From the Fabricator: Bad Old Buildings

I was fascinated this week about some energy efficient stats that the excellent John Wheaton posted on his twitter feed. The information made it pretty clear where our major issue is from an energy efficiency standpoint. Our problems are not as much with the buildings we are constructing now (though some are not good energy-wise), but with the existing building inventory that is outdated and guaranteed to be not even close to the energy standards that everyone wants/needs to achieve.

John posted stats from a conference he was attending, including: 93 percent of the current commercial building stock was constructed before 2003; and 74 percent before 1989! That is simply mind blowing. While many of those buildings have at least insulating glass (in the regions where it makes sense), many likely have outdated (or no) high performing glass, spacers and aluminum in them. So, while the push forward to build “better buildings” continues, we really need to examine the ones that are already up…


  • I was very happy for the fine folks at ICD on the announcement of the groundbreaking of a new facility. The Vockler family is pure class, and is flanked by great people like Steve O’Hollaren and Jim Butler, that just make them even better. This new step I am sure is very exciting for them and I know great things will come from it!
  • I do start to wonder what’s in the water in the Pacific Northwest. Every week I am congratulating someone from that area—Garibaldi, TGP, Hartung, ICD, NWI, Bill Coady, Rich Porayko, Chris Ketchum, Darand Davies, Washington Glass Association etc… What an area for solid companies and people.
  • Just a reminder on a great tool that I had to use this week for a friend. The Efficient Window Collaborative has a window selection tool on their website that is simply awesome. It’s great way to determine the best windows to buy for your home and the tool continues to become easier and easier to use.
  • Speaking of really helpful tools, for the first time I was able to use PPG’s “Glass eView,” and it was really strong. It offers lots of different options and uses. I was on there for a lot longer than I planned.
  • To me there’s nothing more frivolous in our economy than spending on political campaigns. While I realize it does help some aspects of the economy (TV Stations and Graphic Artists/Ad Agencies) the money spent is downright insane. In Michigan, it’s expected that $50 million will be spent on the senate campaign. $50 MILLION. Something is seriously wrong with this picture. I am sure 2016 Presidential campaign will break the BILLION dollar mark. And really, for what?  
  • Last this week… I got my new issue of Glass Magazine this week. Awesome as always. (And a special kudos on the graphic layout. Really impressive!) And, like I have been doing each month, I’m noting the ad in there that jumps out and impresses me. M3 Glass Technologies did it this month with a clean and catchy piece that made me stop and read. Nice job!

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

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.


Hi Max, $50 million on a campaign for a job that pays about $250 thousand a year sounds odd. Like my grandmother says, "If they are not a crook when they get into office, they will be one before they leave." Take care! James Wright
Once again you have put a lot of info into a short space. Great job. I look forward to reading every one of your posts. I do want to take issue with one website that you found great. PPG's "Glass eView" is not an effective piece of software. I have even tried to notify PPG of this, but their previous website for calculating glass performance data was way more user friendly, and I could get my needed answers way quicker. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why PPG changed their method that we as customers have to utilize to try to sell our customers on their glass. The new website is too restrictive with what glass we can use to "build" our windows, and too slow. If you have any pull with PPG, I would really like you to discuss this with them and get them to re-instate their old glass performance calculator for those of us that need good answers quickly. The new site is prettier than the previous one, but it is not better. Thank you. Ted
Thanks for the nod Max. Always informative and entertaining! The Pacific Northwest certainly has a high concentration of world-class players in the industry. It's quite competitive so it keeps us sharp!