glassblog

Monday, February 19, 2018

The building industry is shifting in its demands for thermal performance and thermal analysis on wall systems. More projects require thermal analysis, factors such as dew point and edge-of-glass U-values have become more important, and collaboration across the project team is on the rise.

In this blog, I’m addressing thermal analysis, energy efficiency and the warming of glazed curtain wall systems. My context is purely from a high level, and from my and our team’s overall experiences on projects from the pre-sale and pre-construction stage, through final performance evaluation and final installation. Here are some of those experiences, observations, stories and opinions on the issue of thermal performance and related topics.

1. Demand for thermal analysis.

Thermal performance related to U-values of wall systems has been in specifications for a long time, but for years was less-frequently substantiated in many areas of the country (yes, even cold areas). This is no longer the case. We have seen that most projects, particularly custom curtain wall projects, are requiring thermal analysis, and validation of U-values.

2. Inclusion of dew points.

Although it’s not always specified, thermal analysis should include dew point temperatures to inform design, and to mitigate, eliminate or better manage condensation. Don’t miss the importance of this. Specifications that request U-values per NFRC100 may not address the need to calculate and verify that surface temperatures on interior surfaces or surfaces behind the seal line are to be above the dew point temperature (unless there’s a way to manage condensation in non-visible areas.) This is important for the main body of the system, and very important for non-typical frames, perimeter conditions and transitions within or between systems. Much moisture can accumulate because of dew point issues, and this can be destructive to systems and interior environments.

3. Connected design.

Specifications are more clearly defined and tied into the mechanical engineer’s analysis and requirements for total building envelope performance. This has a lot to do with commissioning of buildings and actually validating all the values for the exterior enclosure. It’s good to see more “connected design” and less “throw it over the wall” compartmentalization.

4. Collaboration challenges.

As a result of all this, I still see levels of disconnectedness, differences of opinion, questionable application of standards, and a bit of “disruption.” I see this particularly between some on the A/E side of the project team versus those in the industry side working as delegated designers. The mixing of provisions from ASHRAE and THERM is one of the problems we’ve encountered, as have been issues regarding opaque areas at stone or panel spandrels, and the correct way to assess or analyze these.

5.  Use of edge values. 

Frame edge and glass edge have a big impact on reduction of U-value, and it is not uncommon for us to hear, “That can’t be right. The center of glass U-value is so much lower; how can the total U-value be so much higher?” Aluminum mullions and aluminum spacers in glass units are conductive. They have a higher U-value than the center of glass. Consequently, thermal improvements such as thermal separation and warm edge spacers have a significant impact in reducing total glazed wall U-value.

6. Non-conductive or less-conductive attachments.

FRP, polyamide, co-extrusions, and other non-conductive or less conductive attachment devices continue to grow in popularity and for use on rain screen panel, stone, UHPC, and other opaque cladding systems. There is a reduction in thermal performance when metal girts or components penetrate insulation seams and are screwed to the substrate behind. Do not forget to account for these penetrations through insulation areas in rain screen cladding if they are being utilized.

That is my story for now, for today. What is most exciting about blogging is creating conversation, trying to communicate experiences, to generate conversation and to somehow be of service to our industry. Please communicate back to me and let’s advance our work in glass and glazing.

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 jwheaton@wheatonsprague.com 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.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A big story that has been working its way through our world is the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician Certification Program, and I bring this up again because another movement got me thinking about the importance of training and education.  

But first, to recap, the AGMT program is designed to provide an independent assessment (written and practical) of the knowledge, skills and abilities of the experienced glazing technician. I am a believer in efforts like this because we need to always be evolving, and growing our training and knowledge base and our performance as a whole in the marketplace matters. The AGMT program continues to be built and hopefully soon will be launched. Until then, we’ll continue to learn more about the way it works and the positive end results that can come from it.

