Vacuum Glazing, Energy Star on IGMA Agenda

By Katy Devlin, Glass Magazine
February 6, 2012
Meetings & Events

The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance discussed future association activities in vacuum glazing at its annual general meeting held last week in Tempe, Ariz.. The group also heard an update on Environmental Protection Agency plans to issue new, more stringent Energy Star criteria.

"[Vacuum glazing] is headed our way, and is already here in some instances," said David Cooper, advanced IG program leader, Guardian Industries, and head of the IGMA vacuum glazing task group. "There are a lot of questions that need to be answered in terms of VIG, and this is the group to do it."

The group decided to have the task group begin work on a VIG white paper that would act as an educational resource for the industry to "develop a knowledge of what [VIG] is and how it works," Cooper noted. "It will be an educational industry piece so people get an understanding of VIG and what factors are important to consider when dealing with VIG."

 Proposed Energy Star criteria presented at recent IGMA meeting

Energy Star Changes
Emily Zachery of D&R International, the firm which manages the Energy Star windows program for EPA, started her update on the upcoming criteria changes by noting that Energy Star's market share in the window and door industry is currently high, compared to other Energy Star product categories. For windows, Energy Star has an 81 percent market share, doors come in at 71 percent and skylights at 99 percent.  The overall goal is for Energy Star products to represent about 25 percent of the market, she continued. "Once the market share is above that, it's a trigger for doing another revision. The hope is to bring the market share down," she said. "However, the EPA is not looking to bring market share all the way down from 81 percent to 25 percent."

She reviewed the performance range EPA is considering (see charts),noting that windows in the Northern climate zone will see U-factor requirements drop to between 0.25 and 0.27. However, "a 0.27 U-factor in the Northern zone is more likely," Zachery said.

New elements of the windows, doors and skylights program include air leakage requirements and installation instructions. "The EPA is looking to set air leakage requirements that just meet code. We're working with the [National Fenestration Rating Council] and the industry to figure out the best way to label for this, and we're looking for industry input," Zachery noted. Additionally, the installation instruction requirements will be "something minimal," she suggested. "The EPA is not trying to standardize installations. We just want a minimal foothold to make sure there is increased consumer awareness about the importance of installation." The EPA will set a few key requirements, such as general language to use in the instructions and where they should be available.

Zachery also told the IGMA audience that the tentative implementation date will likely be pushed back from the previously announced fall 2013 to January 2014.  The next step for the EPA and D&R is to review stakeholder comments on its proposed changes. The EPA will then prepare and publish a comment response matrix and then begin work on the first draft criteria and analysis report. She concluded by noting that EPA and D&R strongly encourage participation and input from the industry.

Also at last week's meeting, IGMA officials announced the launch of a new association website, including a comprehensive members-only microsite. Some features of the new site include online meeting registration, presentation videos, photo galleries and meeting minutes. The members-only site will allow online balloting and also offers a document management system where members can access task group and committee minutes and current versions of all working documents.

IGMA next gathers for its summer technical conference, scheduled to run June 4-7 at the Ottawa Marriott in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.