PGC International Legislative Retreat Continues in Washington, D.C.
May 11, 2011

Protective Glazing Council (PGC) International is hosting its PGC Legislative Retreat this week at the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) headquarters in Washington, D.C. Today, attendees are spending the day visiting decision makers on Capitol Hill to discuss the use of protective glazing technologies and products in government owned and run facilities.

"This is a very important opportunity to get reacquainted on issues that have taken a back seat," said Darrell Smith, chair of PGC International's government affairs committee. "I hope this will get people excited about things that they maybe haven't been excited about in the past."

Yesterday, a variety of speakers educated attendees on subjects ranging from code revisions to durability to high performance government buildings. Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spoke about the government agency and its interest in glazing applications. Amber Kasbeer from the Office of Bombing Prevention said that it is important for the agency to be able to "identify what is critical to operations working as they normally do" in the event of an emergency.

Philip Mattson, vice chair of ASTM International and program manager for the DHS S&T Standards Branch, discussed the importance of having an integrated standard, rather than a number of different government standards.

"The benefit of having an integrated standard is that is can enhance interoperability. Having metrics on how to measure a product allows you to develop a product that people can use and will buy," said Mattson.

Doug Read, the chair of HPBCCC and ASHRAE's program director of government affairs, presented background of the High Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC). According to Read, before HPBCCC, "Congress had no place to go when they had questions about buildings."

Now, HPBCCC is working with two members of Congress to help achieve some of its goals. Read also shared with the group information about the upcoming High Performance Building Week, which is taking place May 23-29 in Washington, D.C.

Attorney Thom Zaremba discussed the history of building codes and what to expect from these codes moving forward.

"Recently, we have had tremendous natural disasters. You have to ask yourself if the building codes are doing enough to adequately protect occupants," Zaremba said. "You will encounter continuous pressure to reduce the amount of glass in buildings."

Earle Kennett, the chief operating officer of the National Institute of Building Sciences, provided background on the institute and discussed some of the offerings of the group, including the Whole Building Design Guide.

Dr. Christopher White from NIST closed out the day with his presentation on the durability of protective glazing products and how the industry can get involved with testing products. White discussed how it is determined, through studies, how durable a product is. White also explained NIST's role in the standards process.

"We provide experts and technical data to support the development of standards," said White.

Plans for a protective glazing study with NIST are underway and the logistics of that study are to be discussed in later meetings.

Yesterday's presentations ended with the PGC International Government Affairs Committee meeting.

CLICK HERE to read more about yesterday's meetings.

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