A Triple AAA+ Week

I admire and appreciate glass on a daily basis. So it’s not often that I get a lump in my throat from anything our industry does. But this past week brought an exception to that.  The glass industry gets an “A” from me this week; in fact, it gets threes As. It was a Triple A (AAA+) week for our industry.

The occasion from my totally rational exuberance was in fact a cacophony of three As themselves:  ASHRAE, architects and advancement. Let’s start with the last two.

I spent half of last week in Denver at the annual convention of the American Institute of Architects Although the number of attendees was estimated to be down by about a third, the move West did yield a good number of visitors who never venture East of the Rockies, let alone the Mississippi.

What was especially throat-lumping though was getting to see our industry introduce some heart-stopping new products and technology, most of which was the direct result of feedback from the architectural community. Chief among these was the largest lite of laminated glass ever displayed. The German company seele showed the laminated lite—10 ½ feet tall and 46 feet long. It was magnificent. U.S. president Attila Adrian explained just what went into transporting the 6,000+ pound piece of glass all the way from Germany and getting it set up in the convention hall. “We knew it shouldn’t be broken, but you still hold your breath until you see it uncrated without any damage,” said Arian, adding that even the floor in the center had to be reinforced to bear the weight.

Largest lammy ever: a 46 foot long laminated lite is on the left. It was fabricated by the German company seele.
Largest lammy ever: a 46 foot long laminated lite is on the left. It was fabricated by the German company seele.

Arian said that though his company is known primarily in the United States as a contract glazier, it has strong roots in and is known primarily in Europe for its fabrication capabilities. “We want everyone to know of our fabrication capabilities,” he said.  “This is not the largest we have fabricated; the largest is actually 49 feet long, but it is the largest to be released from the plant.”

What was especially neat to see was the advancement of the industry by providing solutions to architectural problems. Architects have been clamoring for larger mullion-less lites for years and now our industry has delivered. The excitement from the architectural community was palpable; and congratulations to seele from bolding going where no one has gone before.

Indeed glass as a solution was a common theme throughout the show, with a number of companies, including Guardian, Oldcastle, PPG and Viracon, among others, displaying new or updated energy-efficient products.  We have let glass be cast as an energy-waster by other types of building materials. Our industry offers solutions, we just need to have an effective, unified voice in getting the word out.

Speaking of a unified voice, the industry’s effort to turn back the onerous Addendum M to ASHRAE 189.1 shows we have one. The committee meets tomorrow and there were 73 comments filed, all seeking withdrawal of the addendum. This is a huge number of comments—a record even and included feedback not only from our industry but from academics, lighting designers, daylighting experts, architects and Lawrence Berkeley Labs.  Thanks to everyone who took up the pen to save our industry. I will let you know what happens tomorrow.


P.S. For a unique look at life at AIA beyond on the glass industry, please see