glassblog

Monday, May 13, 2013

The last several weeks, I have been hitting energy codes pretty heavily, and below, I have more of my interview with Avi Bar on that subject. But leading off this week is another code angle, and that’s the one of safety and security glass. As we push for energy improvements, we cannot take our eye off the protective glazing side. I think catastrophic events can spur action, but sometimes they draw attention to only a specific issue. So while there is a major focus on school security (as there should be), there still needs to be a sustained focus on the other areas of protective glazing, including fire rated. (One take of mine: no more wire, please.)

I believe our industry has a great handle on this product segment, but there’s still more education needed. If we still have people in the field who don't "get it," we fail as an entire industry. That said, I think Glass Magazine covered the issue perfectly this month with its edition on the entire protective glazing field, from the product basics all the way up to the advanced.  

Elsewhere...

  • I had the opportunity to listen to the latest construction industry economic forecast this past week, and for the most part, the analysts were in a very positive mood. Although acknowledging there will surely be bumps in the road, optimism ruled the day. However, one item did come up that bothered me: One analyst noted that if you want to build “green,” you have to build new. I disagree. With some of the technology our industry has out there, we can surely make a serious difference in a retrofit application. Once again, we need to educate!
  • As some of my loyal readers know, I loved the TV show “24.” Amazing stuff. Well, the news this week is that 24 and Jack Bauer might be coming back. Please make that happen. In the meantime, the show “The Americans” is now my favorite, though I am still five episodes behind.
  • Last week, my interview with Avi Bar, vice president of Advanced Glazings, really got people talking. This week, I wrap up our talk with a look at the architectural side of things.

In your dealings with architects and designers, are you finding that they are paying attention to the codes, or are they more focused on the products they want to use?

AB: My overall experience is that the architects and designers are becoming more aware of energy codes; however, [the codes] aren't easy to implement. The prescriptive methods don’t easily translate into their designs, and the modeling methodologies are complex to include in the first pass of designs. Therefore, it’s an ongoing, iterative process. There is a disconnect in the design community/owner relationship as fees for services continue to tighten while the technical competency for designers increases. The complexity of the analysis process that the architects are now bound to ... is a problem for them, and perhaps an opportunity for a proactive glass industry. The more stringent the code, the more anxiety I see in designers. This is a call for help to the glass and glazing industry to innovate and support them.  

A lot of the economic indicators for construction and architecture are trending upwards. Are you seeing the same thing?

AB: It’s hard for us to tell, as our products are not commodities and have seen an overall increase in business, even during the recession. With that said, our current demand is growing at a much higher rate. Is that due to better economic conditions? Or is it finally a signal that the market for high performance translucent glass is maturing? We can’t say. Perhaps a mix of both. All in all, we are optimistic.

Read on for links and clip 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, May 6, 2013

My local public school system’s reaction to the horrific events of December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Conn., has been swift. Within days of the shooting, I received letters from both of my children’s schools stating that new security procedures had been put in place. Within weeks of the shooting, a new security system had been installed at both buildings. While on December 13, 2012, I could enter my child’s elementary school at any time of day, as of January 2013, I had to show identification before being buzzed in a front door that remained locked at all times. Discussions are currently underway as to how the school district can further secure its buildings, and similar conversations are taking place across the country.

“School districts are concerned about safety after the Sandy Hook shootings, and as a result, there is more emphasis on security strategies to keep children safe in case of an attack,” says Valerie Block, senior marketing specialist for DuPont. “Upgrading windows and doors with security glazing is being considered by a number of school districts, along with surveillance and alarm equipment, staff education and training, and emergency response procedures.”

S. 146, the School and Campus Safety Enhancements Act of 2013 is currently on the Senate calendar for review. Introduced in January 2013 by Sen. Barbara Boxer, the act “would authorize the appropriation of $40 million annually over the 2014-2023 period for the Department of Justice to make grants to state, local and tribal governments to improve security at elementary and secondary schools. Grants could be used to install metal detectors and surveillance equipment, train school personnel and students, and carry out other safety measures.”