That brings to me to the action that got me going. Many states, at least 25 so far, are weakening the licensing requirements for architects. The AIA is fighting back and, obviously, they should. Believe me, I am not one who loves tons of regulations, but the licensing of architects is one I truly believe is needed. In the same way that advanced training (certification) of glaziers and glazing companies is needed. I still chuckle that in some states you have to be licensed to cut hair, but not design a massive building or install some of the most important parts? The end winners of these efforts are the occupants and owners and the industry as a whole. 

Elsewhere…

  • There was a really good, quick and easy piece from Window and Door Magazine on the housing outlook. As many of you know, the fate of the residential side usually runs into the forecast on the commercial side. When residential starts to falter, we get the warning that commercial will soon follow. According to this article, the foundations are still strong over on the housing side of things, which is positive news for them and for us.

  • We are coming down the stretch in preparation for BEC. More than 430 people have already signed up, have you? It’s going to be an excellent event.

  • The new Apple headquarters is having an issue with people walking into glass. I really am stunned as I thought the glass was going to have digitally printed marks on it to offer enough distraction to avoid this. I know many of you who read this have been in that structure, any insights?

  • Am I the only one out there who hates doing Gantt charts? Maybe because I have no idea on how to do or struggle with understanding the end usage, but just curious.

  • Do you want your email to be advanced? I am not sure I want to go down this rabbit hole. Basically, your email could eventually act as a specific browser. From a marketing standpoint this is a game changer: send someone info that has them directly on your site. On the flip side, I see myself falling deep into it and killing my own personal productivity.

  • Last this week, I started with a word on architects and so I end with one. The architectural profession was a winner, seemingly at this point, in the new U.S. governmental tax plan. The new plan gives many architectural firms a deduction they did not get before, so maybe the next time all of you suppliers out there do a lunch ‘n learn you should have the firm pay for it with their tax savings!

Read on for links and video of the week…

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

E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, February 12, 2018

As the calendar rolled over to 2018 last month, I came across a quote online from author Melody Beattie that really resonates with me: “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

As a sales manager, to actively “write the chapter” for the coming business year, I start each year analyzing territories, identifying competitive challenges, outlining territory coverage, and other related tasks. Many of you likely do the same, while others feel they are too busy putting out daily fires to make time for setting goals and developing strategies.

It’s not easy to step back from the crush of urgent daily tasks and make time for planning. But, it’s essential for success, whether you’re a sales manager, inside sales rep or CEO. There will always be urgent demands on your time, but without setting a proper course, you’ll end up just being busy, rather than being effective.

In his bestselling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey called this “sharpening the saw.” Think of a lumberjack using a dull saw to try to fell a large tree, sawing faster and harder to make progress, even though the saw is getting duller with each stroke. The wise lumberjack realizes he’ll be much more effective if he stops sawing for a few minutes and makes time to sharpen the saw.

As a leader, no matter the demands on your time, job one is goal setting.

The American historian Bill Copeland described the importance of this work in a clever way: “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” As leaders in the glass industry, it falls to us to make the time to set goals, to clearly communicate those goals to our teams, then empower and trust them to deliver results, so that we all “score.”

What does goal setting entail? TheBalance.com defines goal setting as, “the process of deciding what you want to accomplish and devising a plan to achieve the result you desire.” Note that this definition emphasizes that goal setting is a three-part process. For effective goal setting, you need to do more than just decide what you want to do; you also have to work at accomplishing whatever goal you have set for yourself, which means you have to create a plan so your work gets you where you want to go.

Here’s to your success throughout 2018!

David Vermeulen is the national sales manager for Technical Glass Products (TGP), a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. TGP works closely with architects, designers and other building professionals, providing them with the state-of-the-art products, service and support to maximize design aesthetics and safety in commercial and institutional buildings around the world. Contact him at 800/426-0279.

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

Monday, February 12, 2018

After several weeks of big news stories and crazy articles to lead my blog, this week I was left with no lead story but a bunch of industry-related items to hit on. Without further delay, here are a handful of items that I find newsworthy and interesting….

  • Congrats to the fine people at Viracon for two reasons. First, they once again made an amazing charitable donation to the United Way. They’ve done this for a few years now and this year Viracon employees donated an awesome $111, 990. That is simply incredible and impressive and deserves major attention. Kudos to Carla Kern who led the charge once again, as well as Kelly Schuller and the entire management group there. 

