PGC panel discusses security vs. energy efficiency

Sahely Mukerji
November 13, 2008
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : MEETINGS AND EVENTS

The Protective Glazing Council Annual Symposium ended with a Building Owner’s Perspective Panel. Joseph Smith, Applied Research Associates, Albuquerque, N.M., moderated the panel of three: Willie Hirano, engineer, Office of Construction Programs, Public Buildings Service, GSA; Ron Burton, Building Owners and Managers Association, Washington, D.C.; and John Knezevich, president, Knezevich Consulting, Lauderdale by the Sea, Fla.

It’s been seven years since the last major terrorist attack in the U.S., and as a result, the government’s priority has shifted from security to energy-efficiency. So, what can the council do to bring more government people to its meetings, asked Scott Haddock, GlassLock Inc., Easton, Md. The GSA has added divisions since Sept. 11, 2001, but funding for security projects is down, Hirano said. “It doesn’t help to just push a security product. We need to see the whole window, not parts and fragments, but all the aspects, energy and security.”

Energy efficiency is taking over terrorism [concerns] for BOMA members too, Burton said. “This organization needs to reach out to us to see how we can plug you in to our security issues,” he said. “We believe it’s not the question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ the next terrorism attack will take place. We’re working with other trade organizations in the D.C. area. We share information and work as a team at code hearings. We need to be aware of what you’re doing and plug each other in," he said.

BOMA’s mission changed since Sept. 11, 2001, Burton said. “The focus was more on how we can help building owners with terrorism issues,” he said. “[However] right now, the biggest driver is energy efficiency and sustainability. We’re starting to see that buildings labeled ‘sustainable’ get more rent in the market." Energy use is the second largest expense in a building; first is taxes.

Raj Goyal, Architectural Testing Inc., York, Pa., asked about the status of the building security program of the GSA and its 2009 initiatives. Hirano pointed him to www.oca.gsa.gov. The WINGARD LE’s being upgraded and should be out in less than two months, Hirano said, but other than that, the GSA’s still looking at its 2009 budget.

Julia Schimmelpenningh, architectural technical manager, Saflex, Solutia Inc., St. Louis, asked whether there was any move to make the WINGARD available on a wider scope, and Hirano said there was a difference of opinion on that within the GSA, but it’s being considering.

Quincy Alexander, Applied Research Associates Inc., asked Hirano if he anticipated GSA specifications will have coordinated energy and security requirements, and he responded that if not now “they’ll have to be coordinated down the road.”

Another attendee asked who was on the Interagency Security Committee and what changes could he expect to see. Hirano said the members were from GSA, Homeland Security and the Justice Department. “The big change is further emphasis on the design basis threat side of it,” he said.