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Insulating Glass Standards
By: A. William Lingnell, P.E.

Insulating glass standards have been developed over the years to assist insulating glass manufacturers, testing laboratories, and certifying agencies in providing quality products and developing insulating glass units (IGU) that will have long term performance for the end user. The standards used in North America have been updated recently in the ASTM E 06 committee to accommodate some changes and additions to the newer standards ASTM E 2188, 2189 and 2190 which have been commonly referred to as the HIGS standards (standing for Harmonization of Insulating Glass Standards). These three standards were a culmination of over 6 years of work to harmonize the former ASTM E 773, E 774 and E 1887 standards with the Canadian CGSB 12.8 standard. The three newer ASTM standards came into being in 2002. The previous E 773, E 774 and E 1887standards have been discontinued as ASTM standards.

Currently the laboratories testing insulating glass in the United States and Canada have the capabilities to test to the criteria referenced in the newer standards. The three ASTM standards are:

  • ASTM E 2188-10 “Standard Test Method for Insulating Glass Unit Performance”
  • ASTM E 2189-10 “Standard Test Method for Testing Resistance to Fogging in Insulating Glass Units”
  • ASTM E 2190-10 “Standard Specification for Insulating Glass Unit Performance and Evaluation”

The standard specification E 2190 has recently added the testing protocol for argon-gas filled units with the argon concentration measured by either ASTM Test Method E 2649 “Test Method for Determining Argon Concentration in Sealed Insulating Units Using Spark Emission Spectroscopy” or ASTM Test Method E 2269 “Test Method for Determining Argon Concentration in Sealed Insulating Glass Units Using Gas Chromatography.”

The E 2190 also outlines the qualifications for testing triple glazed units which has been added to the standard to accommodate the advancing use of triple glazing of IGU.

The Canadian standard CAN/CGSB -12.8-97 “Insulating Glass Units” is used in Canada for units that still require testing to this standard. It is basically used only in Canada and was last revised in 1997 to address argon gas filling of IGU.

The ASTM standards are being updated and reviewed continuously at the semi-annual meetings of the ASTM E 06 “Performance of Buildings” that take place each April and October. The CGSB has not been active since 1997 relating to the Insulating Glass Standard.

The following chart is a brief comparison of the previously used standards to the presently used standards with regard to the high humidity tests, accelerated weathering tests, volatile fog testing, specimen requirements, and evaluation criterion.

 

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