The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance’s (IGMA) Winter Conference 2019 began in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, opening on the topic of emerging technologies—including how some may act to make windows “self-cleaning.” Larry Eichel, sustainability director at DryWired, led with a presentation on nanotechnologies, including how such coatings can improve the functions of glass. The session was followed by a broader update from the Emerging Technology and Innovation (ET&I) Task Groups.

Eichel said nanocoatings can add any number of benefits to glass, including features he described as self-cleaning, self-sterilizing and self-healing. They can be made more hydrophobic than standard coatings, he said, resulting in glass that needs to be cleaned less often. He farther suggested that nanocoatings are capable of “cleaning” air, while converting volatile organic compounds.

“Every 200 square feet of coated surface equals the air cleaning power of one poplar tree,” Eichel explained.

They are also more scratch-resistant than standard coatings, according to Eichel, and can decrease solar heat gain, boost UV blocking capabilities and shield from radiation. Meanwhile, Eichel said nanocoatings are more cost effective than window film for retrofit applications and can be integrated at the OEM level.

Larry Eichel with DryWired gives a presentation on the benefits of nanocoatings for the glass industry.

Emerging Technology and Innovation

Amid uUpdates from the ET&I Task Groups, a major topic of discussion included the new California AB 262 law, requiring an environmental product declaration (EPD) for flat glass. The new law states that all state buildings have to be accompanied by a global warming potential (GWP) report for four major materials: structural steel, carbon steel rebar, mineral wool insulation and flat glass.

The California Department of General Services (DGS) is requiring the industry to come up with a maximum allowable GWP. Each glass manufacturer will need an EPD for their product to be used in those buildings. Helen Sanders, who serves as IGMA vice president and in strategic business development at Technoform Glass Insulation, said that an EPD will be required not only for each manufacturer, but each facility.

She said the issues are that flat glass is not the final product in the building and that if an industry-wide EPD for flat glass is done, half the manufacturers would be above the average and thus the maximum allowable GWP.

As of January 1, 2019, California has been requesting EPDs from contractors. In January 2020 the state will require EPDs and in January 2021 the DGS will provide a report to the legislature with the maximum allowable GWP.

Creating an industry-wide EPD for processed glass was also discussed, which would require fabricators to create EPDs as well.

“We need to make a decision as an industry about what we want to do here,” said Sanders.

If an industry-wide EPD is created, only fabricators and manufacturers who participate can use the EPD. If companies don’t participate in the industry-wide EPD then they can’t do their own and then compare it to the industry-wide EPD; only those who participated can compare themselves to it.

IGMA vice president Helen Sanders discusses California’s new AB 262 law, which requires an industry-wide EPD for flat glass.

“You can’t ride on the coattails of the industry and use the industry-wide EPD. You have to commit to the industry-wide EPD or doing it yourself,” said Sanders.

“Other states are looking to adopt the same thing. It would be nice to be proactive rather than reactive about this,” added IGMA executive director Margaret Webb.

IGMA technical director Bill Lingnell of Lingnell Consulting Services updated members about the insulating glass thermal stress standard. Because of the variety of framing systems, edge constructions and different glass constructions, creating the standard will be more complex than standards for monolithic glass. Lingnell hopes to have a draft completed this year

Dave Cooper of Guardian Glass, who is also on the IGMA board of directors, told members that the ISO 19916-1:2018 standard, “Glass in building — Vacuum insulating glass — Part 1: Basic specification of products and evaluation methods for thermal and sound insulating performance” has been approved and is available on the ISO website. The task group is now working on part two, which will focus on mechanical behavior.

The conference runs through Thursday, February 7. Stay tuned for more coverage throughout the week.

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