by Charles Cumpston
LAS VEAGS—Following the keynote speaker, the BEC Conference in
Las Vegas moved into industry issues.
Bob Leyland, vice president of sales for Kawneer North America,
made a presentation about industry innovations over the past century.
Coincidentally, the company is celebrating its 100th anniversary
He told attendees that the industry has always made products which
look toward the future and also improve quality of life for people.
This includes safety and recyclability. “It’s interesting that two
of the primary materials our industry uses, glass and aluminum,
can be recycled.” He also made the point that during the past century
it has taken an average of 26 years for an innovation to come into
Leyland closed by saying that safety and security and energy efficiency
are driving the market today, and they are opening up opportunities
for the industry to continue to offer solutions. He said there would
be more ultra-thermal products and more use of dual skin curtainwalls.
“When we look back, we see how important change and innovation are,
and this continues into the future,” he stated.
his presentation was a discussion of the National Fenestration Rating Council
(NFRC) certification program with Greg Carney, GANA technical director, and Joel
Smith, GANA NFRC Liaison Committee chair. Both have been very active in representing
the industry for NFRC’s attempt to set up a certification program for commercial
In introducing them, Max Perilstein said that this issue affects
everyone in the industry—contract glaziers, suppliers. He stated
that the NFRC non-residential product certification program can’t
be stopped, but the effort is to contain it and make it work for
GANA is battling to make it a cost-effective program, Smith told
attendees. “Our goal is to get you involved in this issue. Unless
we challenge it, this program will impose heavy financial burdens
on all of us, but particularly the contract glaziers,” he said.
He went through the history of why NFRC was created (in response
to window manufacturers’ outlandish claims about energy efficiency)
and how it developed a voluntary certification program which has,
in essence become mandatory due to code language.
“Our industry is not opposed to the development of a whole system
product calculation for fenestration products,” he said. Beyond
this component modeling program, NFRC is proposing that the final
calculation, and the product be further simulated, validated, and
certified, possibly on-site, by for-profit testing labs. “This is
the line in the sand,” Smith stated. “This is what we oppose.”
He added, “You are going to pay for a performance calculation and
pay for simulation testing and for on-site inspection.” GANA wants
accredited users to be able to access NFRC software for whole system
performance calculation and does not want on-site inspections. He
said that no contract glaziers have taken part in the debate on
this subject and it is this group which will be responsible for
it once it is implemented.
Carney gave examples of what costs would be based on the program
that is currently being proposed. These ranged from 16 cents per
square foot of fenestration area to 80 cents, depending on the size
of the project.
“The responsibility of this program is going to be on someone’s
shoulders and we believe it is going to be the glazing contractor,”
he stated. “We think these charges are excessive and are going to
make the decision-making process change for builders. Because of
increased costs, they are going to meet specs rather than exceed
them.” Carney, who is chairperson of the NFRC Non-residential Products
Task Group (Ratings), made the point that GANA is calling on the
Department of Energy for additional oversight of NFRC.
There was also a call for contract glaziers to attend the NFRC
meeting in Minneapolis in July to show industry concern and involvement
in the process.
A vigorous question-and-answer period followed the presentation
which attendees trying to find out more specifically what would
be required of them.
Take a Break
The morning ended with Chris Barry’s discussion of why glass sometimes
breaks. He heads technical services for Pilkington North America,
and his presentation was a technical look at glass breaks.
He started his presentation by explaining that it was appropriate
for the location because both glass breakage and the roulette wheel
is a matter of statistics.
Glass breaks when an applied load exceeds the strength of the glass,
Barry explained. The big question is: Was the load too great or
was the glass too weak? He then spent his time exploring this question.
In some of his examples it was the glass and in others it was the
load. The clues are in how the glass cracked.