GANA Fall Conference Opens with Updates to Industry Resources
October 17, 2011

There's nothing like a pop quiz to start a meeting, and that's just what woke up members of Topeka, Kan.-based Glass Association of North America's (GANA) Fire-Rated Glazing Council (FGC) today. The council kicked off the association’s Fall Conference this morning at the Crowne Plaza in Kansas City. The quiz in question was the final step in updating the group's existing American Institute of Architects-accredited educational presentation.

Next, the group went on to wrap up another education effort. As there have been some changes and updates in the 2012 International Building Code, the FGC had set out to create a glass informational bulletin (GIB) providing an overview of those changes in a way that is impartial, "informational and beneficial to us as a group," as chair Jeff Razwick, vice president of business development at Technical Glass Products in Snoqualmie, Wash., explained. This educational tool is expected to be released by GANA in the near future.

The meeting concluded as Thom Zaremba, partner for Roetzel & Andress in Toledo, provided an update on recent fire code changes. Zaremba pointed out January 3, 2012, is the deadline for submitting 2015 International Code Council code change proposals. Razwick noted that when the council gets together for its meeting as part of the GANA Annual Conference, February 20-24, 2012, in Sarasota, Fla., it will be the perfect time for the association to "put together a position that we can then move forward as a group."

Next, the Flat Glass Manufacturing Division met to discuss updates on various activities. During his technical report, Mitch Edwards of Guardian noted that the Daylighting GIB has passed the technical committee and is being balloted at division level, meaning another resource will soon be available to the industry.

During a joint meeting of the Flat Glass Manufacturing and Energy Divisions, Mike Turnbull of Guardian Industries gave an introductory presentation on the "next big programs for the fenestration industry." Those big topics under discussion included: product category rules (PCR); life cycle assessments (LCA) and environmental product declarations (EPD).

The industry has become more familiar with the need for life cycle analysis since GANA and several other industry players agreed to represent the fenestration industry to third-party players developing an EPD for the fenestration industry.

Taking a step back, Turnbull explained that EPDs have become a way of substantiating certain environmental claims. To get an EPD a company needs to perform a LCA, and the PCR is required prior to conducting that LCA.

But even though the PCR is the genesis of this chain, it's the "newest player," Turnbull said. So he offered the definition that the rules include the specific assumptions, guidelines and requirements that must be followed to develop a verifiable EPD. There are ISO standards that "guide and influence" the PCR process, he explained, and in the fenestration industry, the "program operator" for establishing a PCR, per the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is the Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE).

The LCA is the tool for capturing all aspects and impacts of a product, process or service, Turnbull said. LCAs include: cradle to grave, cradle to gate (a subsection of the full cradle-to-grave full life cycle) or gate to gate (a further subset). He encouraged the Flat Glass Manufacturing Division members to proactively take on a "cradle to gate" PCR that outlined the process from manufacturing to putting it on the truck.

Part of the focus on these items, Turnbull noted, is that these three items are "creating a new reality" for the glass industry and new challenges. In fact, he said it is anticipated that having EPDs and LCAs will become either code or law within the next 5-10 years.

The GANA Fall Conference continues through October 19. Stay tuned to for more updates from the conference.

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