  • On the product side of things, Viracon made news this week with word on their new warm edge spacer. I am always big into technology and when energy performance can be improved with smart moves like this, it’s a big win for our world. Kudos to all involved in that process and well done!

  • What city in the United States features the most cranes? I was really surprised that for the second year in a row it was Seattle. I was also surprised that Portland was in the top five. Obviously, the Pacific Northwest is a hot place, eh? Other cities in the top five were Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles.

  • The stock market had a very bumpy run of late and so has the Dodge Momentum Index. Commercial buildings were down almost 8 percent in January versus December. And similar to what is being said about the Dow Jones, the experts feel this drop is a basic correction versus a very strong fourth quarter. Obviously, both bear monitoring to see if there are deeper issues than a correction, so no major worry…yet.

  • Many of you out there are doing some sort of digital marketing and you know it can be an adventure. Just imagine if you had the same amount of money for digital marketing that people used on a 30-second Super Bowl ad. Digiday did a great look at how much you could do online with 5.2 million dollars. It really is amazing how much more long-term value there is versus one TV ad.

  • Speaking of those TV ads, each year I do follow the Super Bowl commercials very closely. This year was no different and I was happy that most ads tried to steer clear of social issues. I personally prefer my social issue discussions to be separate from my chips, beer and car commercials. Winner overall for me was Tide. Smart use of their time making fun of stereotypical Super Bowl commercials from the past. I really enjoyed it and had no idea the lead actor was from “Stanger Things” (I’ve never seen), but that surely had my son appreciating that approach. I also liked Rocket Mortgage’s translating millennial speak. Given the way our world is these days, that was cool. Last, I am a loyal M&M guy (unless I get the real chocolate from a good friend in Hawaii), so I thought the Danny DeVito coming alive as the red M&M was awesome.

  • Last this week, congrats to all of those Eagles fans out there. Friends of mine like Chuck Knickerbocker and Ted Bleecker should still be on cloud nine a week later. It was a nice win in an exciting game. I don’t watch much NFL these days, but I did enjoy this one and happy for those folks who can finally celebrate a championship!

Read on for links and video of the week…

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

E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Are architects turning their backs on skyscrapers? This was the question posed in a recent CNN piece that interrogated the sustainability and energy performance of glass. The article, through interviews with several architects and other building industry officials, seemed to posit that glass buildings stand in the way of green building. “I think (glass) is a symbol for energy-guzzling buildings, and we need to move to a much more energy-conscious environment to try and save resources,” said famous British architect Ken Shuttleworth in the article.

Unsurprisingly, the article sparked conversation among many in the glass industry. (I recommend Max Perilstein’s hot take, if you missed it last week.) I was able to engage in a few of these conversations about the article and the topic in general last week at the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance Winter Conference in Tucson, Arizona.

Many of the industry representatives I spoke to were not surprised at the reemergence of this now-familiar argument from some in the building industry—the argument that glass is simply a poor energy performer. The industry has fought back against this take before, including during two recent code cycles that led to the creation of the term, the “battle for the wall.” Despite emerging success during those battles, misconceptions over glass performance continue, and the industry could face yet another push to limit glass use in buildings in the upcoming code and standard cycles.

So, what can those in the industry do to better fight back against claims that glass is a poor performer? And, equally important, what can the industry do to promote its energy-saving solutions and ensure that the right products are used in buildings in the right way? Below are several recommendations that I pulled from these conversations.

Promote balance. Blanket calls for less glass aren’t the solution. Glass is a critical material in creating buildings that promote energy efficiency and occupant comfort. But, simply calling for more glass isn’t the answer either. The wrong type of glass or glazing system, or too much glass on certain orientations of a building can hinder energy and thermal performance.

