Monday, February 29, 2016

Currently, I have been on my “soap box” relating to the topic of “Engineering Judgement” letters in the façade and curtain wall industry. Unfortunately, I see too many written statements that often lack both engineering and judgement. (On a related topic, “Value Engineering”, often a synonym to some for “cheap” and without engineering, tends to drive some of these statements, but I digress, as that topic is for another blog.) “Engineering Judgement” is the term typically used when someone wants or needs a letter, or a written statement, to show the comparison or similarity of an existing product, system, or assembly, to a tested standard. This can be a direct comparison of the particular system application itself versus the industry standards; or comparison to a different but similar project or system.

One such example concerns comparisons to the NFPA 285 “Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.” Another example would be comparing fire-safing assemblies to test specimens; using a firestop to inhibit flame spread between floors between the back of the curtain wall and the slab edge.

So what is my issue? There is nothing wrong with a legitimate engineering judgement approach. In fact it is not always necessary to test every component or system on every job. But too often I see engineering judgement letters that stretch reality in an effort to satisfy a requirement in a spec, to make a sale, or to be the low-cost line item in a bid, but without credibility. (It’s akin to using a photocopier to make a copy of another copy, which has been made from an earlier copy of the correct, clear, original version.)

In one instance, I recently read a judgement letter comparing a particular exterior cladding system and its test specimen to the NFPA 285 test. The product information indicated that the system comprised of their material was “NFPA 285” approved. Upon further review it was found to be benchmarked against an old UBC standard that wasn’t anything like the NFPA specimen. In fact, there was never a single NFPA test performed to which one could compare. Sadly, an engineer had written a statement saying that it was the same or equivalent; that the data could be extracted to validate the same results. This was not close to reality.

Often, we also find engineering judgement letters on the topic of fire-safing that leave much to be desired as compared to tested assemblies. In fact it may be the most common type of judgement letter I see. A letter from a sales staffer or manufacturer’s representative on company letterhead alone doesn’t mean something qualifies as acceptable. 

As a further comparison, in the surveying world it is important to benchmark from a given reference point. You don’t benchmark from a different point or construction stake from one marker to the next. This same principal applies to engineering judgement. The judgement should be referenced to a tested standard, not a reference of a reference to a standard that loosely applies.

We need to think more critically about engineering judgements. Remember, we are installing REAL products and assemblies on REAL buildings with REAL people inside and outside the structure. Safety and comfort to occupants and pedestrians is a key issue, along with durability. It would be beneficial if more realized that a building code is the MINIMUM acceptable standard required for the built environment, not the maximum. Compare what you receive with what the standard defines. Hold everyone accountable to the same standards. Keep the playing field level. If we want to advance the glass, glazing, façade and construction industry at large, we have to show it with our actions and integrity; holding ourselves and our industry to higher standards and accurate reporting.

John Wheaton is the founder & co-owner of Wheaton & Sprague Engineering, Inc., also known as Wheaton Sprague Building Envelope. The firm provides full service design, engineering and consulting services for the curtain wall/building envelope/building enclosure industry, and works at “Creating Structure” for clients. He can be reached at and on Twitter, @JohnLWheaton1. 

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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Over the last two weeks, the National Glass Association and Glass Magazine launched an amazing resource, one that I think is a must to have bookmarked for future use, especially considering the adventures of supply. The very slick website can continue to help with the information and communication flow in our industry. I advise you if you have not checked it out to do so and consider a subscription to stay fully up to date. Congrats to the folks at NGA and Glass Magazine on this excellent proactive piece. 


  • Monitoring the Architectural Billings Index as always: the latest scores for January were slightly off coming in at 49.6. (50 is the break even). New product inquiries also were down from December. The good news was a nice bounce out of the northeast, and the fact that January historically has had softer numbers. I am not worried on 2016 at all at this point and will be watching the February totals on both the ABI and the Dodge Momentum Index for any signs of true weakness.
  • Speaking of 2016, Glass Magazine had a great article in the most recent edition on the potential growth in our industry. 
  • Actually that entire issue of Glass Magazine is loaded. Great articles on:

The energy code adventures in Florida

Structural Glass (which is a VERY hot product area right now)

Tips to avoid labor shortage issues- which obviously is a major deal in our world these day.

