CARB to Release New Draft of Auto Glass Regulations in October; Latest Suggestions Offered at Recent Workshop
October 1, 2009

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is scheduled to release a new draft of its new auto glass regulations in October. The group recently held a workshop to go over some proposed changes to the previous draft of the regulations, and to hear feedback from various industry sectors, according to Dr. Marijke Bekken, the CARB representative overseeing the process.

Among the proposed changes to the regulations is one that allows an “alternate performance option” for 2016 and subsequent model year vehicles. This would provide auto manufacturers with the option of utilizing “an alternate vehicle systems-based performance approach that results in equivalent solar control” as would be provided by the solar glazing option. The regulations, in their current form, call for windshields, sidelites and backlites for 2016 and later model year vehicles to have a total solar transmission of less than or equal to 40 percent.

The proposed change also would mandate that the alternatives be “approved in advance by the Executive Officer.”

Another proposed would add the wording that they will apply to “secondary manufacturers” as well as automotive manufacturers. Secondary manufacturers would include recreational vehicle manufacturers, Bekken said.

“Secondary manufacturers are people who take vehicles … and make them into something different,” she told™/AGRR magazine.

Bekken said this change came from requests from this particular industry sector.

“They wanted clarification from us,” she said. “We still consider that to be a new vehicle.”

Potential labeling requirements for solar glazing that meets the regulations also are being proposed. The recent proposal calls for the glass to be marked “in a font of a size and nature similar to that for the DOT code, model number and ANSI code.” For example, the glass might be marked C58 “for a glazing certified to have a Tts no more than 58 percent.”

Manufacturers also would need to apply a vinyl label to the glass after it is made that reads, “This glass is designed to reduce interior temperatures compared to standard glass and meets all ARB regulation.” The label would need to be placed such that it is fully visible when installed, and, for sidelites, “it shall be visible in the fully closed position,” according to the draft of the 15-day propsed changes.

“The original draft of the regulations showed labeling as ‘reserved,’” Bekken said. “In general, the [industry] response was that there’s a lot of stuff already on the glass, so we tried to keep [the labeling requirement] small.”

Though these proposed changes will be officially released in the form of a “15-Day Regulation Language” in October, Bekken said she released this draft at the recent workshop to begin getting some feedback early

“The topics were approved by the Board,” she said. “I wanted to get some feedback from people, because when I release the 15-day changes, the industry has 15 days to comment on them. If the changes are substantial, I might have to do another set of 15-day changes, and I don’t want to have to do that.”

Though the regulations call for reduced solar transmission levels for glass in vehicles manufactured and sold in California for vehicles with the model year 2012 or later (and increase the regulations further in 2016), Bekken noted that that the requirement is a performance requirement.

“We don’t specify the compliance method,” she said.

Likewise, Bekken confirmed that the regulations will reply to replacement glass as well—but only for vehicles made in the specified late-model years.

“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.

Though this will increase the costs of the glass, Bekken noted that CARB did much analysis on this topic and determined it to be a very small increase; she also advised that CARB consulted with insurers early on regarding how they might be impacted.

“We spoke to a number of insurance companies during the rule development process and … we found the difference in cost isn’t expected to have any effect on the premiums people pay, because the amount of their cost is extremely small,” she said. “Maybe you pay an extra $25 for the windshield—that’s not a whole lot of difference.”

Once the official proposed changes and final drafts are released in October, the industry will have 15 days to make comments. These changes and the draft are expected to be available at the end of October, Bekken said.

CLICK HERE for a full draft of the regulations, released earlier this year.

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