Monday, October 19, 2009

Time to get off the sideline

In recent years, architects have begun to see some of the many creative uses for glass, and they have incorporated more and more of it into their spaces. This was not by accident. Many companies in our industry have spent a great deal of money in getting our products in front of the architectural community. Even more money has been spent in the development of new glazing products to keep the momentum going in favor of "more glass" in buildings, even as energy codes have become increasingly stringent. In the end, we have all benefited. Even if your piece of the pie didn't grow, the pie itself did, whether you were directly involved in these efforts or not.

But now, this trend is in real danger of reversing, and fast! Several code organizations are attempting to reduce the use of glass in new buildings. For example, shortly after the GlassBuild America show left Atlanta, the ASHRAE 90.1 envelope subcommittee met there to discuss how it would meet its mandate of reducing energy consumption by 30 percent in 2011. Their solution? Reduce glass area by 25 percent while also tightening the light to solar gain ratio requirement on glass such that more than half of the existing high-performance glazing products won't qualify. Is it any surprise that our industry has no representation on that subcommittee? Thankfully, Glass Association of North America stepped in and mitigated some of the damage through their presentation to the subcommittee.

In the past, we all relied on the Glass Industry Code Committee to fight these battles for us. The GICC, however, is shutting down. GANA is picking up its torch, and the National Glass Association is fully behind its efforts. Now we need to get into this fight, as well; collectively, as an industry, our future is at stake. We need to come together with a strong voice, to support all the hard work that has been done to develop and bring to market strong products that can and should play an important role in energy-efficient buildings.

Now, I must admit that the preceding paragraphs just about fully exhaust my knowledge on this topic as of today; I just recently learned of the dangerous situation we find ourselves in. So please join me in learning about the issues, and in participating in our great industry organizations. GANA and NGA both have highly dedicated volunteers and staff that are working hard for you and me every day, so take the time to learn what is going on and how you can get involved! Read a Glass Magazine article on this issue.

--By Chris Mammen, president, M3 Glass Technologies, Irving, Texas


Anonymous said...

Great blog article Chris.

Revision to ASHRAE90.1 is undoubtedly an issue that everybody from all corners of our industry should learn about and battle/support accordingly ... it's not just a GANA or NGA or Fabricator or Float Glass battle ... it's an Industry Battle to harness the value that glass brings to architectural design & functionality.

Education & industry representation are critical factors to a balanced outcome that maintains ASHRAE's goals of reducing energy consumption. Way To Go on getting the word out!

Best Regards,

Warmvue said...

Thanks, Chris.

Within the GANA Objectives are contained precisely what Architectural Heated Glass, (AHG) satisfies what ASHRAE and the Building Sciences need, briefly and specifically:
Since glass on the far InfraRed is a nearly perfect black body, the radiant transfer of a warm occupant within 3 meters to the cold glass causes discomfort by making the human cells contract. This discomfort then requires a sweater, scarf, hot cup of coffee, or is relieved by turning on more heat in a room. AHG neutralizes this effect, and thermostats are turned down, because the occupant is comfortable. Lower room temperatures, but more comfort.
Very expensive and valuable office space is recovered for occupancy use, as the worker/resident can comfortably sit next to a glass window or door, even at sub-zero temperatures.
The soft transfer of IR wavelength, (heat), off the glass feels like soft sunshine through a window.
There are no convective stream downdrafts cascading down the glass, as there is with unheated windows. This causes more compensating energy in the form of heat to counteract this effect.
Thermostats are turned down. Usually by up to 8 degrees.
There is no noise associated with this heating technology. This has been a significant issue in healthcare and we have other clients with a sensitivity to noise and vibration, and there is none with heated glass. It's as loud as a lightbulb.
Also in Healthcare, where humidity must be introduced to reduce infection, the condensation on glass is an incubator for virus and bacteria, even described by some Healthcare Engineers as a "vertical petri dish". Heated Glass eliminates all condensation on the glass surface, and the added benefit is to have no mould breeding to rot frames.
Several studies have been conducted, and every one addresses the beneficial impacts that AHG brings to energy issues. What is amazing, is that ASHRAE doesn't really have any pages written for heated glass! This is truly 21st Century application of the right technology.

We are now in our second generation to emerge as a company called WarmVue, to represent a service to clients wishing for the correct design and selection of heated glass for their buildings and spaces. We are working with all heated glass companies, to bring the best solution for their the requestors' needs. So, we feel that we fit the requirement of being able to talk about the science, not just one company. The same holds true for the code-compliant controllers that are necessary to regulate the right amount of wattage to the glass, under varying exterior temperature and interior relative humidity conditions.

We have six years of proven and reliable, and seamless heated glass installations.

Also, consider the math of reducing a building's allowable quota of glass from 40% to 30%. That's 25% of what the glass industry would lose.

George Usinowicz
Durango Solariums, Inc./WarmVue Partnership
12029 Hwy. 550
Durango, CO 81303
Office: (970) 385-4561
Cell: (970) 749-2602