For our part, “there may be one thing we in the American fenestration industry can do after the terrible event in Newtown, Conn., and the many irrational, violent shootings and bombings we’ve all witnessed over the past decades in this country,” says blogger Rod Van Buskirk. “As building product and construction professionals, we can offer greater safety by educating design professionals, building owners and public officials about threat-resistant products and design techniques.”

The “Architects’ Guide to Protective Glazing” is designed to further that education. It contains information on the security glazing products available—from ballistic glazing to fire-rated glass—including specifications, applications and product options.

Architecture will continue to play a role in securing our schools, whether in the form of new or retrofitted facilities. As Van Buskirk points out, educating the design community about security glazing products and applications is “obviously not the only step we need to take to improve public safety, but it is one step.”

Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine, GlassMagazine.com, e-glass weekly and e-glass products. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Monday, May 6, 2013

I decided to take a slightly different approach to the blog this week. Before getting into the news, I have an extremely interesting interview with a guy who I consider to be one of the most fascinating people in our industry today. This week, I tracked down Avi Bar, vice president, architectural products, for Advanced Glazings, to get his take on the current code landscape. I met Avi two years ago and was extremely impressed by his intelligence and focus. When the code discussion started to heat up, I thought getting Avi’s opinion would be interesting. And after getting his answers, I have no doubt that this will surely get some people talking.

The building/energy code process continues to evolve. What is your take on where the codes are now, and where they are going?

Avi Bar: I think there are two primary shifts now in code: energy codes are getting stricter, and they are becoming mandatory vs. voluntary. The codes are reflecting rising energy costs and environmental challenges. The codes recognize that the building envelope plays a significant role in addressing these challenges; however, most [building envelope] advances have been predominantly incremental as we try to tweak existing technologies and materials. This, in turn, has resulted in incremental code changes. All the evidence, however, indicates that we need a more radical change in energy codes. This will be fed by two possible triggers: an event that creates more scarcity of fossil fuels, or breakthrough technologies to compete. We hope that the former doesn’t have to occur before the latter. There are materials such as ours [Solera daylighting solutions] that are making that true. In Europe, code tends to be more stringent and mandatory as energy costs are substantially higher, but the net result is better buildings, and more innovation and greater value is derived from the glass industry. Another point of interest is that energy metrics for buildings are now factoring quantifiable benefits to the use of daylighting, strategically as the primary lighting source during usable hours.

What’s your take on the ASHRAE issue and the ongoing discussion that is seemingly pretty active in our industry now?

Bar: Here is the basic premise. ASHRAE standards are driven by two primary conditions: higher energy costs and environmental stewardess. Both of these conditions are important and should not be ignored. Asking ASHRAE to relax rules and code will compromise buildings' ability to be sustainable from an environmental and financial standpoint.The codes are not going to get less stringent. The voluntary nature is not going to spread. Instead, I predict (as we can see everywhere else in the world), the codes will get more stringent and mandatory. We can sit and cry about it, or we can rise to the challenge.The issue the glass industry is trying to address is that most current glass products are based on a composition that is fundamentally flawed. Glass is a highly conductive material. Air in the units (or gasses, which are highly prone to leakage) are highly convective. Low-E is reaching its maximum value in reducing U-values. Spacers are highly conductive too. Therefore, the fundamental construct of glass is challenged, as its only potential improvement is incremental, even with triple-glazed units―which add cost due to additional material and installation costs. Over and above this, vision glass struggles to deal with daylighting ... since it introduces heat and glare unless controlled through shading devices, which adds more cost. So given these constraints, it’s obvious that the "nemesis /enemy" is the code. If you can't improve, then the code is too strict.

But that does not have to be the case. If we look at using innovation and technology to change the construct and paradigms of the glazing, we can retain our position on buildings. There is much work to be done in this realm, but it's not far off. Therefore, my recommendation is instead of blaming ASHRAE and seeking lobbying money to fight it, let's invest this money in innovating and lowering material costs.The glass industry needs to embrace two fundamental things: innovation and education throughout the value chain.

