Tuesday, November 27, 2007
By Matt Slovick, editor in chief, Glass Magazine
During a presentation at Glass Performance Days in Finland this past June, a newspaper story was shown that stated 75 percent of the glass units at the University of Saskatchewan Spinks addition had to be replaced at a cost of $200,000 because of scratches during post-construction cleanup. The presentation discussed the problem of scratches when metal scrapers hit fabrication debris on glass.
In a nutshell, the glass industry says not to clean glass with scrapers because they can scratch the glass that has hard-to-see fabrication debris; the window cleaners say the scraper is their tool of choice and the scratches are caused by the fabrication debris and not the scraper.
Window cleaners also say fabricators should be following manufacturing guidelines with respect to maintaining their tempering equipment, which would be a huge step in resolving this issue. However, following those guidelines does not eliminate fabricating debris because of the nature of the process, according to those in the glass industry.
I’ve talked to people in the glass industry and the window cleaning business and continue to conduct interviews. The full story will appear in a future issue of Glass Magazine. In the meantime, excerpts have been published in the past two e-glass weekly newsletters.
Higher-performance tinted and coated glasses have been developed during the past decade, leading to more demand for them. Thus, as the making of glass has evolved, the methods of cleaning the glass generally have not.
I understand both points of view, and I hear the frustration in their voices. The scratching is hurting both industries. Many customers are not satisfied. Glass needs to be replaced. Lawsuits are filed.
Simply stating “don’t use scrapers” or “improve the quality of the glass” isn’t solving the problem that continues to exist. I talked to one window cleaner who is using powders and paint-thinner type solutions to clean glass without a scraper. It takes his cleaners more time and is more expensive, but the scratching is not occurring. And that saves money in court costs and replacement costs.
I found a quote recently that seems to fit perfectly in this scenario: “You can’t expect to meet the challenges of today with yesterday’s tools and expect to be in business tomorrow.”
Monday, November 12, 2007
Why don’t more industry players attend NFRC meetings? Ever since the group starting work on a commercial window rating program five
Perhaps the problem is perception? NFRC meetings seem, to the inexperienced observer, to be three-and-a-half tedious days of task groups, acronyms and technical fenestration jargon. But, beneath the tech-y overtones, NFRC meetings have a lot to offer, including some glass industry debates that put “Crossfire” to shame.
To encourage more participation, I decided to create The NFRC Meeting Survival Guide. Follow these few instructions, and NFRC meetings become rainbows and butterflies.
Don’t be afraid to exercise some anger. Good
Don’t be afraid to exercise some laughter. A good laugh at NFRC energizes everyone. But, avoid lame jokes—they hurt more than they help (present blog excepted).
Always partake in snack time. Nothing compares to NFRC afternoon snack time. Nachos, cookies and ice cream (oh my!). I promise, a Ben & Jerry’s chocolate dipped ice cream bar has never tasted so sweet as during a Solar Heat Gain Subcommittee meeting.
Know your acronyms. NFRC meetings are worse than the Justin Timberlake 4eva chat room when it comes to acronyms. (OMG, DEGT GF!) The meeting handbook provides definitions for all of the commonly used acronyms, so you’ll never have to worry about not understanding phrases like: “check the PCP for the role of the ACE and IA in the CMA.” (WT?)
Go to the party. Nothing—aside from the aforementioned snack time—takes the edge off a day of NFRC talk than a few libations enjoyed with fellow fenestration folks at the reception and dinner. NFRC’s Cheryl Gendron plans some killer parties, often filled with live music and amazing food in even more amazing settings.
Bring a sweater. Hotels tend to keep their conference rooms at a steady 0 degrees (-17.8 degrees Celsius, 255.37 Kelvin, to my metric-system readers). Come prepared! I recommend a sweater, possibly a jacket, gloves, hat and emergency hypothermia blanket, if you easily catch cold.
Watch for distractions. The meetings do drag on at times. But, keep your eyes and ears peeled for exciting distractions. My favorite distraction at the latest meeting was a bird (a spy from ASTM perhaps?) that flew into the conference room, soaring from chandelier to chandelier, taking notes, until it finally figured out where the door was. And left. Very suspicious. Very dramatic. Very distracting.
Find the perfect caffeine intake. No matter how
Check your wireless connection. Not even thumb twiddling and doodles will get you through one of these meetings easily. Make sure your computer’s wireless functions properly before the meeting so you can stay connected to the world outside.
Read glassblog. No explanation needed.
Leave a comment to share your own survival techniques … I know you’ve got ’em!
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
This weekend I had the chance to travel to Pittsburgh to visit my famous friend, radio personality Cindy Howes. Cindy is the Morning Mix DJ for WYEP, and you can listen to her show here from 6-10 weekday mornings. I’m listening to it now, and the entire Glass Magazine staff is rockin’ along.**
Now that the plug is out of the way, I can get on with the rest of my important piece of journalism.
I rode my bike from DC to Pittsburgh, only stopping six times to sleep for the night. Honestly, in the time since my last post, I did regret abandoning my Hummer. However, upon tracking it down I learned that it had been turned into a Filene’s Basement, so I just counted it as a loss. Too bad I still owe $50k on it.
Pittsburgh is an exciting place, full of fun people and even better food. The only thing they don’t have is a locally published magazine about glass. They do, however, have a kick-fanny radio station in an awesome LEED certified silver building. And oh, the glass!
Cindy and production director Brian Siewiorek showed me around, pointing out the wheat board furniture, the milk cap carpet, the blue-jean ceiling, the corn floor, and yes, the glass! Ninety percent of the light in the building comes from daylighting. Even on a cloudy Pittsburgh day the office was a bright, shiny, happy place. Brian mentioned how great it is for someone with Sun and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yes, I thought, suddenly realizing that my caustic nature has nothing to do with my personality and is due entirely to the fact that I work in a windowless office. Sahely, please take note of this.
The sound booth looks pretty cool, too. “How does this work?” I asked.
“Well the plastic—“
“Oh, then I don’t care.”
“There’s glass, too.”
“Oh, ok! Go on!”
As it happens, the window to the booth is glass, and the inside is lined with curvy, camel-hump-like plastic (and yes, that is the technical term) to um, do good acoustical stuff.***
Cindy went off to program her show and I had fun pretending to be a DJ (see picture above). And only one person asked me what I was doing there, so I must have looked pretty natural. If only there was a radio station that broadcast material related to glass and glazing, I would consider switching professions.
Although Pittsburgh was fabulous, it’s nice to be back at Glass Magazine. We don’t have 90 percent daylighting and we don’t have blue-jean-ceilings, but we do our part. For example, I took the initiative and turned off the AC that was running all weekend in the kitchen, despite the fact that it’s 40 degrees outside. Because we all have to help save the environment.
PS- to James Bogdan, if you’re reading this: next time I go to Pittsburgh I’m going to want a tour of that fancy PPG building. Got it? Thanks.
*note the promotion!
**Cindy did not pay me to say this. Also, glass media professionals do not really rock; they sway.
***I am a glass media professional, not a sound media professional.