good friend of mine, Steve Cohen. PPG announced that Steve has joined as National Architectural Manager-Northeast. Quite a coup for PPG since I believe Steve is one of the most talented guys in our industry. And while I am biased since I like Steve personally, I can tell you from a professional side in dealing with him, the guy is fantastic. Great move for both sides here.
  • Last this week, two more sets of lists since I love those things…

The top 25 Architectural “fails” and the top 5 commercial construction trends. The “fail” piece is just mindless fun, but the trends piece is pretty interesting and does relate to our world.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Once again, Glass Magazine will recognize the top glaziers in the United States in its annual Top 50 Glaziers report, and it's time to nominate your company.

The May 2015 issue of Glass Magazine will feature the highest-earning contract glaziers of 2014. In addition to company statistics, the Top 50 Glaziers issue will include glazier profiles, industry statistics, project spotlights and more.

We want to feature the glass industry's achievements. In order for us to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, we rely on direct submissions from the industry. If your company should be included in the Top 50 Glaziers report, please complete the nomination form today. The submission deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 25. And feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at kdevlin@glass.org.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Green building means so much more than energy and thermal performance, a sentiment made clear during the Facades+ architectural conference held Feb. 5-6 in Los Angeles. To truly build green—to consider the lifetime environmental impacts of a building from material extraction through construction, use and eventual destruction—demands consideration of durability, sustainability, recyclability, preservation and more.

These green building considerations are top priority for designers, builders and materials suppliers, as the design and build community increasingly works to addresses climate change, according to numerous speakers during the Facades+ conference. “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. There are ways we can affect change in our design, at the scale at which we work,” said Emilie Hagen of Atelier 10.

“The dialogue is still so tightly focused around energy, and in many ways, rightly so,” said Mic Patterson of Enclos. “However, as we continue to address the big problem that is threatening civilization, we start to peel it back and see issues like the embodied energy in these systems, and the life cycle costs that are not trivial considerations. We start to recognize that durability is a critically important thing. And we remember that recycling is not free—it takes real energy and real water use.”

Pulled from my more than 14 pages of notes from the invigorating and exciting conference are 10 top considerations for the building community as it begins to address climate change in a bigger and bigger way. Green building is moving beyond a trend  to an expectation, and even to a necessity. And the entire building chain is needed to successfully execute it.

  1. Net zero building.
    Net zero will be a future performance expectation of buildings, according to several speakers. “One could look at net zero as the next speed bump,” said Kevin Kavanaugh of CO Architects. This trend is well underway at the federal level, with the General Services Administration requiring all new buildings to achieve zero net energy by 2030. 
  2. Net zero ready.
    When net zero isn’t in a project budget, many architects are targeting a middle step: net zero ready. For new and existing buildings, net zero ready allows owners to prepare for additional investments, such as renewables, that can be added at a later point to make the building fully net zero. 
  3. Material transparency.
    Health Product Declarations and Life Cycle Assessments are becoming a more critical part of design for architects, particularly as they work to achieve more stringent performance criteria, like those required in the Living Building Challenge. “Material transparency, material selection, is one of our greatest challenges right now,” said Stacey Hooper, an architect from NBBJ and one of the conference organizers. “I really encourage [material suppliers] to do an HPD and LPD. It makes us all a little more able to make decisions,” added Margaret Montgomery, also of NBBJ.
  4. Durability and Sustainability.
    Energy-efficiency and thermal performance have dominated the focus of green building. However, building and building material durability and sustainability need to become equally important aspects of the conversation. Increasing attention to life cycle is bringing this issue to the forefront. 
  5. Preservation.
    One of the greenest ways to build is to renovate and preserve existing spaces. Preservation architects are becoming an increasingly important segment of the design community as they transform existing buildings into spaces that preserve historic appearance while providing levels of energy and thermal performance expected in new construction. 
  6. Value.
    Tied closely to durability and preservation is how we value our built spaces. “The things we love, we take care of. We value them. It means we maintain them and extend their service life,” explained Patterson. “It’s easy to see this in Europe, but we haven’t gotten around to doing a lot of these things here. I was recently in Rome, and I saw the Pantheon, a 2,000-year-old building. This durability in construction, this care and maintenance, these things contribute to sustainability.” 
  7. Updatability.
    A next-level conversation topic for green design should be future retrofits—considering the updatability of materials at the time of original construction, according to several speakers. The expected lifespan of a building will surpass the expected lifespans of individual building systems. Considering future retrofits at the time of construction will not only ease the retrofit process, but will also maximize performance during each building life phase. 
  8. Dynamic and integrated facades.
    Critical to a high performance building, particularly one capable of achieving net zero goals, is a dynamic façade—specifically, a dynamic façade that is integrated into building controls and adapts to air, light, temperature and other factors. “Everything around a building is dynamic, but most envelopes have no capability to evolve or adapt. Façades need to be adaptive and upgradeable,” said Alex Korter of CO Architects. 
  9. Human health.
    Building performance should also consider occupant performance, in addition to energy factors. “We need to consider what about a building makes a human healthy—that allows for thriving occupants,” said Atelier 10’s Hagen. “Factors like lighting and natural ventilation are not just energy savers. They can be tools for helping people in the environment thrive.” 
  10. Water.
    While there is a lot of talk about energy, the energy/water nexus is not being talked about nearly enough, according to NBBJ's  Hooper. “Half of the water we consume in the U.S. is used to cool energy power plants. This is staggering. Then consider that the energy used to heat and cool buildings is 45 to 50 percent of total energy use in the U.S.,” she said. Reductions in energy consumption in the built environment will lead to reductions in water consumption.

Katy Devlin, editor, Glass Magazine
 
The opinions expressed here and in reader comments are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.


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