Next week I’ll hit you with my favorite ad from that issue as well…

  • I have written a few times about the difficulty our industry has finding project managers. I do think I have another position that can rival that: CAD Technician. Looking on various job boards and the need for CAD people both in our industry and out is really mind blowing. On that note, it is good to see many high schools (including where my kids attend) offering 4 years of CAD classes as this surely looks like an area the world needs. Maybe we can get schools to offer glass and glazing project management to help on that problem, too!
  • More industry meetings this week with IGMA and GANA having technical conferences in California. I am unable to attend, but will follow along online as much as possible. It’s at these conferences where much of the heavy lifting happens with regards to standards and guidelines in the glass and glazing industry. So keeping tabs on it is very important.
  • Last this week; I was reviewing a residential interior design site and looking at some of the projects that they felt were best in the past year. The one thing that stood out to me was the amount of glass that was used, specifically decorative glass used as countertops, wall cladding, and backsplashes. Decorative glass has been growing on the exterior quite a bit and being used in more and more commercial interior applications, but the residential application is looking like a very hot area and one where more and more glass can be used in place of other building products. 

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

Max Perilstein 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

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 23, 2016

We’re about halfway into first quarter 2016 and many companies still don’t have a sales strategy. Others have made goals, but no plan. In 2015, the fenestration industry was filled with business changes. But one question remains constant: does your company sales plan match your goals?

As an example, a start-up out of California desperately needs and wants sales. They have changed sales managers and staffing time and again, never staying long enough with any one particular strategy to make it successful. This company now has the strategy to win a project, no matter the price. They see it as market domination. They will take all available and attractive projects at any price so that those they consider competition will not be able to compete, perhaps in hopes that the competition will wither and die. What they fail to realize is the absolute abundance within this business. Opportunities abound.

This company goes to great lengths to get attention and will spend exorbitant amounts of money to have the largest tradeshow booth or make the most noise with the latest building they practically gave their products away for. They are so self-absorbed they fail to notice that they actually turn people off. They create a cult of personality at the top of the company and a culture that is wrought with disdain and frustration at all levels. Mistrust and disillusion fester under the surface because the employees know the messaging doesn’t fit the product or the culture.  

Another example is a company acquired by a large multinational corporation that employs the tactics of trying to compete with the California start-up. It is an all-out race to the bottomless pit, where they are willing to drop the price at the first hint of competition. They will do ridiculous promotional pieces that advertise to the wrong audience, so the messaging, although neat, gets lost. They will have two booths at tradeshows in hopes that they will not be outdone by the flashy start-up. 

Because of the big pockets of the parent corporation, this company has the false sense of security that the pressure is off and it can outlast the new start-up. What they fail to realize is that if the parent has a division--even in a distant country or in an entirely different industry--that is not performing and causes enough pain, they will start to contemplate the purge of all divisions and holdings that do not bring positive results.

That brings us back to the beginning. Do you have a sound sales and marketing strategy? If you do not have one, why not? A plan makes it easy to measure where you’re at against your goal. So what is the goal of every company? Create one thing and one thing only. Profits. The number of projects you win does not matter if you make no money. It is a giant waste of time to do all of the things we do every day if we cannot make money doing it.

If your sales and marketing plans do not support the bottom line of making profits, then they are all misguided. Analyze your business and determine what you do best. Then prompt your sales team to seek more sales that support that part of your business in 2016. As you watch the growth in the desirable parts of your business, you will also notice how your profits increase. This will pay big dividends to you and your investors. Which, by the way, is the real reason to be in business.

Chad Simkins is vice president of Pleotint and vice president of sales for Thompson IG. He can be reached at 

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 22, 2016

Before I get into the BEC recap and rundown, I have one big follow-up from last week. I wrote on the wire glass situation in Canada and had a feeling that there had to be more to it. Thanks to Thom Zaremba, I was updated that the Canadian General Standards Board has already published for public comment a new, draft safety-glazing standard. Here is the website with the review. The public comment period ends next month, so if you have an interest in this issue, taking some time to review and comment is a must. 

