Subscribe to glassBYTEs!

New CARB Regulations Likely Will Require 45 Percent Direct Solar Reflectance Glazing in California; Manufacturers Respond to Proposed Changes
March 27, 2009

The California Air Resources Board likely will require 45 percent direct solar reflectance glazing for windshields in its final draft of the "Cool Cars Standards and Test Procedures," according to Stanley Young, media and public relations for Climate Change Programs. Young says the increased percentage is a result of the discussion from the workshop the group held on March 12. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

The original December draft of the regulations called for an all-around solar reflective glazing at an RDS of 45 percent. In the February 2009 draft of the regulations, this was dropped to 30 percent for the windshield and "best available solar management tempered glass" for the rest of the vehicle.

"Staff requested manufacturers to explain why better glazing standards should not be required [during the workshop]," Young says. "Based on responses received to date, staff intends to require the use of glazing meeting the best performance, 45 percent direct solar reflectance, in the final draft."

However, Young says several OEM manufacturers have advised that the regulation is too stringent and/or that it is being phased in too quickly.

"Reception of the proposed regulation has been mixed," Young says. "The glass manufacturers are generally okay with it, depending on their level of technological development. At the 30-percent [direct solar reflectance] level for the windshield, those with better performing product say we are giving up potential benefits, while those with less good performance say they can't compete and will be regulated out of the market."

The group plans to release a final draft of the regulations on May 11, at which point a 45-day public comment period will begin. On June 25, CARB will hold another hearing, during which the CARB staff will review the draft and decide whether to adopt it.

Industry Reacts

Young noted that several representatives of manufacturers attended the workshop, including representatives from Vitro, Asahi Glass, Pittsburgh Glass Works, Pilkington North America and Zeledyne. In addition, representatives from Exatec and Guardian Industries phoned into the workshop.

The proposed regulations have met mixed reaction from the industry so far. Dick Heilman, vice president of marketing and research and development for Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW), says the company is in full support of the regulations and is ready to meet either proposed number—the 30 percent RDS or 45 percent RDS.

"PGW has products that meet both levels of the regulation," Heilman says. "The 30 percent, RDS, which is a reflective measure, is readily met by our Sungate® IR reflective coated glass. At the 45 percent RDS level, we offer our Sungate EP coated product with significantly greater infrared (heat) reflectivity."

Guardian spokesperson Amy Hennes says the company has long made infrared reflective products as well—and these have been particularly popular among its European automotive manufacturer customers.

"Guardian manufactures and sells a wide variety of infrared reflective automotive glazing in Europe for Audi, BMW, Ford, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and others and has done so for more than ten years," she says. "Guardian has the appropriate technology and key assets in North America to be prepared to meet the requirements of CARB. We are in the process of tuning the European product for the North American market and CARB requirements right now."

Overall, PGW officials say they feel the regulations would be good for the environment and for the industry.

"The CARB regulations call for higher performance glazing to reduce heat load in a vehicle, thereby reducing air conditioning use and improving fuel economy that leads to reduced CO2 emissions," Heilman says. "As such, PGW believes this will be a good thing for the environment, the consumer and the glass industry. PGW will support both our OEM and replacement glass customers with products that meet or exceed the CARB regulations."

As with other CARB regulations, Heilman says he suspects it likely that the proposed regulations might expand to other states, and that this would be a benefit to the auto glass industry if it happens.

"A high-performance auto glass regulation in California will lead other states and eventually the nation to adopt similar approaches," he says. "The result will reduce gas consumption and lower costs for the consumer, provide commensurate reductions in automotive CO2 emissions and create a competitive stimulus to develop even better automotive glazing."

Hennes echoes Heilman's sentiments.

"We agree that other states will likely follow any California lead and are preparing for this eventuality," she says. "We do not have concerns that we would not have products available to comply with CARB-type requirements."

Guardian is proposing one change to the current draft, which currently requires reflective glass on the windshield and roof, but standard glass on the rest of the vehicle.

"If one improves the performance of the windshield over the baseline to a certain level (44 percent RDS), then the paint requirement can be exempted," Hennes says. " … We propose CARB give this exemption for addition of IRR glass to the side or backglass, as these technologies also exist and would offer the next best gain in performance of CO2 reduction. We favor the front side[lites] as we believe the vehicle driver responds in terms of [air conditioner] load to the heat sensation through the side glass."

One industry representative, who wished to remain unidentified, noted he thinks the measures could have a drastic, negative effect on the industry—-and is alarmed at the low awareness of the changes. (™ has been running an ongoing survey about the changes, and, at press time, 47 percent of responders were unaware of the proposed CARB regulations. CLICK HERE to participate in the survey.)

"The degree of ignorance of the CARB regulations is in itself frightening," he says. "[The regulations] will have a severe negative impact on all of the OE and replacement glass industry."

The proposed CARB regulations have come about as a result of AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020—a reduction of 25 percent. The glazing requirements are accompanied by several automotive painting requirements that CARB believes will work toward this goal.

Calling All Readers: What do you think of the proposed CARB regulations? Do you think they will affect the way you do business? Please e-

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to AGRR magazine.