Elsewhere…

  • So is it me, or did the fact that the General Services Administration noting that they have been looking at LEED for “almost a year and half” just make you sad? Seriously, it should never take that long. Or am I missing something? Yes, they studied 160 tools and standards (there’s really that many? My goodness...), but does it take that long to eventually decide on the biggest and most prominent one?
  • A website for you to absolutely visit and bookmark: the Efficient Windows Collaborative has added to their already amazing site and it now is even better. The new window selection tool is tremendous. Kudos to Kerry Haglund and her team for once again raising the bar when it comes to educational resources.
  • While we’re in congratulatory mode, we’ll send some congrats out to Alissa Schmidt of Viracon for winning a Distinguished Alumni award from her alma mater Minnesota State-Mankato. Alissa represents our industry well and it’s great her efforts are being recognized!

Next week, part two of my interview with Avi, including where the architectural community weighs in on the code debate.

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 atMaxP@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, April 30, 2013

The International Code Council committee hearings have been going on for the past week, and the question for me is: have the moves made there been good or bad for our industry? So far, I honestly haven’t been able to tell. And reading various reports and e-mails from people at the hearings has me even more confused. So I’ll sit on this one, get more clarity and report on the proceedings in the next week or two. Needless to say, it is very important that we all get a clear idea of what's going on and how it will affect our industry.

Elsewhere…

  • Good news/bad news on the latest Architecture Billings Index as the number was down, but still in positive territory. Now, the key is to watch how this progresses. The verdict for 2014 has been mixed lately, with some expecting growth and others calling for a downturn.
  • I’m a little late on this one, but major congrats to PPG on its new online education center. It’s a treasure trove of great info, and the layout is spectacular. Kudos to Rob Struble, Glenn Miner and the entire team that worked on it. Well done!
  • Speaking of education, the Glass Management Institute is now open for registration, and I urge you to consider taking the courses. Yes, I am biased as I am teaching one of the courses, but I truly believe in this effort and think the other courses and instructors are simply off the hook and worth your attention. Check it out…and be prepared for me to pester you more as the launch date gets closer.
  • Anyone have a clue as to what the whole “Google Glass” adventure is? I'm not sure I want my website up in my eyes. What am I missing?
  • Last this week...Blackberry fans (like me) are becoming more and more rare, but evidently the new phone (with the physical keyboard) that is coming out could give Blackberry momentum. Last week, it got a great review in the Wall Street Journal. I, for one, remain hopeful because I will stick with that brand 'til the end. My fat little fingers need that keyboard!

Read on for links and clip 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 atMaxP@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, April 23, 2013

In my last blog, I said that long-term planning is a learned skill that includes three primary components: goal setting, succession planning and contingency planning. Today, I will cover goal setting. It is a very big topic, so if there is an aspect that you'd like to discuss in future blogs, let me know. 

 

Goal setting asks three questions:

  1. Where are we?
  2. Where do we want to be?
  3. How do we plan to get there?

Of these three questions, the first is the most difficult to answer and, also, the most ignored. It is difficult, and often painful, to be honest about where we really are now.
 
The main reason people or companies never reach their goals is they never answer question two, or they answer it and forget it. I post my goals where I can constantly see them. Not only does it remind me of the destination, other people see them and ask about my progress. Their interest and support keeps me focused on the goal(s).
 
Since there is limited space in this blog, most of the discussion will focus on question three. A plan must be measureable within a specific timeframe. If a goal is to be accomplished “someday,” it will never be accomplished. “Someday” has to be specific. Most importantly, though, there must be a tangible reward for achieving the goal.
 
The reward is often excluded from the goal-setting process. The primary reason people/companies forget the answer to question two is because a specific reward was not included in the goal-setting process. Some questions you might ask yourself: When I attain this goal, what will it mean to me? How are am I/we going to feel? Will we have a larger market share? Will we be more profitable so we can then buy a new needed piece of machinery? Will I, if it’s a personal goal, be healthier or happier, or have lower blood pressure?
 
“Motivation” and “emotion” have the same Latin root word. Motus means moved. We are personally moved through emotion. We are not moved through logic. People set New Year’s resolutions logically. Most forget them. Those that follow through always have an emotional attachment to the resolution. They have a reward that means something to them. These people stay focused on the prize, not the price.
 