BEC 2016 kicked off this week. Here are my highlights…

  • The opening reception from Viracon was jam-packed. The room was a bit tough to work being a long rectangle, but still, a nice event.
  • The State of the Industry speech via Serge Martin of AGC had plenty of interesting takes, but a big part of his piece was collaboration with suppliers to make sure everyone can get supply. That’s something I have hit on many times.
  • The panel on oversize glass was very strong, as was the presentation by architect Kai-uwe Bergmann. I was also pleased with Dr. Tom Culp and Urmilla Sowell as they covered the crucial code and tech subjects. Overall lots of insight. If you want to really get a fast flavor of it, go check out the Twitter feed of @GlassMag. Editor Katy Devlin provides great social coverage. 
  • Of course no industry event would be complete without my usual “seen and met” part of the blog. I usually only get to see people like this twice a year--BEC and GlassBuild America--and I love it. (Though the people who see me, not so much! Ha Ha.) So here goes…

Ended up on the same plane out to Vegas with Chris “Megatron” Dolan of Guardian. He’s still earning that nickname by doing it all. And I’m glad I saw him on the plane; once the show started, I didn’t get to see him the rest of the way. I was very excited to see my old friend Shelly Farmer; she just landed a great gig with SC Railing. That’s a good match of person and company for sure. I was happy to meet Brian Filipiak of Alliance Glazing; nice guy, and his company has a great Twitter feed. While with Brian, I ran into the Hollywood poster boy, Viracon’s Cameron Scripture. Such a good man, and still looks exactly the same as he did from when I met him probably 10 years ago. 

Catching up with Kelly Schuller of Viracon was awesome as well. My trip was improved because I spent time with three different Steves… Martin (OCBE) LeBlanc (Contract Glaziers) and Cohen (PPG). Excellent gentlemen all. 

I really love the younger folks that are becoming a presence at these events. That is important for the industry. Spending a few minutes with the sharp couple Lindsay and Dustin Price was super, as well as meeting Mike Macurak of DM Products. In addition, Tim Mackin from DM was there and he wins the award for best dressed on night one. 

The classy industry folks were out in force as well, with folks like Max Hals and Ian Patlin of Paragon, as well as Tom O’Malley from Clover Architectural, and James Wright from Glass Coatings & Concepts. Talking with them is always uplifting.
Old friends are always great to see. I have not seen Bob Cummings of Hartung in years. He’s another guy who refuses to age. Same with Joe Carlos of Triview, Gus Trupiano, and my old Ohio U buddy Rodger Ruff of AGC.

Missed: I heard, unfortunately, that Ruby Singh of GlassFab had to cancel. That was a bummer for me. I also was bummed I never ran into Felix Munson of Anchor Ventana. Great person who I’ll have to catch up with soon.

  • Last: A congrats to Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning. He did a great job with yet another conference and his care for the industry is true.

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

Max Perilstein 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

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 15, 2016

A major, though often ignored, threat to all glass and glazing companies lies with their computer technology. Every day, companies rely on computers to process orders, create designs, fabricate product and handle shipments, putting them at great risk when viruses, data loss or Internet scams strike.

Data loss caused by technology failure or by computer viruses can debilitate a company, potentially leading to business closures. Consider, 60 percent of companies that lose their data will shut down within a year, according to Boston Computing Network. Even more alarming, 93 percent of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year—50 percent of those companies filed for bankruptcy immediately, according to Boston Computing Network.  

Internet scams, on the other hand, are increasingly sophisticated and can cost a business thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention lost time. Such scams can also put a company’s survival at risk, depending on the extent of the theft. According to the FBI, businesses lost $1.2 billion in recent years in one of the other most common scams, business email compromise, or CEO fraud (in this troubling scam, thieves phish a company executive’s email address and submit fraudulent orders or wire transfer requests that appear to originate from the executive). Scams involving a fake shipping scam are also pervasive among small and mid-size businesses.

Glass Magazine will be presenting an article series addressing mass data loss and scam threats to help glass companies protect their businesses. If you have suffered data loss or been the target of scams and want to share your experience, let us know. Or, if you have set up protections against such threats, we'd like to hear your stories. You can complete the survey below, or you can email me directly at

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The issue of wire glass usage in safety areas in the United States was once a major story. But over time codes changed, different products became more available, and overall information on where and how to use traditional wire glass was abundant and respected. I actually thought this was the case in Canada too, so I was taken aback when I saw the news coverage from the Canadian TV news show 16X9, showing some frightening issues from structures in Canadian schools using wire glass (full gigantic pieces, no less) in dangerous areas. It’s a pretty sobering piece and one I am sure has “the other side of the story” to it as well. Regardless, it’s frustrating that in some cases, according to the video, nothing is being done to improve the situation. 


