Volume 46, Issue 10 - November 2011


Ausfenex2011 Looks at Worldwide Glass Trends

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.

© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.