San Francisco to Require Annual Energy Benchmark Summaries
The city of San Francisco recently adopted a new Existing Commercial Buildings
Energy Performance Ordinance that will require commercial buildings to
submit annual energy benchmark summaries. The ordinance, adopted in 2011,
is being phased in over a three-year period for existing nonresidential
buildings 10,000 square feet and larger.
Each whole nonresidential building larger than 10,000 square feet must
be benchmarked using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM). An annual
energy benchmark summary includes: contact information and gross square
footage; energy use intensity (how much energy the building used per square
foot for the year); 1-100 performance rating provided by the ESPM, where
applicable; greenhouse gas emissions from energy usage and; assessor’s
parcel number (APN or block/lot).
“This is going to help owners of existing facilities in San Francisco
become more educated about their own costs for energy and opportunities
to reduce expenditures associated with it,” says Stewart P. Jeske, president
of JEI Structural Glazing Systems Engineering of Kansas City. “This will
drive retrofit and renovation efforts to reduce those costs and by that
help the glass and glazing industry in the San Francisco region. As owners
become educated about options to reduce those energy costs, there will
be a natural investment toward upgrading to energy-efficient glazing systems.”
“We’re hoping that the new ordinance motivates building owners to take
advantage of the advances in fire-rated glass that we and other manufacturers
have made,” says Jeff Griffiths, director of business development at Safti
First in San Francisco. “California, especially San Francisco in particular,
has always been a leader when it comes to environmental stewardship and
the preservation of natural resources. Unfortunately, many design and
building professionals believe that the Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) certification label doesn’t necessarily assure long-term
energy efficiency for newly constructed buildings, and may be too costly
for renovation projects. Periodic audits of a building’s energy performance
based on actual daily use seem to be a far more practical means of guiding
and monitoring energy efficiency.”
NFRC Considers Procedure to Measure Translucent Panel VT
The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Translucent Panel Visible
Transmittance Task Group has developed a procedure to measure visible
transmission of overhead or vertical fenestration products.
“The problem is that these translucent panels are sometimes homogenous
and sometimes not,” says Ross McCluney, research physicist at SunPine
Consulting in Chattanooga, Tenn., and a member of the group. “We resurrected
an old ASTM standard that allows you to put a light meter in a shallow
box, 3 feet square, and you lay the light meter in the box. It collects
light from the panels from all directions. It calls for translating samples
between measurements. You average those and divide the average by the
incident light level. It’s the ratio of those two levels that gives the
The procedure now will go through the NFRC’s board of directors to be
approved, according to McCluney.
AAMA Pursues LCA in Conjunction with GANA, WDMA and IGMA
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) has been a popular topic at recent industry
meetings, including the recent American Architectural Manufacturers Association
(AAMA) annual conference in Naples, Fla., in February.
AAMA is one of four associations that have come together to study this
issue as it relates to the glass industry. It is working with members
of the Glass Association of North America, the Window and Door Manufacturers
Association, and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. Rita Schenck,
executive director at the Institute for Environmental Research and Education,
is assisting the group with its efforts as she has worked with other organizations
on LCA, according to a presentation by Rich Walker, president and CEO
Walker told attendees that the group is looking at everything from transportation,
energy use and packaging, to waste management and resource extraction.
The latter topic evoked some questions from attendees as where to get
this data. “Some of this is already standardized and there are databases
to draw on,” said Ray Garries of Jeld-Wen in Klamath Falls, Ore., who
is a member of the LCA group.
The group is using COMFEN, a tool from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
as its energy model and is basing the research on a building that is 10
feet wide, 9 feet high and 20 feet deep.
“We put this out there, but this could change,” said Walker.
Regarding durability, the group decided on a 30-year shelf life but currently
is looking into this more, including a review of existing data.
“Curtainwall is another area we have to wrestle with more,” said Walker,
who added that for now the document does not include doors.
The associations hope to have a working document complete this summer.
Future tasks of the group include performing an LCA study, developing
a consumer-facing label for big-box stores, and planning a meeting with
retailers with an example or a consumer label to gain feedback.
IGMA Group to Look at Vacuum Insulating Glazing
The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance’s (IGMA) Emerging Technology
and Innovation Committee of IGMA recently formed a task group to look
at vacuum insulating glazing (VIG). The group met for the first time at
the association’s annual general meeting, January 31-February 4, in Tempe,
As a first step, the group will develop a VIG white paper that describes
the technology and defines some of the acronyms and words associated with
the technology, according to Dave Cooper, advanced insulating glass (IG)
program leader at Guardian Industries of Auburn Hills, Mich., and president
The group expects the paper to be done in the next year. Following that
the task group will start looking at creating a test standard for VIG.
“There is a VIG standard from China that doesn’t include testing,” Cooper
says. “So, it’s more like a specification, not a standard. [Next] windload
tables will have to be developed for VIG. Nothing exists. Information
also will have to be acquired based on impact studies on how VIG would
perform in hurricanes and other natural disasters. We don’t have any studies
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