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Guardian Glass: Reflecting on 25 Years of Striving for Success

BEC Conference and Guardian Glass  

When the Glass Association of North America (now the National Glass Association, after the two organizations combined in 2018) was testing the glass industry waters by hosting its first Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference in 1998, the Guardian Glass company was experimenting, too. Guardian opened its Science and Technology Center (STC) just a short time later, giving the company a state-of-the-art facility to develop new glass products and add to its still-new collection of SunGuard™ glass coatings.  

At that time, most glass coatings were produced by cutting, then heat treating, then coating. SunGuard glass coatings were innovative because they could withstand the heat-treating process. Large sheets of glass were coated, then shipped to fabricators, who would cut and heat treat the glass as needed.  

The process simplified and shortened lead times. What used to take 4-12 weeks could be ordered and shipped in 1-2 days. This growth for SunGuard coated glass was connected to the Guardian STC, and work of the STC teams allowed Guardian to make tremendous progress in coating technology in just a few short years, as well as important industry advances and growth over the past 25 years such as: 

  • Jumbo and super jumbo glass production 

  • Expanding the STC with its own coater and adding a second facility in Luxembourg 

  • The first temperable, permanently protected shower glass: ShowerGuard™ coated glass  

  • Bird-friendly product solutions: Guardian Bird1st™ UV coating and Guardian Bird1st Etch 

  • The first triple silver glass coating with a solar heat gain coefficient below 0.25: SunGuard SNX 51/23 

  • The first fully tempered vacuum insulated glass  

  • The lowest reflectivity (0.7%) with light transmission at 98%: Guardian Clarity™ coated glass 

  • Earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR® certification for superior energy efficiency (DeWitt, Iowa glass plant, 2021) 

Guardian Glass has never rested. We strive to innovate in ways that enable us to make better products and solutions for our customers to create value through better buildings. We keep innovating, with dozens of new patents each year.  

But we also know the most advanced technology and state-of-the art production doesn’t guarantee success. Even back in the early days of SunGuard glass coatings, we took the show on the road, traveling to each customer to convey the company’s commitment to commercial architecture. This was a clear message that relationships matter, and this is the same message that BEC Conference delivers every year to the glass industry. Meeting face-to-face, seeking input, asking questions: These are all essential to our industry’s continued growth and development.  

The commitment of Guardian to the BEC Conference continues to grow and pay dividends on-pace with the event’s growth. The BEC Conference is the biggest commercial event for the glass industry, which means quality influencers attend. The number of connections that occur over those 3 days would take weeks. The knowledge and information gained from conversations at the conference has proven invaluable.  

Guardian has had the great fortune of helping new connections solve problems and develop solutions based on conversations that started at the BEC Conference. This success does not come without work: The teams at Guardian Glass know the value that the conference holds: We put in the necessary preparation and come to work hard, but we play hard, too: 

In 2023, on the second night of the BEC Conference, Guardian Glass hosted its 6th annual Commercial Project Awards which celebrated the projects that BEC Conference attendees have collaborated on using Guardian SunGuard products. What used to be a small cocktail party that recognized a handful of projects has grown to an event that in March was filled to capacity with 300 friends celebrating 40 projects. And the interest and prestige continue to build: After this year’s event, many fabricators and glaziers expressed their interest in sharing 2024 project nominations.  

And that’s just one night during an event that is packed with valuable content, from insightful programs to valuable customer meetings to those quick, at-the-tabletop conversations that lead to new collaborations. 

At the BEC Conference, we heard our industry partners call for glass with more …  

  • Neutrality and better performance  

  • Bird-friendly features 

  • Jumbo sizes 

… and a lower product carbon footprint. Guardian Glass stands ready to continue those BEC conversations to lead us to the next 25 years of collaboration, innovation and growth. 


white man with glasses, smiling

Jacob Kasbrick

Jacob Kasbrick is Director, Commercial Segment & Technical Services for Guardian Glass North America