Continues in Las Vegas
The Glass Association of North America (GANA) Building Envelope
Contractors (BEC) Conference, taking place at the Monte Carlo Resort
& Casino in Las Vegas with a capacity crowd of 420 people, tackled
a number of technical subjects in its Monday afternoon educational
Under the stewardship of Max Perilstein, BEC division chairperson,
the session opened with a presentation from Stephen Selkowitz of
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, on the impact of the glass
industry on energy usage and the various factors that influence
energy efficiency and comfort.
He said that better-performing facades are an opportunity for contract
He made the point that many mostly glass buildings are making "green"
claims, but his question is: How really energy efficient are they?
Selkowitz said it is important to integrate the façade with the
lighting and HVAC to maximize energy efficiency, because even if
an energy efficient curtainwall is installed but occupants close
the blinds to avoid glare and keep the lights on, then energy usage
is not what it might appear to be.
He pointed to a number of current projects, which have advanced
integrated energy systems. One is the San Francisco Federal Building,
which has natural ventilation; another was the New York Times headquarters
building, an all-glass tower, which has an integrated shading system,
as well as other energy efficient techniques.
The focus of his presentation was the role of effective shading
in making an energy efficient, user-friendly building. His laboratory
worked on the research work done for the Times building on design
One of the building's design goals was that there be no place where
an employee does not see natural light and a view. He described
the procedure Times officials went through to determine the most
effective design for the structure. A 4,000 square foot mock up
was constructed because the company thought it would learn enough
to more than pay for the expense in construction savings.
Selkowitz stated, "Since I've argued why glare and solar control
is so important, why not integrate this function into the glazing?"
He explained that with electrochromic and photovoltaic technology,
this can be done.
The issue for glazing contractors, he pointed out, are the design
integration, the wiring, thermal expansion, construction sequencing,
and coordination with HVAC and lighting trades. He said that in
the future more owners will be more involved in setting requirements
for building envelope performance. This would bring the façade suppliers
into the process earlier because of the integrated approach which
Larry Carbary of Dow Corning, discussed durability performance,
standards and specifications in silicone structural glazing. "What
I want to convey is why structural silicone glazing works," he announced.
He discussed the durability of the materials used, the correlation
of laboratory testing to full-scale testing, and a review of the
loads put on the materials during wind and seismic events. He also
gave project reviews of in-service buildings and the environments
in which they exist.
LEED-er of the Pack
Michael Duffy of HNTB Federal Services Corp., discussed the LEED
points system. He went through the math of how LEED certification
is given. He gave a sample of sustainable work and explained how
LEED is relevant to contract glaziers.
He said that LEED is becoming more popular because it can save
owners money without cutting quality. For the glass industry, glazing
is a key for LEED-think natural light and its benefits, he told
Duffy encouraged people to study the LEED manual and take the test
to get accredited because this would then allow them to discuss
how the services their companies offer can help the owners and designers
"It's a huge and growing market and its directly and indirectly
affected by building materials and design decisions, and glass plays
a starring role," he said. He encouraged suppliers to define/deliver
the next glass "mousetrap" to enable structures to achieve LEED
Tickle Me Aero
Larry Long with Texas Wall Systems Inc., discussed building ventilation.
He pointed out that in response to owner and designer requests,
the industry has developed structures that are more effective at
keeping things such as air and water out of them. This has resulted
in more recirculated air which has caused health issues for occupants.
Long said that trickle ventilation systems could be utilized to
let air in without sacrificing the energy efficiency of the building.
He used the example of the Belagio hotel, which is located across
the street from the meeting site. He added that virtually every
hotel in Las Vegas uses the ventilation technique.
True Labor Costs
The final session was a discussion about the cost of field labor.
Bill Keen of Tepco Contract Glazing Inc., and Pat Rome with Lakeview
Guidance LLC, led the open discussion.
The first topic was liability insurance costs. Some companies base
these costs on gross sales while other use per-hour cost of labor.
Wages are probably the largest expense. Then there are employer
taxes, including unemployment, state, health insurance, Medicare
and social security. Tools and equipment are also expenses.
Workers Comp insurance and lost time from injury are costs as well
as drug testing. A company may also have pension costs.
A company has to consider training, including compulsory safety
meetings, as well as holidays, vacation and sick days and coffee
breaks. The cost of hiring and what it costs for transportation
to a job and security clearance time and expense can also factor
into the equation.
At the end of the day, advice from the moderators for attendees
to think about:
· Do your estimators work off a per hour rate that includes break-time
or do your estimators figure break-time in their hours estimates?
· Do you regularly review financial statements to identify new costs
that can be charged directly to a project or calculated into a per
hour rate (i.e., new tools, equipment, depreciation charges, mold
insurance, etc.)? and
· Do you have a system in place to update labor cost rates after
wage increases, benefit changes and renewals, or labor agreement
settlements and communicate them to your estimators?