Glazing Industry Groups Win Appeal at ASHRAE 90.1
October 18, 2010

The glazing industry successfully overturned new, “unnecessarily restrictive” glazing provisions from taking effect this month as a part of ASHRAE 90.1-2010’s prescriptive path for code compliance. In a joint statement issued by the Glass Association of North America (GANA), the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC), the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), AGC Flat Glass North America Inc., Guardian Industries Corp. and Pilkington North America Inc., the group states that an ASHRAE appeals panel reversed a decision by ASHRAE’s Standing Standard Project Committee 90.1 to reduce the amount of glass permissible in the envelope of commercial buildings using the prescriptive path by a full 25 percent—from a maximum window-to-wall ratio of 40 percent to a maximum of 30 percent. It also reversed the proposed inclusion of more restrictive U-factors and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) values and the addition of a new minimum for VT/SHGC (of 1.1) in ASHRAE 90.1’s prescriptive path.

Appeals were taken on behalf of the glazing industry on the grounds that:

1) The Project Committee’s decisions were technically flawed since they lacked sound estimates of likely energy saving; and
2) The process used by the Project Committee violated ASHRAE and ANSI procedures since the glazing industry was not provided adequate representation on either the Committee or its Envelope Subcommittee.

In its decision, the Appeals Panel held that “Addendum bb to ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007 will be returned to the Project Committee to address the portions of this appeal that were upheld [respecting U-factor, SHGC, VT/SHGC and WWR]. The Project Committee will determine what changes, if any, will be made, and addendum bb, or portions thereof, would need to go through the public review process again.”

Members of the glazing industry have been actively involved since last fall expressing their concerns about the ASHRAE proposal.

“It has been a real challenge trying to educate the ASHRAE committee about modern glazing technology, and the important role glazing can play in high-performance buildings,” says Thomas Culp Ph.D. of Birch Point Consulting, an industry consultant who has been involved with this effort from the beginning. “Many seemed to still hold onto 1980s perceptions about glass, and incorrect attitudes that ‘windows are only poor walls,’ without considering the benefits of daylighting and views. We have started to change these attitudes, as shown by our success with the appeal panel, but it will be a continued process.”

Culp says the unity of the industry was a key factor in this recent success.  

“Unfortunately, our industry has a history of fighting itself in the code arenas, so it was powerful when all the associations and companies came together to present a united front. Also, I believe the committee overstepped itself under the pressure of its goal to increase the stringency of the standard by 30 percent, and we were able to show they did not have the proper technical justification for their proposals.”

“I am extremely pleased with the decision. The glazing industry strongly supports ASHRAE’s efforts to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings, but all improvements need to be based on sound technical analysis,” says Bill Yanek, executive vice president of GANA. “As major stakeholders, the glazing industry also needs to be part of the process throughout. This is a major step forward.”

Margaret Webb, IGMA executive director adds, “Joint efforts and leadership provided by Dr. Tom Culp, Urmilla Sowell (GANA technical director) and others representing the industry, were based on well documented facts. The success of our appeal clearly demonstrates that ASHRAE supports changes that are justified, which has always been the cornerstone of the organization. The industry will continue to support energy code changes and we will be well represented by both Tom and Urmilla.”

The industry had filed two coordinated appeals, one by Thomas S. Zaremba of Roetzel & Andress on behalf of Pilkington North America Inc. and AGC Flat Glass North America Inc., and the other filed jointly by GANA, AEC, IGMA and Guardian Industries Corp with Culp and Sowell leading the joint appeal.

Culp has recently been appointed to voting membership on the ASHRAE 90.1 Committee and its Envelope Subcommittee, and Sowell has been appointed as a consultant to the Envelope Subcommittee. Culp and Sowell, representing AEC and GANA, say they will continue to advocate for the commercial glazing industry at ASHRAE as the Project Committee and its Envelope Subcommittee revisit the commercial glazing issues specified by the appellate panel.

Culp says the 2010 version of ASHRAE 90.1 will be published without the proposed reduction in glazing area, new VT/SHGC requirement or revised U-factor and SHGC criteria. In the mean time, addendum bb will be sent back to the committee to address the issues raised in the appeal.  

“We will stay actively engaged with ASHRAE during this process to help them achieve their goals of increased energy efficiency, while also ensuring all proposed requirements are properly justified and reflective of the benefits of modern glazing,” says Culp. “This issue will also affect the upcoming ICC final action code hearings, which will determine the 2012 IECC. I believe this will shore up support for the proposals submitted by the New Building Institute and American Institute of Architects, which have broad consensus as a more technically justified and rationale increase in energy efficiency.”

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