  • The Dodge Momentum Index went higher in January, at 2.4 percent overall. Commercial was +1.6 percent and Institutional +3.3 percent. So a nice start to the year for that index. The latest ABI will be out end of next week.
  • Speaking of next week, the annual BEC event is in Las Vegas starting Sunday and running through midday Tuesday. My post next week will feature some flavor from the event and of course the who’s who from all that attended. I’ll also do some live tweeting and I would expect you’d see great social coverage from @GlassMag as well. So if you can’t attend, you’ll be up to speed no matter what.
  • One of my favorite contests ever is seeking nominations for its 2016 edition. The Eastman Vanceva World of Color Awards is back once again. I love this contest and the amazing projects that get recognized. For more information on submitting your project, click here. Someday I will be a judge a contest like this... 
  • Did anyone else see this link that my friend Ted Bleecker tweeted out this week? It’s pretty much the toughest look at glass usage in buildings you will ever read. Wow. 
  • Question for those presenters out there: how many of you use the “Prezi” format for your PowerPoint-style presentations? And do you like it? Feel free to comment or just drop me a line. My kids use it all the time and I have done a couple, but curious if it’s growing in our industry.
  • The Super Bowl was fun. Happy for friends like Marty Richardson of Metropolitan Glass in Denver who saw their team win, and once again my online pick here went the opposite. Sorry Panther fans. The ads were just OK. I was surely confused why Advil needed to take an ad out and somewhat frustrated by three different pharmaceutical ads. That was 15 million+ right there. No wonder our prescription costs are through the roof. But anyway, for creativity some winners in my book: T-Mobile was clutch using Steve Harvey in the same role of his disaster from Miss Universe, and rap star Drake in a front running role. Well done. I loved the Doritos baby commercial, though many online did not. My winner though was the commercial for Avocados from Mexico. Smart, funny, and creative. The best visual and line too: “this was a form of torture in the 21st century,” and showing people on a cramped airplane. Perfect.

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

Max Perilstein 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

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 8, 2016

Each year, we dedicate many pages in Glass Magazine to the phenomenal advancements in glass products—from next-generation, high-performing dynamic glass, to decorative glass, to energy efficient glass and more.  This attention is rightfully deserved, as these value-added products mark incredible feats of R&D, not to mention creativity and ingenuity.  

Often overlooked, however, is the root process that makes everything else possible: float glass manufacturing, the process of floating molten glass over a bath of molten tin to create a flat ribbon of glass. This remarkable method was invented by Sir Alastair Pilkington in 1952 and is used to manufacture more than 90 percent of the world’s flat glass for construction and automotive applications. Between 350 and 400 float glass lines are in operation worldwide, with an output of about 1,000,000 tons of glass per week, according to estimates from NSG Group.

Possibly more impressive than the global reach of float manufacturing, is its scale. A float glass line will operate continuously for 10 to 20 years, producing 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) of glass annually. In a single year, one float line will produce enough glass to cross from New York City to Los Angeles and halfway back again. In a 15-year lifetime, a float glass line produces about 56,000 miles of glass. That’s enough glass to circle the Earth at the equator more than two times. Most float lines are designed to allow for several “lifetimes,” after major repairs and upgrades. This means a single float line, from initial construction to final shutdown, could produce 170,000 miles of glass—enough to reach three quarters of the way to the moon.   

Such production requires a notable initial investment of $100 million to $250 million or more for a line, depending on size, location and technology. Repairs and upgrades can cost between $30 and $60 million.

In the January/February issue of Glass Magazine, we introduced an ongoing project that recognizes the companies around the world that have taken on the challenge of float glass manufacturing. The float glass industry is continually evolving, embracing new technology to meet demands for performance and value. To keep pace with the industry it serves, Glass Magazine is launching a new interactive website,, that allows users to search for companies or individual plant locations, sort float plants by company and location, and access website and contact information for float manufacturers. Additionally, users can submit new information regarding float manufacturing for use by Glass Magazine staff in their regular site updates 

Website visitors can purchase a subscription to that also gives them access to a downloadable database of global float plants and related information. Subscriptions are available to National Glass Association members at a discounted price.

The World of Glass map and database are the result of many months of research. I would like to thank the many glass manufacturers that provided assistance in gathering float location data for their companies. And, I extend a special thank you to Wendy Vardaman, our editorial assistant, who dedicated countless hours to this project.

The world of glass is ever-changing. We do our best to keep up-to-date on all of these events. However, it is only with your assistance that we are able to present the most accurate information. Please visit the to provide updates or changes to any float information, or contact me.

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at

Monday, February 8, 2016

This week a really interesting debate popped up over the usage of glass on the interiors of a new elementary school in Boulder, Colorado. The issue at hand was that the design is calling for a very open floor plan (which as we know is very popular these days in business structures), and some believe that would potentially put the children at extra risk if there were a school attack. I struggle with this on many levels. 

