glassblog

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For years, I have been blogging about the NFRC, and along the way I had more than a few people tell me I was missing the boat: that while the NFRC had issues, my sights should have been on the USGBC and their LEED program. I understood their angst but I never really dug into it. Well, I guess now I don't have to as a class-action lawsuit against the USGBC has been filed. This one should be very fascinating to follow.

The suit was filed by a gentleman named Henry Gifford, who for years has been outspoken about the USGBC and LEED programs. Gifford basically alleges everything and more that the anti-USGBC crowd has been crowing about for years. After the suit was filed, the blogosphere blew up with articles and comments about this issue as it will be a hot one. Right now, the USGBC owns the green building world. Many others have come in and tried (Spirit, Green Globes, SEED, etc.) and never came close to getting the footing that USGBC and LEED enjoy.

Great reading here for the actual complaint and here for an opinion piece comparing Gifford to Rosa Parks. Check out the comments below on the second link for some interesting takes, including Gifford himself with a quick comment. As one poster said perfectly, it's like "as the 'Green Building Turns'."

Elsewhere...

  • Somewhere I think the Phillies and Yankees lost because I predicted them in the World Series. Anyway, I look forward to a Giant-Ranger tilt... love the stories behind the Rangers... but this will surely be a series of great pitching (Giants) vs. hitting (Rangers). Surely not as sexy of a matchup (like Yanks-Phils) but should be very good.
  • The good news of the overall Architectural Billings Index breaking the magical 50 mark for the first time in almost three years is probably tempered some by the regionality of the scores. The scores for the Northeast and Midwest surely skewed the score as the West and South are still showing very meager results. Still though, positive news is awesome. If the momentum continues, it would jive with the predictions that the comeback will hit our industry in the second half of 2011. It is still a long way away, but at least possibly a light at the end of the tunnel. To read the official report on the ABI, click here. 
  • And speaking of the links, I have been trying to get them to pop up in their own windows but I am inept at making that work. No clue why it won't work for me, so until I figure it out (or someone smarter walks me through it), I apologize for making you click forward and back.
  • Back to the good news economy-wise: you have to assume PPG having a record third-quarter earnings-wise is also good news for the overall state of business. Though I am sure that the PPG sales guys probably hate when announcements like that come out for the obvious reasons...
  • I was in Vegas last week and every second commercial was for a personal injury lawyer... that's what the world has come to out there, which is sad. Best tag line from one of these classic ambulance chasers was: "In a wreck... Get a check".... Yeesh... 

Read on for links of the week...

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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, October 18, 2010

Last week, I was one of about 27,000 attendees at the Solar Power International conference and expo, held Oct. 12-14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. With global demand for solar products doubling in the last year, according to SPI, the mood across the three exhibition floors was optimistic. "The market is just exploding," said Patrick Thompson, solar business unit leader for AGC Glass Co., with North American headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga. "In the United States, the market is being driven by three factors. One, proximity to growing U.S. customer base. In solar, you can't wait for product to be shipped from overseas. Two, legislation. Three, the cost of the systems. The cost of solar is going down, while the cost of fossil fuels is going up. It's nearing cost competitiveness."

The expo hosted more than 1,100 exhibitors, up from 925 exhibitors at the show last year in Anaheim, Calif. Walking the floor, I saw a lot of familiar faces, and one thing became apparent—the glass industry has gone solar. From glass manufacturers to equipment suppliers to adhesive and film companies, glass industry companies are getting in the solar game. Below are some comments from glass industry representatives I met last week. You can also check out some photo galleries from the show.

Many of the glass industry exhibitors I visited had recently entered the solar market. The growth in solar coincided with the economic downturn and drop off in construction, providing a perfect opportunity for many industry companies to explore the market. Isra Solar Vision, Duluth, Ga., began targeting the solar industry "when the economy went into a slide three years ago," said Robert Shepherd, sales manager of the optical inspection equipment supplier. "We had the technology. We just had to tweak a couple of systems to be specific to solar."

