It’s been a busy few weeks. Fresh from attending the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Annual Conference in Orlando, I headed to Naples, Florida, for a meeting of the Insulating Glass Certification Council (IGCC). And those two events had something in common.
Glass, in all its forms, has become quite the versatile tool for architects to use in bold new designs throughout recent years. Whether it’s massive curtainwalls, structural glass, oversized panels, or other features, architects have taken to the material to create boundary-breaking new structures.
These trends were apparent at the AIA conference, and insulating glass (IG) plays a significant role in the equation. Take, for instance, glass building facades—high performance is an absolute necessity, and glass suppliers and fabricators have risen to the challenge with new innovations and technology. At AIA, I took note that warm-edge spacer technology for IG units and advanced framing design and materials grabbed the attention of architects for the workability and performance benefits they can bring to many of the most forward-thinking projects.
Meanwhile, the meeting of IGCC was concerned with something related: Beyond just thermal performance, how can the IG community help ensure the long-term durability and performance of insulating glass? What can we do to certify high-quality products in a meaningful way that benefits both the end consumer and our industry?
The standards for long-term durability have proven to be an enduring topic in commercial fenestration, and not without reason. Perhaps more than anything, building and property owners taking on new architectural projects want some form of assurance that their new asset will last. The last thing an owner wants to see are performance issues occurring so soon after installation.
As such, we’ve seen increasing discussion on long-term performance for building material including glazing. This is especially true for larger commercial buildings which are expected to have extended useful lifespan and replacement costs can be significant. Simultaneously, cost-effectiveness remains an ever-present concern for all stakeholders. These needs were echoed at the AIA conference, and for IG suppliers, it means providing robust, durable and high-performing solutions, all within a reasonable budget.
These are some of the challenges that the IGCC wrestles with, and are part of the reason why our organization plays an important role in the advancement of our industry. Certifications programs were developed to provide a mark of quality on which IG suppliers can base claims and that builders can trust. So, we must consider these market demands when formalizing the performance standards necessary for certification, ensuring both stringency and attainability.
Moving Forward with Confidence
It’s been promising to see that industry engagement and involvement around durability and performance standards are on the rise. This past IGCC meeting in Naples drew the largest attendance in my recent memory.
It speaks to the level of interest and desire of IG professionals to stay in front of the needs of the glass industry as they relate to certification programs that offer proof of performance. It shows that we are willing, able and driven to meet the demands of new trends hitting the market.
Joe Erb is a commercial sales specialist at Quanex Building Products.