It Is Easy … Being Green

As I write this, the Friday night before I depart for a week of vacation with the family, it strikes me that the first five months of 2013 are days from being over. For the kids, it means summer vacation is just around the bend. For someone like me it means we’re only weeks away from one of my favorite trade shows of the year. While I might not find a lot of “I want that” stuff at the AIA Show the way my co-worker Tara Taffera found her pantry door at the Builder’s Show, I still leave overwhelmed with the sheer coolness of some of the products that make their debut each year.

This year the show is headed to Denver—one of the greenest cities in the country. And, not surprisingly, many glazing industry exhibitors will be on-hand with some of their newest sustainable products. These are products that prove the inherent “green” energy-efficient features that glass can and does provide for buildings.

But if you’ve not yet heard, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE) is once again trying to reduce the window-to-wall (WWR) ratio of buildings. The group has filed a proposed change to Addendum “am” to ASHRAE 189.1, “Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings” that would limit the WWR ratio to 30 percent in small and medium-sized buildings “for the purpose of reducing energy use.”

As Thomas Culp of Birch Point Consulting LLC, code consultant for the Glass Association of North America (GANA), stated in response to the release of the proposal: “This flawed proposal takes a shallow viewpoint, ignoring why designers put in windows in the first place, and the potential negative human impacts from reducing access to daylight and views. It is particularly concerning that this is a green standard whose scope specifically includes indoor environmental quality and occupant well-being.”

A green standard … seeking to limit the use of glazing in buildings. Thoughts on this? You can email me at or post your comments below.

And speaking of green, you won’t have to look far for such glazing products if you’re walking the aisles of the upcoming AIA Show. While there, be sure and stop by booth 3617 and say hello to the Architects’ Guide to Glass & Metal and USGlass magazines.