"We've seen tremendous growth in solar," said Patrick Martens, western states territory manager, renewable energy, for Adco Solar, Michigan Center, Mich. "We've been involved in solar for three years, and we were well positioned to get into the market, as we have a background in roofing adhesives, and in insulating glass adhesives. We know how to keep moisture out."

Deepak Hariharan, business manager, Adhesives Research Electronics Business, Glen Rock, Pa., says his company has been involved in solar for about five years, supplying its tapes and adhesive products. Hariharan says that, while the products are similar to those it supplies for the insulating glass industry—both have longevity requirements—solar products have to be able to withstand direct exposure to ultraviolet light.

H.B. Fuller Co., St. Paul, Minn., is also a recent entrant in the solar market. The company has been involved in solar for three years, taking its expertise of the insulating glass industry and bringing it over to solar. "There are many similar concepts between insulating glass sealants and sealants required for solar," said Heidi Hoglund, senior chemist for H.B. Fuller's Global Window Business.

Glass cutting and handling equipment supplier Hegla Corp., with North American headquarters in Forest Park, Ga., displayed at SPI for the second year. "We've been in the solar industry for five years," said Thomas Bechill, sales manager. Several of Hegla's machines for the solar industry are scaled down versions of its machines for the glass industry, as solar panels are generally smaller than architectural glass lites, he said.

Tekna USA Corp., an aluminum processing machinery company with North American headquarters in Crystal Lake, Ill., has been aggressively targeting the solar industry for a few years, said Giovanni Barbareschi. "With the economy down for the other segments, we're focusing on solar," he said. "Our subsidiary in Spain has been supplying lines for [photovoltaic] for two or three years." Tekna supplies machines for both solar panel frames and racking systems.

I spoke with several other companies on the show floor that have a much longer history in solar, including AGC Glass Co., Japan. "AFG has made products for solar for 30-plus years," said Gus Trupiano, solar market development manager for AGC Solar. AGC had a range of solar products on display, including photovoltaic cover glass, glass substrates with TCO film for thin film applications, fluoropolymer film for backing sheets and sputtering targets for electrodes.

Dow Corning, Midland, Mich., a first-time exhibitor at SPI, has also "had a hand in solar for a long time," said Donald Buchalski, senior marketing specialist, PV module assembly, Solar Business Unit. "We did work 25 years ago with BP Solar." Dow Corning showed its range of solar products, from solar encapsulants to sealants and adhesives.

C.R. Laurence Co., Los Angeles, has been in the solar business for about 15 years, but has upped its involvement since solar demand has increased in recent years, according to John Czopek, machinery brand manager. CRL offers a range of products for the solar industry, many of which are the same as or similar to product it supplies for the glass industry, including installation and handling equipment, sealants, and machinery and equipment.

Madico, Woburn, Mass., a window and specialty film supplier, entered the solar market in about 1990, said John Storms, senior sales manager. "Now over half of our business is in solar," he said. "The market really took off in the last year." Madico supplies films for the backsheet of solar panels.

Next year, SPI is heading to Dallas, Oct. 17-20 at the Dallas Convention Center, and I expect the glass industry presence to be even larger. Will you be there? 

--By Katy Devlin, associate editor

Monday, October 18, 2010

As you will read in e-glass weekly, our industry has won a pretty significant victory in the code world as the ASHRAE appeals panel has OVERTURNED the two most controversial and possibly damaging code items from ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Folks--plain and simple--this is a great moment for us as an industry.

The plan for reduction of the window-to-wall ratio and the new minimums for Visible Light/Solar Heat Gain have been rebuffed. The excitement is because our industry worked together with a common goal, and for the first time since we started this concerted process (I started in 2004), we have a victory. (We've even lost when we won votes at NFRC 49-6... so believe me to get a win like this is huge.)

