It is possible that as many as a billion birds are killed every year after colliding with glass on buildings, including many single-family homes — and this is in the United States alone. Fatal collisions of birds with buildings are a problem that has become more apparent as designers are increasingly incorporating aspects of the natural environment into the built one.
Now, ASTM Committee C14 on Glass has proposed a standard — WK47853, Test Method for Bird Collision Deterrence Material Threat Factor — that will be used to test various materials for their potential to be detected by birds. The proposed standard is being developed by Subcommittee C14.08 on Flat Glass.
WK47853 will allow manufacturers to provide a quantified material characteristic for consideration by designers and consumers. The material threat factor rating will measure how likely it is that the material being tested will be detected by approaching birds.
“The American Bird Conservancy has begun a program to test such products for a material threat factor rating via a tunnel test method,” says ASTM member Stefan Knust, director of sustainability, Ennead Architects. “These performance ratings are necessary to demonstrate compliance with LEED Pilot Credit 55, ‘Bird Collision Deterrence.’” Knust notes that because ABC is not recognized as an international testing laboratory, and because of the sheer demand for testing, it is necessary for the standard to be established through ASTM. Knust is co-chairing the WK47853 task group with Christine Sheppard, Ph.D., American Bird Conservancy.
The U.S. Green Building Council has established LEED Pilot Credit 55: Bird Collision Deterrence to enable bird-friendly design, measured by an index calculated as a weighted average of the building envelope, using material threat factor values of facade component materials as established by the American Bird Conservancy. Requirements to use bird-friendly glazing materials have been enacted in Minnesota; Illinois; San Francisco, California; and Ontario, Canada. WK47853 will provide architects, specifiers, building owners and developers, consumers, manufacturers, regulatory bodies and others with a test to determine how well a material meets LEED requirements.
The subcommittee invites participants with diverse backgrounds and interests related to bird-friendly construction to help develop WK47853. The subcommittee is particularly interested in participation from those with expertise in avian vision and glass manufacture, as well as designers and collision experts.