Sunday, March 06, 2016

Inside Bird Friendly Glazing

One of the subjects that came up at the GANA Annual Conference last week was bird friendly glazing.  I have mentioned that effort here a few times and recently I had the opportunity to talk with a few people very connected to that world- specifically the folks involved in getting an ASTM standard created for testing.  It’s been an extremely interesting learning experience for me as I knew about the products but had little idea on how the testing worked.
I was able to ask a few questions to the co-chair of this ASTM committee working on this standard, Dr. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy to get some insight on the process.

Max: How far along is the ASTM committee so far in this effort to develop the standard and what are some of the challenges?

Dr. Sheppard: We have a great committee, and a large one, with experts from diverse parts of the glass industry, as well as architects, ornithologists and conservation biologists. We posted a first draft of the protocol and got a lot of good comments. Stefan Knust, my co-chair, has just posted the protocol, summaries of the comments and other materials, in preparation for scheduling our first conference call.

The most obvious challenge for this process is that ASTM has never had a protocol that includes live animals before. So we have to figure out what needs to be explained and what doesn’t. For example, our test involves working with specialists who safely net, handle and monitor the songbirds we fly in the tunnel.

Max: Is there anything that stands out for you with the (current glass industry) efforts or is there a long way to go?  For me it just feels like more and more people are understanding the issue and respecting it- determined to help with solutions than a few years ago for sure.  So I am curious if you are seeing that from your position in this process.

Dr. Sheppard: I think I’m seeing exactly what you are (and I think ABC has had a lot to do with it) – there is an increasing awareness of the issue that is leading to change. There is still a long way to go – the glass that’s already out there is killing a billion birds a year –  but you don’t have to give up glass to save birds – you simply have to think about birds early in the design phase. Enough buildings have been constructed and remediated to show that considering birds doesn’t impede creativity, impair function or bust budgets.

Thank you Dr. Sheppard for your time as well as the all of the people on the committee including folks like Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell of GANA, Sylvain Denis of Walker Glass, and Dr. Neil McSporran of Pilkington for doing what they are doing here.


--  Some additional notes on the (Glass Magazine) excitement I mentioned last week.  I forgot to note with the physical edition of the magazine an actual full sized map came with it- showing the world of glass- that was awesome.  I always loved when Glass Magazine did the maps in the past, so to see this feature return, I was pretty pumped. 

--  Also the ad of the month from that issue… the winner is the folks at Intermac.  Loved the ad for their water jet style cutter- they had a great focused shot of the machine in action with the water splashing out- very very eye catching and sharp.  Well done folks.  And overall- a lot of excellent ads this month- the creativity is flowing for many right now!

--  Last this week- a congrats to Alissa Schmidt of Viracon- she picked up an award from the Owatonna Business Women Group as the winner of the 2016 Young Careerist.  Very cool recognition for Alissa, Viracon, and our industry as so many times younger people don’t believe there’s a great career in the glass industry but the opportunities are out there and I am thrilled that it’s being noticed!


--  My family has this rule when we get those rare times (thanks to un-ending Dance and hockey) together for a meal… so I am all for it.

--  We can have many conversations about “millennials” and the way they do things but this one- the reason they don’t eat cereal- just scares me. 

--  Sad and depressing note of the week.


I have always believed you could have Morgan Freeman narrate anything and it would be incredible.  This week Jimmy Kimmel did just that- and it is true!

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