First, the protection of the children needs to happen from the exterior entrances. Once someone with evil intent enters any structure, any layout could be exploited. There have been great strides with exterior protective systems, specifically for schools (Childgard via Global Security Glazing is one I am familiar with), and more designers are laying out the entrances of schools with attacks in mind. Another issue is the “living in fear” factor. Shouldn’t we want the best possible educational environment for our children? So if this is it, then we should not penalize them by forcing the kids into thoughtless, boring shelter-like structures. If we want to keep them safe, we need to do it in other ways. The glass on the interior can be beefed up to offer extra protection, but obviously if someone gets through the doors and wants to do harm, nothing will stop them. Regardless, I hope this school moves forward and does what it needs to in meeting the educational and safety needs of its students. By the way, this story should give pause to the glass industry that our product is once again looked at as the weak link in the building. That, too, is not good.


  • A hearty congrats to old friend Scott Hoover after he signed on with Solaria as their vice president of Sales, Building Solutions for North America. I was not at all familiar with Solaria, but after digging into it I am excited for Scott and for what this company will bring to the industry space. As everyone who reads this knows I am a big supporter of advanced technology, so I’ll surely be rooting for success here. 
  • Speaking of things I have been hitting on, the North American Contractor Certification organization released a new Program Procedure Guide. This new document is helpful in understanding the process and requirements for this important industry program. Check it out. 
  • Fun visual of the week? Tweets from Brian Savage of Viracon. He tweeted the following pictures before a blizzard rolled in and then halfway through the blizzard: 

And you know those Minnesota people are tough, blizzard rolls in and they still work their entire shifts- no rushing home for them!

  • Friend of the blog and all-around good guy Joe Carlos of Triview Glass sent me a wild link. This story on a Burger King having all of its windows broken is one to check out. After I watched it, my thoughts were surely that a glass company needing some business was behind it!
  • Next week I’ll have my Super Bowl commercial thoughts. I am sure you can’t wait for that! 
  • Last this week, my favorite airport rankings brought a lot of discussion and other options. A major thank you to everyone who reached out via Twitter, comments, and e-mail. Some of the airports that came up in the various discussions:

Raleigh-Durham. I do like this airport, agree for a mid sized one its good.

Minnesota-St. Paul. A few hit me on this and it probably should be in the top discussion.  It’s gigantic but it does have tons of amenities/option and I totally forgot about that. 

Flint. Flown out of there many times- easy airport to work through, though food options are a bit light for me.

Portland, OR. For me it’s decent- nice open concourse but not top 5 worthy.

San Jose, CA. I have never been through there, I assume it has to be better than going through SFO or Oakland if you are going to that region.

John Wayne-Orange County, CA. Been awhile since I have flown through there.

Denver. I have never been a fan; to me it’s always cramped, and not great options.  Plus for some reason I always lose the rental car battle there- in the winter, all that’s ever available are rear wheel drive cars.  In the summer, giant SUVs. 

Hopefully I’ll hit some new and different airports this year and we’ll look at this again in 2017.

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

Max Perilstein 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

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 1, 2016

Historically, the solar industry in the United States is one of fits and starts. Take, for example, the major solar boom brought on by the oil embargo of the 1970s, which was followed by a market collapse a decade later after oil prices returned to normal and tax incentives disappeared.  

Or, we could look back just 10 years ago, when the market saw signs of great resurgence, only to be trampled by the Great Recession. During the next five years or so, solar manufacturers and related supplier companies (including many in the glass industry) that had invested heavily in PV production, were faced with an influx of low-priced PV panels from China, leading to even greater losses.

This boom-bust cycle for the solar market has made it a risky endeavor for companies at all levels of the supply chain. However, recent market indicators, along with some good news on the legislative front, point to a strong future for solar.

Looking at the raw numbers, the last few years have been good for the solar market in the United States. Solar installations have been steadily rising in recent years in the United States, and 2015 was a record-breaking year for photovoltaic installations (likely topping 7 GWdc), according to the Solar Energy Industries Association Market Insight report released in December. 

According to the SEIA, 30 percent of all new electric generating capacity brought online in the United States came from solar in Q1 to Q3 of 2015. Additionally, the current utility PV development pipeline (at 18.7 GWdc)  is greater than all U.S. PV installations brought online through the end of 2014. That's some impressive growth. 