The bottom line is we are stronger as an organized group than we are as individuals, and quite frankly, we are only trying to do what's sensible. No one is against energy efficiency; quite the opposite really. But we want to do it logically, without destroying our industry. This announcement surely starts that process. Congrats to Dr. Culp and the Aluminum Extruder Council, Urmilla Sowell and Bill Yanek of GANA, Marg Webb and IGMA, Guardian, AGC, and Pilkington for filing the appeals and fighting it to the end. Truly monumental!

Elsewhere...

  • I was completely bummed to miss Solar Power International last week in LA. When I went last year it was an amazing show and people were so incredibly hopeful. So to those of you who went, any insight on the mood there would be great. Something tells me it wasn't as cheery as last year but probably still better than most shows have been.
  • Best line of the week: the guy who said the housing market forecast was in various "shades of lousy"... Oh man, that line just hit it on the head. So if the housing market is "shades of lousy," the commercial building market must be shades of words that can't be typed on a family blog eh?
  • Is there anything more frustrating than flying? Seriously? Last week I saw TSA make a big issue out of an iPad. The TSA agent said the iPad either had to ride alone in a bin OR stay in the guy's briefcase. Umm, I don't get that logic; do you? Well, when the guy complained, off to extra screening he went. 
  • Then, on the plane--the packed, steamy hot plane--two rows ahead me (and shockingly not in my row) a young lady boarded late holding a child that had to be at least 1. She only had one seat: a middle seat. And so that row, even though the child was small (it sure wasn't a "baby" in my mind), had four people jammed in for three hours. Miserable. The thing I thought was that baby is bigger than a laptop, yet you can't hold a laptop on your lap for takeoff or touchdown....
  • Look out Ashley Elementary, my son was passed the activist gene. Young Zach was elected to student council... I can't wait 'til he starts a blog railing about the new evil lunch procedure and how the lunch ladies just march in lockstep with the paraprofessionals working the floor. 

    Read on for links of the week...

 

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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, October 12, 2010

Up and down news week for me…. First on the down side, the depressing news about the closing of Mid Ohio Tempering by the UGC… It really is very sad and upsetting news…. aside from folks losing their jobs (which is very depressing obviously and the most important) there’s a historical piece here as the original founder of this company, Jack Deyo, is another one of those guys (like I noted Eric Rapp to be last week) that would be first ballot industry hall of famers (in my opinion). Seeing his place go down in this manner, with him helpless to do anything (UGC and Jack parted a few years ago) had to be pure misery. The facility, which possibly could’ve had a buyer (especially with rumors of a west coast guy opening up in Columbus) will be remembered in my mind for its commitment to quality and customers. I guess stripping the facility and sending equipment elsewhere was the better deal in their minds. My thoughts go out to all of the folks affected by this news and I hope they can land somewhere good. (And if the rumor of someone opening in C-Bus is true, the new company has ready-made and motivated workforce).

Read more ....

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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, October 11, 2010

The current administration has emphasized that energy efficiency – as an energy policy – is both strategically and economically important for this nation. Buildings use 40 percent of this nation’s energy for cooling, heating, lighting, and ventilation; therefore it is imperative that we use our resources wisely through appropriate building design and use of energy efficient products.

In consideration of this fact, NFRC is pleased to announce that a recent study reveals that using the Component Modeling Approach can help to improve building energy efficiency.

The independent study, recently conducted by the Heschong Mahone Group (HMG), indicates that CMA offers important benefits for construction professionals. The HMG study reveals that the use of CMA provided an increase of 11.7 percent in energy compliance margins compared to default fenestration rating values. While this study was confined to buildings in California, it strongly implies that similar results can be achieved elsewhere.

This is an important benefit because it provides users with greater accuracy and assistance in meeting requirements for above-code incentive programs. 