Here is the formula to put it all together. The formula must be in this order. If the order is changed, the plan will fail and the goal will not be attained.

  1. Reward: When I attain this goal, what will it mean to me/us? How will I feel?
  2. Goal: Where do I/we want to be?
  3. Plan: How do I/we plan to get there?
  4. Effort: What is my/our schedule for following the plan to hit the goal and get the reward?

The author is president, Evans Glass Co., and chairman of the board for the National Glass Association. Write him at bevans@evansglasscompany.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, April 23, 2013

Last week surely was a tough one. Quite frankly, it was hard to focus on work. The emotions from the marathon, to the catastrophic explosion in Texas, to the manhunt and capture at the end of the week really were draining. People much more brilliant than me will continue to weigh in on what that week meant, and will eventually mean, to our world and society. For me, I am just glad it’s over and I hope sincerely for better times ahead.

Elsewhere

  • No doubt that our world is an online one. Last Friday, as the manhunt was going on, I don’t think there were many people not connected to the Internet, following Twitter or even listening online to the Boston Police scanners. In fact, I had a client who had to ask their employees to jump off the web because they were using bandwith at insane levels. We are surely a “now” society when it comes to breaking news.
  • The Mid Atlantic Glass Expo was a huge success from all indicators and reports. There is no question that the region supports that show like no other. Again, I feel we are in prime “show time.” The timing is truly ripe for events that allow people to network, learn and grow.
  • The incredible Julie Ruth wrote a must read piece in the last Glass Magazine on codes. If you are in the business, you really need to read and grasp it. I also know some folks in our industry have some thoughts on these code movements and I have reached out to them for comment on a future post. If you have some angles on it, shoot me a note.
  • The NFRC is still making their type of news on the Energy Star side. While they have softened their language regarding the need for people to sign up (and how they’ll bust them), they now are invoicing immediately. That is, before the program is really even going. Gotta love it. And the program itself is becoming pretty controversial. I’m still learning about it, but my mind is spinning on this one.
  • Last week on the blog, I noted that winter is still here, and sure enough, Mother Nature decided to confirm that by dropping a ton of snow on Colorado and Minnesota. Seriously, enough is enough….
  • Last this week, a happy birthday to one of the hardest working guys in this business, Scott Goodman of Flat Glass Distributors. Knowing Scott, he probably spent his birthday dropping off orders all over Central Florida!


Read on for links and clip 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, April 16, 2013

This past week was pretty quiet in terms of major industry news, so I decided to make this post a quick-hitter piece. Without further delay, here it goes:

  • Last week, I noted the efforts of Bill Evans and his company, which recently coordinated with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes to build handicapped accessible ramping for a disabled veteran in Tennessee. Bill dropped me a line with more details on the project and kudos for the guys that physically got it done. So, thank you to Joel Poole, Terry Gilley, Fred Rowe, Jay Devers and Versie Shannon. It truly was a great thing you did for a family in need!
  • Sad news as yet another long-time industry guy, Lester Peacock, passed away. I met Lester in Houston last year at his last professional home, Binswanger Glass, and he shared with me stories of working with many members of my family in years' past. Lester was a tremendous man, respected by all, who knew more about the ins and outs of the industry and its products than I ever will. He surely will be missed.
  • Did you get your Glass Magazine Award nominations in yet? I know many people who were working on this last week, and for good reason. It is the most prestigious awards program in our industry, especially those awards voted on by the public. So if you haven’t done it, hurry up and do it. Deadline is April 16.
  • Guardian SunGuard launched a revamped website, and I must say, it looks tremendous. I really like the cleaner look and the fact that you have access to everything on the front page. I’m also a fan of the use of “icons,” and Guardian really handled that nicely. Well done folks!
  • Also on that note, there have been some serious web improvements going on in our world. The last three I have noted―Guardian, Viracon, and GGI―have really raised the bar.
  • Last fall, the excellent Dr. Helen Sanders of Sage gave a speech on eco-labeling at the Glazing Executives Forum during GlassBuild America. I have to admit, I had no clue what it was and, unfortunately, did not get to the speech. However, since then I have learned more and more. And then this past week, I ran into this article that really explained the process nicely.
  • I know it’s a week late, but that college basketball championship game was absolutely fantastic. It was easily one of the best games I have ever seen, with both teams playing at the highest level. It was a shame anyone had to lose. Congrats Louisville fans…
  • Last this week… it was 39 degrees and raining last week in Michigan, and 92 and blistering in DC. Ummmm, can someone alert Mother Nature that it's spring, not winter or summer?

