Back to the Same, Except it’s Different

Technological change slammed right into the contract glazing industry at the Building Envelope Conference and its effects were evident everywhere.

The conference, which is designed for glazing contractors, was last held in early March 2020 and was the final industry event until Glass TEXpo™ this past May. It is sponsored by the National Glass Association and mixes educational sessions with social and networking opportunities.

While most people seemed to revel in just seeing their colleagues’ full faces, sans masks, for the first time in the last two years, there was a realization that COVID had changed a little bit of everything and technology was changing the rest. Pre-registration lists showed representatives from 95 installing companies and 128 in the manufacturer/fabricator/supplier category. Most companies sent more than one representative and the turn-out seemed strong, around 650 people.

The event opened with a reception Sunday evening. Today brought early morning committee meetings and the opening session, given by Brandon Andow, senior building performance analyst and associate principal with EYP.  Andow, who has a PhD in architectural science as well as being a licensed architect in New York, provided an overview of how technology will change facade construction to achieve energy and other goals. He provided an extensive review of all systems as he discussed the performance criteria that will be imposed on next-generation facades. Many of these were familiar to most in the audience, but Andow keyed the group in on to two new ones on the horizon. “The pandemic led to a more in-depth look at the circadian rhythms of humans and how vital they are,” he said saying glass is big part of that research. He also talked about we may someday see criteria that creates a sustainable environment for plants to grow. “Enabling photosynthesis to allow the proper light transmission to plants may be spec-ed,” he said.

So many different criteria were discussed that, if you understood them all, your head would hurt after all those requirements you will have to meet in the future. And if you didn’t understand them all, your head would hurt for a different reason. All of them, though, in one form or another and under different timing, are coming. It was a thought-provoking way for the conference to begin. You can watch our first newscast from the event here.