The jobs numbers for the solar industry are equally impressive. According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Job Census 2015, solar industry employment has grown by 123 percent in the past six years. In November, the solar industry employed 208,859 workers, up 20.2 percent year-over-year.

But perhaps the best news for the solar industry was an extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which went into effect in 2008 and was set to expire in 2016. Many expected the U.S. solar market to crash in 2017 without the ITC. However, a week before Christmas, President Obama signed into law a five year extension in the ITC.

According to revised forecasts from SEIA, the U.S. solar industry is now on track to add 20 GWdc annually by 2020. This marks a huge uptick in installations, considering 2015 was a record breaking year with about 7 GWdc

The forecasts also point to growth for domestic manufacturers, according to the Global PV Manufacturing Attractiveness Index from GTM Research. “The most attractive countries for manufacturing have historically been the ones most competitive on all-in costs. This is now changing. Ready access to the most sizable demand has become a more pressing priority,” according to the report.

The United States is ranked 5th out of 50 countries in GTM’s PV attractiveness index, which ranks countries based on their business environment, access to demand, PV manufacturing and all-in costs. While the United States was ranked 37 in terms of cost competitiveness, it is ranked 3rd in access to demand and 3rd in manufacturing support.

Perhaps the U.S. solar market is finally poised to avoid its boom-bust cycle and head into a period of long-lasting solar growth. 

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at

Monday, February 1, 2016

I pride myself on always trying to learn something new each day. The Internet surely helps with that, as do friends and colleagues sending me notes and info to review. So when I ran upon a story talking about “Perovskite cells” and improved glass performance, I immediately jumped in. Evidently these are similar to photovoltaic cells that can harvest the sun's energy and turn it into electricity, but more efficiently and effectively. I have always been a proponent of doing all we can to maximize our space on the building to make glass more useful and intelligent, so this appears to be another source. However, like the past solar products, this looks like it's not exactly mainstream yet. Anyway, for my solar friends out there, if you have some insight on these cells and technology, please drop me a note. I’d love to learn more and also share here.


  • Once again, the latest edition of Glass Magazine is outstanding. Excellent article on trends in transport (crucial these days), as well as a good read on engaging the millennial workforce. Whole issue was super, though. Check it out!
  • My ad of the month in that issue was a tough call. Former winners like GGI and CRL came through again, but I like to notice folks here who have not gotten the credit yet. So with that in mind, this month the honor goes to Ergo Robotic Solutions. Jerry Nudi and company had what I feel was an eye-catching ad with a good memorable message. 
  • Since it was a very slow week in the glass and glazing world, this is the perfect time--as promised previously--to unveil my top five airports. I know several industry road warriors read this blog and so I’m curious if I hit all the right notes here. What I considered was: ease of getting around, food and bathroom options, places to sit and charge equipment, and just overall feel. I did not include security process because that can be a day-to-day adventure anymore. Also, this only includes airports I have visited. So someday when I get to visit the living-legend Lyle Shimazu and fly into Honolulu International, that could change things. So here goes…

#5. Boston-Logan. Yes maybe I am crazy with this one but I always had good experiences and think highly of this place.  Once I leave the airport and hit the roads and traffic, that’s another story…
#4. Madison, WI. There’s a lot of smaller airports that people seem to love.  Madison though is the best of that bunch.  Clean, bright, easy to get around, comfortable and creative seating. 
#3. Seattle, WA. This one probably depends on what terminal you fly out of.  The A/B sides are nice, with everything you can imagine and an amazing view through an incredible curtain wall.  The S terminal leaves you wanting.  But in the end the layout is simple and comfortable, plus the view is worth it.
#2. Detroit, MI. Sure it’s a homer pick.  I’m there as much as I am at my house some times, but as airports go this place is strong.  Easy layout.  Clean.  Tons of food choices including the always awesome Chick-fil-A.  Tons of seating and charging stations.
#1. San Diego, CA. Excellent layout, many food choices, clean and bright.  Nice people too.  Plus when you go there you are pumped that you are going to one of the nicer places in this world, and when you leave you are usually relaxed. 
Just missing the list: Charlottesville, VA (tiny airport but an outside deck to watch planes come and go is very cool) and Cincinnati, OH.

  • Last this week, it is Super Bowl time and despite my absolute dislike for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, I will watch the game. Though at this point I enjoy the commercials more than the game. I really wanted New England to win it so Goodell would have to hand the trophy to Tom Brady, but that did not work out. So who wins the big game? I’m going with Carolina, so get ready Denver fans, a title is coming your way!

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

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