High-performing products to boost glass demand
Low-emissivity, reflective and smart glass products are expected to drive global flat glass demand to reach more than 39 million metric tons by 2010, according to a report released June 28 from Global Industry Analysts Inc. in San Jose. Worldwide demand was estimated at 31.4 million metric tons in 2006.
Increased awareness from architects and building owners, in addition to toughening energy regulations across countries worldwide, has pushed the development and use of these products, according to the report.
“Over the years, the glass industry witnessed a gradual shift away from single glazing to double, insulating glazing. Added to this, implementation of new legislation for energy-efficient glass has made double glazing mandatory in most parts of the world. These stringent regulations have led to greater energy efficient coated glass,” the report says.
Representatives from glass companies in the United States, including
Mike Werner, inside sales manager for fabricator United Plate Glass Inc. in Butler, Pa., say they have seen demand increases for high-performance products in their own facilities. UPG now offers nine low-emissivity products and seven reflective products to fulfill that demand.
“We’ve been able to show the value and better performance [of those products],” Werner says.
Christine Shaffer, marketing manager for Viracon of Owatonna, Minn., says Viracon’s focus on the development of high-performance products has grown rapidly along with end-use demand. The company works closely with architects to find products that satisfy the energy and aesthetic requirements, she says.
Geographically, the areas of largest demand growth for high-performance products in the United States are California and Texas, as well as cities in the Northeast, Shaffer says.
“Globally, China, the Middle East and India, along with Argentina, are experiencing strong growth,” Shaffer says. “Although there continues to be the use of monolithic float glass, the trend for sustainable building design in these areas of the world is on the rise.”
Emerging smart glass products don’t have the same market acceptance as low-E and reflective products. However, market share is expected to rapidly increase during the next few years for the products, such as switchable glazing, self-cleaning windows and display windshields, according to the report.
Lou Podbelski, vice president of marketing and sales for Sage Electrochromics Inc. in Faribault, Minn., has seen a growth in demand for SageGlass switchable glazing.
The increase in interest is “because of the emphasis on LEED and green. … Everyone in the architectural profession sees this as something they have to do,” Podbelski says.
For more information about the Global Industry report, click here.
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter editor, e-glass weekly