CARB Attempts to Clarify Misconceptions about Auto Glass Regulations and Reflective Glass That Could Be Required
October 30, 2009

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is attempting to clarify misconceptions about its new auto glass regulations and, as part of the new report, notes that for the first tier of the regulations, reflective glass likely will need to be used. The regulations, which have not yet been finalized, aim to reduce the load on a vehicle's air conditioner by lessening the effects of the sun entering the glass (or other through other methods yet to be determined). (CLICK HERE for related story.)

"The remaining windows will be subject to less stringent requirements, which will allow the use of non-reflecting glass," writes CARB in a recently released Q&A on the regulations.

In 2016, the regulations will become more stringent-and at this CARB point notes it is unclear whether reflective glass will need to be used throughout the vehicle.

"A performance standard will be in place, whereby a manufacturer may choose a variety of technologies (including the type of glass), so long as a performance standard is met," writes CARB. "[CARB] envisions that the use of reflecting glass for the windshield will continue to be used [sic], but it is uncertain whether reflective glass will need to be used all-around."

Though many from the electronics industry have expressed concerns that this will interfere with cell phones and other electronics, CARB says this is not the case. The group conducted a test on three cars in Southern California—one with all-around reflective glass, one with reflective glass only in the windshield, and one with no reflective glass, according to the latest report.

"The study showed that cell phone performance was equivalent, regardless of how much reflective glass was used," writes CARB.

CARB notes that they also conducted testing on GPS ankle bracelets, and found no interference, and that electronic toll tags also should remain unaffected, as long as they're placed appropriately in the windshield's deletion window.

Despite some concern from consumers over what this might do to vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler, which has flexible glazing, the group points out that the Cool Cars regulation only applies to rigid windows—though plastic windows in general are not exempt.

"If the plastic windows are rigid, they must comply with the same standards as glass windows, beginning with the 2012 model year," writes CARB.

And what about used cars? The regulations only apply to new cars sold in the state, beginning with the 2012 model year. However, the regulations still apply to replacement glass-for any vehicle with the model year 2012 or after.

Dr. Marijke Bekken, the CARB representative overseeing the process, explained recently to™/AGRR magazine that this part of the regulation has to do with the way the vehicle is constructed.

"If you replace your [solar management] windshield with one that doesn't have solar management, your air conditioner is sized for that solar management glazing, and [without it] you might end up running it more than you would have before," she explained. This would defeat the ultimate goal of the regulations, which is to comply with AB 32—a California initiative designed to decrease the state's greenhouse gas initiatives.

The regulation could also lead to more laminated sidelites in the future, CARB notes, as, if reflective glass is used to comply with the 2016 regulations, "tempered side[lites] and the [backlite] may need to become laminated in order to comply with the regulation," adds CARB.

However, CARB advises that if manufacturers choose to utilize an alternative technology to meet the same performance requirement, this could be moot.

Some in the repair industry have expressed concerns that the use of reflective glass in the windshield (as CARB says likely will be needed), particularly if the coating required to create this is applied to Surface 2 of the glass, could create difficulty for them.

"When resin hits [this], its reaction [is] to turn pure white," says Dave Casey of SuperGlass Windshield Repair in Orlando, Fla. "Even moisture tends to cause it to discolor."

His concern is that this could lead to more of a need for replacements—and would have a greater impact on the environment than the greenhouse gas emissions CARB is hoping to save.

"If they save emissions on cars but create extra windshield replacements … is it even a benefit?" he asks.

Be sure to check out the November-December issue of AGRR magazine for an in-depth look at this issue.

CLICK HERE to view a recently published Frequently Asked Questions sheet from CARB.

CLICK HERE to view a new video about what the CARB regulations entail.

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