Monday, November 17, 2008

Is green glass an enhancement of protective glazing?

I attended the Protective Glazing Council Annual Symposium Nov. 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., where the driving concern seemed to be the “trend of complacency” in the industry. It’s been seven years since the last catastrophic terrorist attack in the United States, and the government’s focus has shifted from security to green and sustainability. This change in priorities is working at the detriment of the industry, said Brian Pittman, director of marketing and communication, PGC.

The U.S. Green Building Council expects 10 percent of new construction to be green by 2010. And the new president-elect wants 60 percent of new buildings to be carbon neutral by 2030.

With the theme of the symposium “Protective Glazing in a Green World; Sustainability & Protection,” PGC members tried to emphasize that the green movement can go hand-in-hand with security glazing. “Green is an enhancement of protective glazing; they can work together,” Pittman said.

Different presenters also attempted to drive home the same point. “Conflicting requirements for sustainability and security lead to compromises and trade-offs,” said Richard R. Paradis, senior engineer, Steven Winter Associates, Washington, D.C. “Avoid conflict of choosing between sustainable and security goals. Employ a single design strategy to accomplish multiple goals.”

Said Marc LaFrance, technology development manager, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy: “Protective glazings can be very energy efficient and probably a better opportunity to build efficiency into the higher price premium products.”

In a panel discussion, PGC members asked a GSA representative what they can do to interest more government folks in such meetings. Willie Hirano, engineer, Office of Construction Programs, Public Buildings Service, responded that the funding for security projects is down. “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,” he said. Down the road, GSA specifications will probably have coordinated energy and security requirements, he added.

Energy efficiency is taking over terrorism concerns for Building Owners and Managers Association members too, said Ron Burton, another panel member, from BOMA, Washington, D.C. “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, he said.

PGC needs to become more involved in government relations and reach out to congressmen and senators to educate them, said Bill Yanek, executive director, PGC International. The organization plans to have a Congressional hearing on protective glazing, probably jointly with AAMA and GANA, in the future, he said. The council also will work more closely with BOMA that has a large political committee.

What’s your take on the green vs. security issue? Can they work hand-in-hand or are they mutually exclusive? Drop me a line and let me know.

Click here to read reports from the PGC Annual Symposium.

By Sahely Mukerji, news editor/managing editor, Glass Magazine

No comments: