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Next-Gen Glass Can Save Billions in Energy Costs

High-performance glazing on the agenda at Glass & Glazing Advocacy Days

Editor's Note: This article is part of the upcoming All About Glass + Metals Guide to Next-Level Performance. Read it in full in the March issue of Glass Magazine. 

The glass industry plays an essential role in addressing the climate crisis. Buildings account for an estimated 40 percent of the problem of global carbon emissions, with building operations alone producing 27 percent of total emissions, according to Architecture 2030.

Glass can be a critical component in addressing operational carbon emissions by reducing energy use in existing and new buildings, says Stephen Selkowitz, principal of Stephen Selkowitz Consultants and affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

A recent study from Glass for Europe emphasized the difference high-performance glazing can make:

  • Replacing all existing windows with “readily available high-performance glazing” by 2030 would cut annual energy use by 29 percent and annual carbon emissions by 28 percent.
  • Replacing all existing windows with “improved high-performance glazing” by 2050 would cut annual energy use and carbon emissions both by 37 percent.

Selkowitz estimates similarly dramatic savings for the United States if all existing commercial windows were “magically” retrofitted with next-generation glass technologies, such as highly insulating dynamic glass. “If we convert all windows, we move from a net drain of $20 billion [in energy costs] to a net gain of up to $15 billion [in energy savings],” he explains.

The National Glass Association is advocating for the use of high-performance glass and glazing materials to combat climate change and contribute to energy savings, educating legislators on high-performance glazing in order to best allocate funds from the Inflation Reduction Act. During its upcoming Glass & Glazing Advocacy Days event, March 27-28, in Washington, D.C., NGA, its member companies, stakeholders and congressional members will meet to discuss high-performance glazing and its many benefits, including energy savings, health and wellness, and sustainability. 

This is the industry's opportunity to gain the attention of agency officials and congressional members to showcase your business and the value of the U.S. architectural glass industry.

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