Ausfenex2011 Looks at Worldwide Glass
Australia’s glass and fenestration industry isn’t very different
from that in the United States. Energy-efficient glazing is just as important
to the Australian building market as it is in the United States. And this
year the Australian Glass and Glazing Association and the Australian Window
Association joined together for their first Ausfenex conference. More
than 500 participants from both groups took part in the event held in
September in Queensland.
Those taking part in the conference included everyone from glass fabricators
and installers to window manufacturers and component suppliers. Some companies
also chose to take part in an event exhibition, where they featured products
and services. Conference participants had the opportunity to talk with
exhibitors during morning and afternoon tea, as well as lunch and evening
receptions. In addition, the program included a variety of presentations
that focused on everything from industry trends to the Australian economy.
The event opened with a presentation from Jorma Vitkala, chairman of the
Glass Performance Days organizing committee/Glaston Finland Oy, who spoke
on “Worldwide Glass & Window Trends.” The global glass market, he
began, was approximately 52 million tons in 2010. Much of this, Vitkala
said, is coming from China, as more than half the world’s float lines
are there. He explained that building stock in China is 43 to 46 billion
square meters. In terms of glass, the highest investment there is in coatings;
low-E and solar control demand in China will see significant increases
in the next few years.
Vitkala also talked about a number of new technologies for architectural
glass, such as media facades. “The whole façade is like one big
TV screen,” he said, explaining that these are constructed with LEDs inside
a glass unit. “Another newcomer in LED technology is using it to change
the color of glass.”
Additionally Vitkala discussed color trends, saying architects use PVB
laminated glass to create colorful façades that also are constructed
as safety glass.
As Vitkala explained, when glass is used in a façade it must be
thought of as a thermal material. “Highly effective solar control can
minimize AC use,” he said.
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