Read on for links and clip 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, April 8, 2013

Spring is starting to hit, and trade-show season is about to kick into gear. 2013 is lining up to be an extremely memorable year for shows, and it’s something that everyone in our industry should take as a very positive sign. We’ve had  a good event already with BEC. Next up is the 2013 Glass Expo, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Glass Association, which is looking to be a very strong event. Following that is AIA in Denver, and then the biggie, GlassBuild America in September. The reason all of this is positive is the more attendance and interactivity at these events, the more business gets done, the more connections are made and the more product lines are diversified. It also shows confidence in the industry and economy. Another good sign: companies that have not exhibited in awhile are coming back, along with other organizations that are stepping up and taking on major sponsorships. So here’s the bottom line: While we can look at various indexes to see how the market is doing, it’s really the busy and successful shows―with companies of all sizes, shapes, and segments―that are the real measure of the positive tidings in place and to come.

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of good shows, evidently Glassplex India did very well, and I have been hearing a ton about the growth and potential in that part of the world. Plus, this blog is very popular in India as well, so maybe I’ll go to that event when it comes back in 2015.
  • One of the best people in our industry is Bill Evans of Evans Glass Co. He proved it once again recently, when he and his company coordinated with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes to build handicapped accessible ramping for a disabled veteran in Tennessee. Bill and his company could’ve passed or just done the bare minimum, but of course, they did not. Instead, they went above and beyond and got their mission accomplished in just four days compared to the several months it would’ve taken the VA. It is heartwarming to know we have people in our industry who step up for a family in need and a man who bravely fought for his country and came home severely wounded.
  • Movie to see: “Oz The Great and Powerful” was excellent.  It was a great, unique takeoff of the old Wizard of Oz story,and James Franco was fantastic in the lead role. Plus, Mila Kunis might be the best-looking wicked witch ever.
  • Crazy cool fact online this week about prices of GigaBytes (GB). Take a look at this; it's simply wild how quickly the technology changed pricewise. I just chuckle looking at my flash drives. Price of 1 GB of storage over time: 1981 $300,000; 1987 $50,000; 1990 $10,000; 1994 $1,000; 1997 $100; 2000 $10; 2004 $1; 2012 $0.10.
  • Last this week, baseball has begun, and since I am on a serious roll picking, I need to make my choices. So, here goes… Your playoff teams in the American League will be the Blue Jays, White Sox and Angels, with the Tigers as the wild card. I’ll go with the Angels to win the AL. In the NL, my choices are the Nationals, Reds, Giants and Cardinals, with the Nats winning it and the Nats winning it all in the end. Right now, between the Ravens winning, the Red Hot Caps in hockey and the Nats this fall, it must be nice to be a fan in the DC/Baltimore area.

Read on for links and clip 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.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Time is running out to nominate your best product, project or employee for the 2013 Glass Magazine Awards, with the deadline to submit nominations coming up next Tuesday, April 16.

This year marks the return of the Best Installer, Best Sales Rep, Best Project Manager and Best Production Supervisor awards. To view candidate criteria and submit a nomination, click here. And remember, after determining the finalists in each people-centric category, the editors of Glass Magazine will open voting up to the industry on GlassMagazine.com, where winners will be determined by popular vote. Thousands of glass industry members voted last year, and we're hoping for even more participation in 2013.

