Keep an Eye on the Green Horizon
4 code & regulatory takeaways from the NGA Glass Conference
February 19, 2021
The National Glass Association held its winter NGA Glass Conference in February. At the top of the agenda for the virtual meeting: new energy and environmental codes and regulations that will impact the glass industry, driving product trends and asking more from companies.
New codes & regulations that affect the glass industry
1. Glassmakers meet California emissions targets, for now.
The Buy Clean California Act, known as AB262, requires that the state’s Department of General Services sets maximum acceptable Global Warming Potential carbon emissions targets for certain building products, including flat glass, going into public construction projects. The targets are based on Environmental Product Declarations as part of a product’s Life Cycle Analysis. The industry celebrated a major advocacy win in January, when California’s DGS adopted the recommended GWP targets from the NGA’s Advocacy and Forming Committees.
“All glass manufacturers producing in North America will qualify for public works projects in California,” says Paul Bush, NGA Advocacy Committee chair and vice president, technical services and government affairs for Vitro Architectural Glass. “But we’re not done. This is a moving target. The limit is set to be reevaluated every three years. We will likely have a new and lower target coming.”
Learn more about the advocacy win in California on glass.org.
2. Energy codes steadily progress, while cities look to more aggressive requirements.
The national energy codes are on track to continue their normal incremental advancements, says Tom Culp, NGA code consultant and owner of Birch Point Consulting. “Think about it as a continued zone shift every three years. … It will require a steady advancement and uptake in energy-efficient technologies, while also being practical and cost effective,” he says.
Industry companies should also be on the lookout for more aggressive jumps in building requirements happening at more local levels. “I sense there is a new urgency in the codes, with strong, quick action in response to climate change,” Culp says. Cities such as New York, Seattle, Boston, Denver and St. Louis are making moves to institute requirements that extend beyond the energy codes. Some call for net zero targets, others are looking to institute building energy disclosure laws, limits for existing building emissions and renewable energy requirements.
3. Bird-safe legislation is in the works in cities, states and nationally.
While cities and states have been driving the adoption of bird-safe building requirements, companies should be aware of legislation at the federal level as well. The House of Representatives passed bird-safe legislation in the 2019-2020 Congress (HR 919, which then became part of HR2) which would require any building “constructed, acquired or of which more than 50 percent of the façade is substantially altered” to be outfitted with some type of bird-safe glazing system, says Nick Resetar, shareholder, Roetzel & Andress, NGA and GICC fire/structural and safety glass consultant.
While the bill died in the Senate, “inevitably it will be back and likely put before the Senate and potentially pass, given the current makeup of the Senate,” says Resetar.
The NGA released two technical documents in the last year that offer guidance on bird-safe glass.
Learn more in the current issue of Glass Magazine.
4. New energy tax credits are here.
The Energy Act of 2020, included in the December 2020 coronavirus relief bill, provides tax benefits for installing solar and for the use of other high-performance glass technologies, such as electrochromics. “There is an ongoing theme of the federal government trying to push energy efficient technologies. Be aware of the tax deductions in these areas,” says Resetar.