Looking at the year ahead, industry executives say the promotion and sale of energy efficient glass and metal products will remain critical to growth, both on the company and industry level. Nearly 60 percent of respondents to this year's Top Glass Fabricators survey say energy efficient products offer the most sales potential in the coming year, and glass and metal manufacturers see opportunity in the product segment as well.
"I’m bullish in 2013 on energy solutions,” says Scott Thomsen, president, Flat Glass Group, Guardian Industries. "Four years ago, [approximately] 1.65 billion square feet of commercial space was completed. Since then, that number has dropped down to [about] 650 million square feet. So, today you have more people fighting over a smaller pie, and the best way to increase your margins is to increase the value proposition of the products you sell.
"We were also very close to ASHRAE lowering the window-to-wall ratio," Thomsen points out. "I think for the first time there is full recognition at all levels of the value chain that we need to either improve the energy efficiency of the glazing or face less glazing,” he says.
Kelly Schuller, president, Viracon, says one of the biggest challenges facing the industry going forward involves educating customers about “value-added fabricated glass features that allow for high window-to-wall ratios.”
Developing energy efficient solutions and communicating their benefits to customers will be paramount in 2013, agrees Mike Turner, vice president of marketing for YKK AP America. “It is each company's responsibility to convey a clear value proposition and premium service to create demand,” he says.
The question is not whether or not the need for energy efficient products exists, or whether our industry is capable of providing them. The real challenge lies in our ability to effectively show the building community the value proposition they offer. Agreed?
Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine, e-glass weekly and GlassMagazine.com. Write her at email@example.com.