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NGA Glass Conference Spotlights Codes and GSA Building Requirements

The National Glass Association hosted its NGA Glass Conference virtually on Feb. 9, drawing more than 300 registered attendees. Topping the agenda were sessions that look at the future implications of the latest codes and standards development, including a unique perspective from the General Services Administration, one of the largest commercial real estate lessors nationwide.

Check out 4 Code and Regulatory Takeaways from the NGA Glass Conference

Advocacy and publication updates

The event kicked off with an NGA Advocacy Committee update from Paul Bush, committee chair and vice president, technical services and government affairs for Vitro Architectural Glass. Bush offered updates on flat glass EPD requirements in California and proposals for daylighting minimums in the codes. Bush also noted the new NGA technical publications, including bird-friendly glass design strategies.

NGA’s Fabricating Committee Chair Aaron Thompson, senior research engineer at Viracon, also presented an update of new glass fabrication resources. In recent months, the NGA released a guide for glass in personal protective barriers, an introduction to vacuum insulated glazing and a guide to security glazing.  

Technical and code review

NGA’s code and advocacy team provided an in-depth review of code updates to watch. Thom Zaremba, NGA code consultant and partner at Roetzel & Andress, offered a look at fire and security glazing codes, as well as updates to the requirements for glass in handrails and guards. (Read an article from Zaremba about glass railing codes in the March issue of Glass Magazine). Meanwhile, Nick Resetar, Roetzel & Andress, NGA and GICC fire/structural and safety glass consultant, presented a closer look at bird-friendly glass requirements, new calls for daylighting and opportunities for tax breaks on energy-efficient glazing products.

NGA’s energy code consultant, Tom Culp, owner of Birch Point Consulting, offered insights on the increasing stringency of the energy codes. Culp expects the codes to continue incremental advancements. Meanwhile, he is watching for more aggressive performance requirements at the local level. Ahead on the energy efficiency and performance front, Culp noted the range of specific codes and standards to watch: California Title 24, the 2024 IECC, ASHRAE 90.1-2022, 2024 IgCC/ASHRAE 189.1-2023 green codes, Canada’s National Energy Code for Buildings and the NFRC’s new effort to develop a commercial rating system.

Glazing design for GSA building requirements

The General Services Administration owns and leases over 376.9 million square feet of space in 9,600 buildings in more than 2,200 communities nationwide. During the conference, Lance Davis, program manager for design excellence architecture/sustainability at U.S. General Services Administration, offered  an in-depth look at the glass and glazing requirements of the GSA, including applications for bird-friendly, protective glazing, security glazing, energy and daylighting.

The GSA seeks multi-functional solutions from the glass industry, says Davis. He outlined an extensive list of performance goals for glass, as the GSA seeks products designed to achieve high thermal performance and meet building enclosure commissioning targets; to provide daylighting and views without glare; to meet security requirements and stand up to blast and sometimes ballistic threats; to offer biomimicry and bird-safe solutions; and more. “The biggest GSA challenge is being able to provide all glass solutions in one product,” Davis said.

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Fun Run/Walk and volunteer celebration

The NGA Glass Conference also included two social and networking events for attendees. It kicked off with the annual Fun Run/Walk tradition, with attendees from across North America and even Europe participating in the morning event.

The conference closed with a volunteer celebration happy hour, where organizers presented awards to recognize volunteers’ virtual engagement over the past year. Michael Saroka, COO of Goldray Glass, received the Volunteer of the Year award. Longtime glass industry leader and technical expert Chris Barry received the C.G. Carney Award, intended to honor a volunteer who reflects passion for the industry and care for his or her peers’ development within the industry.

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