Promote people. Building performance means so much more than energy. Human comfort and wellness should factor every bit as much into considerations of building performance as sustainability and energy. Study after study shows that occupants in buildings that are designed for comfort and wellness are healthier, happier and more productive. Employers report less absenteeism; hospitals see faster healing. Achieving a more comfortable building requires careful consideration for indoor temperature control, airflow, access to views and the right amount of daylighting—and this means glass. Several industry representatives at IGMA say the industry needs to do more to promote the necessity of human comfort in the built environment.

Promote solutions. The glass industry offers an ever-growing collection of product solutions that can help ensure buildings achieve stated performance goals. Consider some recent advancements in high-performance glazing: triple-insulating glass units, fourth-surface low-emissivity coatings, dynamic glasses, automated blinds, sun shade systems and more. The solutions are available (and many, such as electrochromic glass, have been available for decades). The industry must continue to invest in education to ensure that architects know the right products for the right applications.

Promote investment. “We have the products, but owners or architects won’t pay the additional cost.” “We get these products into the specs, but they are value engineered out.” These were two common sentiments I heard from industry reps in Tucson. The key is educating architects and building owners that the extra cost of the higher performance products will pay off in terms of energy savings and occupant comfort.

What industry talking points do you use to push back against calls for less glass? 

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

Monday, February 5, 2018

The big news this week was the announcement that the GANA-NGA combination has become final. I am very pleased, and as someone who has worked for both organizations and knows the strengths and weaknesses on both sides, this really is an excellent union. Congrats to all that made this possible on both sides: folks like Stanley Yee and Doug Schilling among the many at GANA who spent tons of time working through the details, and Nicole Harris and the board at NGA who did the same. This is a great move for our world. I know much more is still to come out on this, but days of a unified voice have now begun. In the meantime, an updated FAQs is now out post-deal, if you want to check it out.

Elsewhere…

Last week, I hit on an article that I did not like. This week I am linking to one I did: This piece on the world of solar windows and glass was really well done. There’s a long way still to go in that space, and this piece did a nice job of laying it all out.

The latest Glass Magazine is out. It is the annual outlook issue and features a strong piece on what may be coming our way in 2018 financially and updates on codes, too. In addition, it was great to see an article in there from Madeleine MacRae on the world of sales. I was lucky enough to catch one of her presentations at GlassBuild last year, and it was fantastic. Great to see her now in the magazine! 

Ad of the month is always a challenge. This issue was loaded and featured so many good pieces. The winner though is an odd one for me. I usually don’t care for this style but this time it worked. The ad for Fold N Slide systems, which was half upside down featuring a Sherlock Holmes character, is this month’s winner. I normally don’t like the “upside down” gimmick, but this look worked. Maybe the interesting shot of Sherlock did it for me. In any case, congrats to the team at Fold N Slide on a great ad approach!

New fun industry follow on Instagram: check out Paragon Architectural’s feed at paragon_architectural. They have done some fabulous work, and those pictures really are perfect for the Instagram format and audience.

Congrats to the folks at Innovative Glass and Sage Glass on their arrangement to have Innovative rep the Sage line in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Two good companies working together with cutting edge products. I like the potential this has. Will be a good combo!

Saw this wild stat this week: what the Vegas casinos won in 2017 by game.

  • Blackjack $1.2 billion

  • Craps $393.5 million

  • Roulette $367.3 million

  • Baccarat $1.1 billion

  • Sports $248.7 million

  • Penny slots $3.1 billion

Think about that penny slot number. $3.1 billion. Absolutely unreal. That is a ton of action to get to that number.

Last this week, speaking of Vegas, BEC is coming up in a month. Attendance is looking solid, but obviously plenty of room to keep adding. If you have never attended this is a great mix of networking and education over a very quick and efficient time period. To be able to learn about so many items in a 1-1/2 to 2-day period also while having the ability to pretty much talk with tons of great contacts, I can’t see a better deal right now. And if you haven’t attended in a while, it’s time to come back. You know how good it is.

In any case, like I have said before, there’s two events that you need to attend to keep your business up and personal stock trending in the right direction: BEC and GlassBuild America. Check out the agenda and register today.

Read on for links and video of the week…

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

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