The 11.7 percent additional compliance margin was obtained by modeling an office building with 20.8 percent window-to-floor area ratio. Additional compliance margins were found to be generally associated with buildings using more fenestration. The conclusions that can be drawn from the study include the following:

  • Higher compliance margins. For buildings in the state of California, fenestration modeled with the CMA program can provide an increase in compliance margin by 11.7 percent compared to other available options.
  • More accurate HVAC loads modeling and sizing. CMA provides the most accurate values of window energy and visible performance, meaning more accurate thermal load estimates and right-sized HVAC systems.
  • More benefits from above-code incentive programs. For performance-based energy incentive programs such as Savings By Design, where financial incentives are available to building owners when efficiency exceeds minimum thresholds, energy efficiency is likely to be boosted as a result of CMA use, which provides designers the ability to accurately rate fenestration, and avoid the use of more punitive calculation methods. That means more incentive dollars (to a maximum of $108,373 for the largest project utilizing the most glazing included in this study) for the increased compliance margins. 

The wide scope of advantages CMA brings to the marketplace makes it an exciting innovation that is likely to gain traction across the country. How would you use the more accurate energy performance ratings provided by CMA?

--Jim Benney is the National Fenestration Rating Council’s chief executive officer. He has been involved in developing product and performance standards for the window and glass industry for more than 25 years. He can be reached at jbenney@nfrc.org.

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, October 4, 2010

glasstec celebrated its 40th year and 21st show this year with the introduction of solarpeq 2010, International Trade Fair for Solar Production Equipment. solarpeq took place concurrently with glasstec, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, in Dusseldorf. A total of 1,274 exhibitors and about 45,000 trade visitors took part in both trade fairs. One-third of the visitors also were interested in the range of exhibits at solarpeq.

While exhibitors brought their innovations to the show, glass and glazing experts mostly agreed that there were more improvements than new machines that jumped out. As Dino Fenzi, president of Vitrum, aptly described: There are no "revolutionary" machines, but more "evolutionary" improvements.

There was the obvious emphasis on solar, as "most traditional glass suppliers packaged their low-iron glasses and TCO coatings for the solar market," said Mike Rupert, director, Technical Services, PPG Glass Business and Discovery Center, Pittsburgh. Decorative printing on glass was another emphasis, as suppliers of decorative glass machines were aplenty at the show. "Decorative glass seemed to dominate the halls at glasstec this year, even more so than two years ago," said Chris Mammen, president, M3 Glass Technologies, Irving, Texas. "Printed glass, printed interlayer, and painted glass mostly, but many other applications were also present," he said.

"Energy savings" and "sustainability" were the clear buzz words at the show. To meet new, government-mandated codes worldwide, glass and glazing companies are investing in triple glazing, some in vacuum glazing, said Russ Ebeid, Glass Group president, Guardian Industries Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich. Europe is using triple glazing, and the United States will as well, in a couple of years, he said. "Either could be a game changer."

What was your impression of the show?

Monday, October 4, 2010

We are just a few short weeks away from a moment that could have a massive effect on our business lives. Like no other time in my life, the mid-term elections are something to follow and hope that whatever the outcome, positive movement for business happens. It's seemingly every month that the ABI totals mention the icy cold credit markets, which is pretty much hampering a large part of our industry. Will the outcomes in November be able to get things to thaw? I hope so. Regardless--and sadly--we are headed for a very cold winter that's for sure. I do look forward to what the analysts and experts in our industry predict for 2011, and I'd expect to start seeing some of those comments soon.

Elsewhere...

  • Hey, did you see that construction spending went up 0.4 percent in August? Break out the champagne! The increase was led by government projects... you know like there's anything but government projects these days...
  • One of these years I'm gonna have to get to glasstec. Just reading all of the coverage makes it sound so unreal.
  • Saw at glasstec the announcement of a new warm-edge spacer technology. The material from Infinite Edge Technologies was founded by Eric Rapp and I think it's just tremendous to have Eric and family back in the day-to-day grind of our industry. I'm a big fan of the Rapp clan, and quite frankly when the Glass Hall of Fame opens, Eric Rapp needs to be a charter member. Best of luck guys! 

