Volume 47, Issue 1 - January 2012


New Energy Codes in Brazil Could Mean New Market for Glass Makers

The use of high-performance, energy-efficient glass and dynamic solar control is likely to see an uptick in Brazil, as the country gets ready to create and establish its building envelope energy-rating system in the eve of hosting the upcoming Olympics and the World Cup. The Brazil-USA Building Envelope Energy Efficiency Technology Cooperation Workshop, organized by the Brazil-U.S. Building Council, in Sao Paolo in November brought together representatives from the U.S. and Brazilian governments, as well as the private sector, to discuss plans for developing an energy-rating system to help consumers identify energy-saving building envelope products, such as windows.

The workshop was a key element of “an effort to promote U.S. products in Brazil, an economy with over 190 million people with GDP growing at 5 to 7 percent per year,” according to a trip report by Marc LaFrance, technology development manager of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He points out that the growth in Brazil may be beneficial to the U.S. buildings domestic program. “One perspective could be if greater emerging markets are formed for high-performance products, would that result in a compression of the learning curve to have low cost products on the U.S. market faster than if they are only developed for the U.S. market?” he says.

Building codes in a growing number of countries recognize the energy efficiency benefits of coated and other advanced glass products, says Robert Joyce, director of global governmental affairs for Guardian Industries in Auburn Hills, Mich. “Such recognition not only promotes energy conservation, it creates incentives for companies to invest in new manufacturing plants and technologies. But governments must demonstrate a strong political will to implement and enforce building codes for these benefits to be fully realized.”

Guardian sponsored the workshop in Brazil.

“The Brazilian high-performance glazing market is small, but there are several U.S. companies active in Brazil trying to promote high-performance glass,” LaFrance says. “The workshop highlighted opportunities for the U.S. and Brazil to accelerate the market for high-performance glass through cooperation on the development and implementation of a glazing rating and certification program. In the near term, such a program would support voluntary whole building labeling programs that are already in place.”

Other than officials from the DOE, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) in Greenbelt, Md., and Guardian, officials from the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and Associaçã Brasileira de NormasTécnicas (ABNT), Sao Paulo Municipal Government/City Hall, were among agencies and organizations that participated in the workshop. Approximately 100 invited guests attended the event.

“The energy efficiency workshop in SaoPaulo was a real hands-on, working session with all the necessary players in the room,” says Earnest Thompson, director of corporate marketing and brand management for Guardian. “But key to the day was the ownership and leadership shown by the Brazilian officials. Government pointed to the ABNT [Brazilian technical standards administration] and the glass association for getting industry and the public sector together. That’s how big things begin to happen—and this can be a big deal in a country building projects for the Olympics and World Cup.”
—Sahely Mukerji

Float Glass Production Continues to Expand in South America
Companhia Brasileira de Vidros Planos (CBVP) expects to be the first float glass plant in Northeastern Brazil, a region with growth rates above the national average. A $304 million USD ($550 million BRL) investment will be made in the undertaking.

The plant, with start-up scheduled for the second half of 2013, will cover an area of 861,000 square feet and an annual installed capacity of 260 thousand tons, the equivalent of 322 million square feet of float glass per year. CBVP estimates that its operation will generate about 370 new direct jobs and more than 1,500 indirect ones.

The plant will produce glass for the architectural industry, including 2- to 15-mm thick clear and colored float glass.

In addition, officials at NSG Group in Japan and Saint Gobain in France announced in October 2011 plans to build a new float glass line in Argentina. The plant, to be constructed at Exaltación de la Cruz in the state of Buenos Aires, will be the second float line operated by Vidriería Argentina S.A (VASA), the NSG Group/Saint Gobain Glass joint venture in Argentina.

With a planned daily output of 800 tons, the plant will supply Argentina’s construction and automotive glazing markets. It also will allow VASA to support market growth and to enhance its service in Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. The new line is due to come on stream in the first quarter of 2014.

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