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
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.
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 numberthe
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 welland 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
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
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
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
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. (glassBYTEs.com
has been running an ongoing survey about the changes, and, at press time,
47 percent of responders were unaware of the proposed CARB regulations.
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 2020a 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-mail
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