In the most innovative product and project categories, Glass Magazine Awards will be given for the following:

  • Most innovative curtain-wall project
  • Most innovative curtain-wall product
  • Most innovative storefront/entrance project
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: commercial interior
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: commercial exterior
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: residential
  • Most innovative decorative glass product
  • Most innovative energy efficient glass project
  • Most innovative energy efficient glass product
  • Most innovative hardware
  • Most innovative bath enclosure project
  • Most innovative machinery/equipment 
  • Most innovative commercial window
  • Most innovative website
  • Most innovative software

More information about the 2013 product and project categories―in addition to instructions for submitting nominations―is available here

Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine, GlassMagazine.com, and e-glass weekly. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Two weeks ago, I attended the 2013 Building Envelope Contractors Conference in Las Vegas, and was struck by the renewed confidence many attendees expressed. I have covered the annual BEC Conference, hosted by the Glass Association of North America, since the pre-recession boom years when attendance neared 700. The downturn saw turnout dwindle to about a third of that during the toughest years, as industry companies struggled to keep doors open (with several notable companies succumbing to that struggle). The mood at those meetings was a mix of trepidation and tenacity. Trepidation gradually turned into anticipation and cautious optimism as some geographic regions started seeing the light at the end of tunnel. And finally, this year, almost everyone I spoke with said business was officially on an upturn (albeit a gradual upturn).

However, the glass industry that is emerging from the downturn is a new industry. While glaziers and suppliers worked to keep afloat, codes and standards became more stringent, building trends changed, the design and construction process evolved, and overseas competitors entered the market in even greater force.  

“In the past five years, our business has changed dramatically,” said John Rovi, business development manager for Sapa Extrusions. Rovi attributed the changes in the industry to the proliferation of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, and the development and adoption of Building Information Modeling. “The way buildings are designed has changed. The players who are involved in the design process, and when they get involved in the process has changed,” Rovi said. “We are moving toward value-added, rather than lowest bid.”

Scott Thomsen, president of the Global Flat Glass Group for Guardian Industries, spoke at length about the changes to the industry, and the new challenges facing businesses, during his keynote presentation, the “Battle for the Wall.”  Thomsen offered some interesting data points demonstrating the scope of the downturn. According to Thomsen, the dollar value of commercial building went from $600 million per year to $250 million per year in just 5 years. Looking at the domestic glass industry, “there were 42 float lines running in North America in 2007. Today there are 30,” he said.  

A major theme of Thomsen’s talk was the toughening code and standard arena, and the potential threat of the push for stringency on the industry. This message was echoed by Tom Culp, president of Birch Point Consulting. Energy codes have increased in stringency by 30 percent in recent years, and another 5-to-7 percent increase is coming, Culp said. While the glass industry successfully fought to avoid a 25 percent reduction in the amount of glass permissible in the envelope of commercial buildings in the 2010 ASHRAE 90.1 standard, glass is under attack again in the 2013 ASHRAE 189.1 green code, Culp said. “We need to be concerned about this. … We need your help,” Culp told attendees. “We need individual companies to get behind this." (For background on the code and standard updates, you can look to this November 2012 feature from the magazine).

One new addition to the codes will likely be envelope commissioning, and contract glaziers, in particular, need to be prepared. “This will mean closer attention to details at the glazing/air barrier; a focus on quality control,” Culp said.

"It doesn't matter if you like [the code changes]. They are coming. Take it as an opportunity,” Culp said.

The last five years have also seen an increase in overseas competition. An influx of low-cost aluminum imports from China led to a recent institution of countervailing duties on Chinese aluminum products, including curtain wall. Read Glass Magazine coverage of the overall anti-dumping duties for aluminum, and the Department of Commerce’s decision to include curtain wall products within the scope of the duties.

David Spooner, an international trade lawyer from Squire Sanders Public Advocacy LLC, discussed the new tariffs on Chinese curtain wall during the meeting. Ports are currently collecting tariffs of 171 percent on imports of curtain-wall units from China, he said; however, the scope of tariff is unclear as to whether it covers similar products such as storefront and window wall. Spooner provided a word of warning to glaziers to “be careful of transshipment, mislabeling and undervaluation of imports.”

"If you hear of fraud or circumvention, you can report it to Customs,” Spooner said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has established an on-line system for individuals to report illegal import and export activity.

Despite the new challenges and the changing marketplace, attendees at the conference expressed optimism and excitement about the industry as it emerges from the downturn.

Devlin is senior editor for Glass Magazine. Write her at kdevlin@glass.org.

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