Read more...

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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, September 27, 2010

Well, I'm sure people aren't clicking here this week to get my feelings on the new cast of Dancing with the Stars. No, I'd bet (and I know because of my e-mail traffic) that because of my past associations, they want to know how I feel on the return of Leon to the glass business. Well, I am going to possibly disappoint because I am taking a different tact.

Everyone and their mother (including mine, she's feisty about this issue!) has an opinion on Leon himself, but for me, there are two other parts to this deal. Rick Silverstein and Manny Valladares are partners in this thing and that's the huge key. Rick (or it "Richard" now? I've known the guy for 10 years and never once heard him called "Richard") is very well known and connected with the customer base in South Florida, while Manny is easily one of the most talented guys I have ever had the honor of working with. So, while the publicity comes from one side, the real meat comes from these guys.

Now, there is no doubt there are tons of other issues that will be at work here and this will be something to watch/monitor/comment on, but I think for now it will be interesting to sit back and see what tone is set and how the overall acceptance or possible lack thereof plays out. 

Read more...

Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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, September 27, 2010

But they are not without value. And despite their differences, most point upwards.

"[Solar market] forecasts tend to be wildly different from source to source and from quarter to quarter," says Patrick Barnds, market segment director, Energy, Guardian Industries. "After studying it for a few years now, the one thing that we can say with a high degree of certainty is that all the forecasts are probably wrong. There are just too many factors that have the potential to impact the growth rates over time. These include technical developments, government policy and incentives, industry capacity, the cost of power generation from existing sources (i.e. oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydro-electric), etc."

That doesn't mean the glass industry shouldn't prepare for growth in the solar market, however. We still need to develop a forecast, Barnds says. "In fact, it's critical for our [Guardian] plant and asset planning purposes if we are going to invest ahead of demand and market needs."

Guardian, for example, expects the North American photovoltaic market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of between 23-31 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to Barnds. "From 2015 to 2020, we expect the CAGR to be closer to 33-35 percent. There will be some bumps along the way, and we don't expect the growth curve to be smooth. However, we believe that the averages are reasonable in any three to five-year period."

At PPG, Wayne Boor, manager, solar technology transfer, for the company's performance glazings business, said solar glazings could account for 10 to 20 percent of flat glass sales, if not more, by 2015.

And at GlassBuild America, Richard Voreis, CEO, Consulting Collaborative, reported PV worldwide installations could double by year-end 2012.

These are big numbers. As to how accurate they are, only time will tell. As Barnds points out, there are a lot of factors in play. Here in Colorado—where solar panels are becoming a more common sight—it's easy to see a future in which residential and commercial buildings are powered by the sun. But what are you seeing in your market? Are these forecasts in line with your expectations? 

The author is editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Well, another GlassBuild is in the books. Overall, I thought the show was very positive. The vibe there did fall on the side of hopeful, and the buzz about the future was encouraging. Yes, there were some rough parts, like some slow and spotty crowds and some key people missing, but considering the climate we are in, I would easily deem the show a success. The people that came and walked the show gained from the new and exciting things they saw, and for the most part, the exhibitors should have gained from a focused attendee base, not just people using the show as an excuse to be in Vegas. The hope here is when we meet back up in Atlanta next year, we're talking about how much better things are than now. 

Elsewhere...

  • One theme that I spent time on was the fact that back in 2005 when things were rolling, did any of us sit back and say "Wow, this is great!" Chances are you didn't, so I think when times change again we'll be able to appreciate them more.
  • Vegas itself really is an amazing place... from the awesome architecture and design (and my goodness the interiors of the CityCenter were incredible) to just the cheese factor that is Vegas. Like hundreds of people watching the show outside of Treasure Island. Lip synched songs and fire I guess attracts 'em in. But the other wild thing is getting up at 4 a.m. to catch the 6 a.m. flight and seeing the hotel lobby and casino packed. That can only happen in Vegas.  

Read more...

Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.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.

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