Companies, Associations, Talk About What Earth Day Means for Them
April 22, 2010

In recognition of Earth Day's 40th anniversary, a number of companies and organizations in the glass and glazing industry are taking steps to make their businesses-and the industry-more earth friendly.

For James Bogdan, QEP, LEED-AP, manager, sustainability marketing initiatives for PPG Industries, Earth Day stimulates more conscious thoughts and awareness regarding the interaction between people's needs and available resources.

"The glass industry, with advanced low-E coatings, dynamic glass and collaborative BIPV, provides much needed solutions to address energy and environmental concerns. As technologies develop, it encourages further industry innovation, which always has positive results," says Bogdan, who adds that PPG has taken on a number of research and development activities that commercialized energy efficiency and renewable energy products and technologies.

"From a manufacturing point of view, PPG is always trying to improve process efficiencies to reduce emissions, effluent or waste. These are not only costs to us, but opportunities to further reduce our environmental footprint," says Bogdan. He adds that his company also devotes resources to influence and advance legislation and incentives for greater energy efficiencies for the building envelope.

"The building envelope is not fairly represented in tax incentives, and collaboration in this area is imperative to drive efficiencies as well as industry solutions," says Bogdan.

Curtainwall manufacturers also are taking green initiatives.

"Earth Day reminds me that we've come a long way, but sustainability is a journey with no finish line," says Lisa Szematowicz, LEED AP, product manager, Kawneer Company Inc. "Kawneer is committed to developing innovative, sustainable solutions and to encouraging everyone in the industry to make choices that make a difference every day. Our high-performance products, services and tools are focused on making a positive impact on our communities and the environment. With [our] products and solutions, customers and architects can make choices that achieve the business, performance and aesthetic goals for their projects, while enhancing the sustainability of those buildings, as well."

Mary Olivier, Tubelite's marketing manager has a similar perspective. "We are proud to provide products and services that represent exceptional, energy-efficient solutions without compromising the environmental impact upon future generations."

Olivier continues, "We selectively partner with suppliers that share this same passion and collaborate not only on developing and improving energy-efficient fenestration products, but also on creating and utilizing environmentally-responsible methods to produce these products. These methods help us in reducing our overall carbon footprint by dramatically lowering greenhouse gas, solid waste and water use."

The Glass Association of North America (GANA) is also celebrating Earth Day and has posted thoughts from members on its website. These thoughts from leaders of the commercial architectural glass industry discuss the many ways the industry has promoted the green movement and sustainability for several years. (CLICK HERE to read more).

"The ongoing efforts of our members are inspirational in many ways," says GANA president Tom Crawford. "Our industry has long believed in providing products that promote better energy efficiency while offering natural daylighting and a more natural environment. Today we can celebrate that commitment within the glass industry as a whole."

Brian Pitman, director of marketing and communications for GANA, adds that the glass industry feels strongly about the importance of Earth Day.

"Our industry has long produced new technologies and products to increase efficiencies while enhancing natural daylighting inside buildings," says Pitman. "The beneficial effects of daylighting have been documented in the science community."

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is also taking recognizing the positive steps that have been made toward the pursuit of energy efficiency.

"Each year on Earth Day, there is a marked increase in announcements and articles emphasizing the importance of 'going green.' While this increased publicity does serve an important purpose, the intended effects of these reminders should last long after Earth Day has come and gone," says Rich Walker, AAMA president and chief executive officer. "This day should serve as a reminder that individuals have the power to daily make changes and decisions that not only save money on their energy bills, but are also environmentally friendly. On a broader scale, these changes on the part of consumers not only help the U.S. in the national pursuit of energy efficiency, but also help to reduce the nation's dependence on oil, from both foreign and domestic sources."

Walker adds, "At AAMA, energy efficiency has always been a priority initiative for us. We work with door, window and skylight manufacturers who continually are creating new and improving existing products with the goal of increasing energy-efficiency. The designation of green doors, windows and skylights is simply market recognition of these manufacturers doing their job well."

Though consumer awareness may not always be strong, just this last year, an association has formed to promote the idea of glass repair and conservation throughout the industry at large—and to consumers as well. The Global Glass Conservation Alliance was formed last November by several members of the National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) who are aiming to reduce the energy impact of glass upon the earth.

“We do everything we can to assist our members with promoting glass conservation to their customers, and hope that, in the end, as a group we can cut down the impact the industry has on the environment,” says GGCA director of operations Wendy M. Jozwiak.

The association works with the flat glass industry to promote the re-use and restoration of glass.

And in an effort that could benefit the entire construction industry, Vice President Biden announced yesterday that 25 communities will receive up to $452 million in Recovery Act funding to "ramp-up" energy efficiency building retrofits. The models created through this program are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills, while leveraging private sector resources, to create what funding recipients estimate at about 30,000 jobs across the country during the next three years. (CLICK HERE to read Vice President Biden's full statement, including a list of the governments and non-profit organizations selected for Retrofit Ramp-Up awards.)

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