Loved, loved, loved your article “The Battle for the Wall” on page 36 in this month’s USGlass magazine. Heard your speech about same at the BEC Conference. And it seems our major nemesis—an enemy called ASHRAE—has set its weapons on glass again. I think you identified our biggest long-term problem spot on, as any insightful general should do. But hey, I am a good lieutenant in the war to save our industry, so I wrote a battle plan.
Forgive me for being so forward, Scott, as I know you are the general and I a mere lieutenant in this war. But I thought about it and here are the things we need to do to combat their push. And we need to do them rather quickly, or we not only lose the battle, but the war.
Here’s the top eight things I think we need to do:
- Sound the battle cry. Let’s use everything from email to good old regular mail to let the industry know what we are up against. We should issue talking points about some of the most grevious parts on ASHRAE’s new proposal and invite everyone with a stake in this, to submit comments. Explain, in graphic and empirical terms, exactly what each proposed change will mean to each segment of our industry. Your article is a good starting point.
- Commission some weapons. In this case, those weapons would include the development of specific measures of total efficacy of a building, including not only energy-efficiency and cost, but inhabitant productivity and comfort. Nothing else can do what glass does and we need to come up with the metrix that measure ALL things that make people want to live and work in buildings, not just measures that help the HVAC.
- Fire ‘em. Once we have the matrices, we need to gather the data and use it on the other side. We need to change the conversation to more accurately reflect what matters. Glass will do well in such a fight, and it will also help us respond to the argument that “less glass is better.”
- Solicit some foreign governments. We have been fighting this fight all by ourselves. It need not be this way. Our army should include architects, building owners and designers who understand glass and will fight the good fight with us.
- Go on the offensive. I know, I know, traditionally we are not good at this. That’s how we ended up with heating and air-conditioning guys deciding how much glass you can use on a building. Maybe we should just take a look at all those HVAC codes and see how they like it. How much have those systems improved energy-wise over the past few years? Gee, wouldn’t some basic changes to their HVAC systems allow us to use more glass? You see where I am going here. Let’s see them play defense for awhile.
- Recognize there are spies among us. Okay, not really spies, but the glass landscape has changed over the past few years. There are now some enormous international conglomerates that own not only glass-related enterprises, but they also own other external building material providers. Their battle for the wall is a bit different than ours and we need to recognize that.
- Change from within. The next generation of the glass industry has to embrace the newer energy-efficient glasses and we have to use them. And we have to train the installers to use these new products with ease, comfort and familiarity or, and this is important, Scott, they will rebel against their use. We should be developing training and certification programs. How about an “Energy-Efficient Contract Glazing” certification program that teaches how to install dynamic glazing and PVB and then promotes those who do so?
- Involve the government. Hey, they give subsidies for everything from soybeans to cotton, how about some funding not only for development of these new types of glass but also for their use? Reward the owner and glazing contractor, too. This is war after all, and to the victor should belong the spoils.
Hope you don’t mind me picking up on your very forward-thinking battle cry, General. I am just trying to rally the troops.
Your loyal lieutenant in the fight to hold the wall,
P.S. Thought my post today comes across a bit tongue-in-cheeky, the subject is actually very, very important to all of us. It’s the single largest current threat to our industry and it deserves your immediate attention.