Volume 43, Issue 7 - July 2008

From the Fabricator

The Great Glass Color Debate
Which Option Sits Atop the Substrate Rainbow?

By Max Perilstein

The race is on and I believe everyone will be watching to see if color makes a difference. I think it will, as people are pretty focused on color and in this race, that’s all that matters. So for the first time in “From the Fabricator” history, I present to you the great glass color debate! (Now did you think I was talking about something else? Seriously?)

Meet the Contestants
What I decided to do is break down the five main colors that are available in our industry today and see when all the research is done and all the conversation is over, which color is the most popular. Your contestants are:

Green: The favorite since everyone wants to be “green” and it has the most usage in the low-E world as well.

Blue: A solid looker, with light and dark options. Do not count this one out.

Gray: An old school favorite, and loved in those southern areas where the sun is known as “that evil orange thing in the sky.” Bronze: Just like the bronze medal in the Olympics, no one in their right mind actually chooses this color.

Blue/Gray: A new category, as we have some products fresh to our industry that can’t be classified either in the blues or grays.

To decide the ultimate winner, I used my own unique set of metrics that included things such as how many people make it, how it works with low-E’s, how it looks with a reflective coating and popularity. Hey it’s my contest, so I can make the rules … 

On Your Mark, Get Set
How many people make it:
Green is produced by pretty much the major primary producers. Blue is not in the staple of at least two. Bronze and Gray are outside looking in at least one of the manufacturers and the Blue/Gray is a new product by only a couple of manufacturers. How it works with low-E: The Blue/Gray hybrid was built for working with low-E, so it gets major points here. Green again offers the most options. Blue, Gray and Bronze all finish about the same here.

How it looks with a reflective coating: 
Bronze and Gray were the only things that were available for years. Then came the emergence of the original “Ford” Blue. Now all of these colors have many different variables of reflectives. 

Depends again on where you are, but in the last few months I’ve been pretty much everywhere. In Toronto, it seemed like every building had Green on it. In Miami, Blue’s and Gray’s were the play. As for ordering, I still see Green as the most popular, with Gray close behind. Blue would be third and Bronze fourth. But in the long run the hybrid color will probably move from the basement to pass Bronze.

And the Winner Is …
In fifth place would be Bronze. Quite simply, this color is dying. It has no other plain substrate option and its performance is weak. In fourth would be Gray … No matter how you spell it, it’s a niche product and it’s also dark in a world where visible light is so crucial. Third place is the up-and-comer Blue/Gray. In due time this substrate will be hugely popular because the architectural community loves new products and this one has answered a lot of their requests. The runner up would be Blue. It provides different options of light and dark, matches a lot of different framing options and it’s seemingly always in style.

Winner: Green. No other color offers the options that the Green family does. Everyone makes it, so availability is great and it also works with many frame colors. Not to mention, in our environmentally obsessed world, green is a buzzword.

At the end of the day, this was just a fun look at the colors we use. If you are not aware of all of the options out there, you need to get with your supplier and get some samples. It all comes back to the fact that the glass industry has done a tremendous job developing the product lines and whether you’re a fan of Green or Bronze, you have the options to make your customer happy. n

Max Perilstein serves as the vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum and Glass. Mr. Perilstein’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine. His column appears bi-monthly.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.