In my last blog I shared some insights from exhibitors who attended Germany’s Fensterbau show earlier in April. As most door and window manufacturers don’t have time to travel to international events, and to keep tabs on the trends going on in different countries, it is important to keep apprised of what others are doing. So, as a few more international shows ended recently I have some more firsthand observations to share. Unfortunately for me, they’re not my firsthand observations as I wasn’t able to travel to China for China Glass or the United Kingdom for Glassex. So I called Edgetech president Mike Hovan and Gerhard Reichert, vice president of business development for the company to share their observations of both events. (Be sure to read the whole blog as further down in his article I talk about where the different countries stand in terms of their respective focuses on energy, etc., which is particularly interesting.)

Glassex
Regarding Glassex, an annual event targeting the glass and window trades, Hovan and Reichert report that attendance is dwindling at this event in recent years. But the good news for exhibitors like Edgetech is they have more time to devote to attendees to tell them about their products. (The company focused on its Super Spacer network dealership program that highlights the different service options available.)

There were also some other interesting products on display.

Hovan noticed that several companies displayed a scanner device used to gain quality measurements of glass. The device can scan the glass as it’s moving down the line. “This is the first show where I’ve seen all the glass suppliers offer that,” says Hovan.

China Glass
As Glassex is geared more toward the window and conservatory trades, China Glass is very much a glass-focused show, ranking right behind glasstec in terms of its size.
“Its attendance is significant,” says Reichert. “They get more attendees on the first day then all three days of the United States’ GlassBuild show.” Attendees are a diverse group that come from all over the world including Southeast Asia, Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East and India.

“Everyone in one way or another is checking out components that come from China,” says Reichert.

He pointed out that China produces more float glass than the other countries combined. “China will start ramping up their production of value-added glass as well, such as insulating glass,” he says.

High Focus on Energy
With so much focus on energy efficiency in the United States, I talked to Reichert and Hovan about what other countries are doing in terms of energy conservation.

“Europe is years ahead of North America in terms of energy efficiency,” says Reichert. “They are very much leading the charge.”

He adds that for the United Kingdom, this is a newer focus in the last two years.

“Regulations for reducing energy per square meter of buildings will get tighter and tighter,” he says.

In fact, Reichert and Hovan point out that Europe is moving toward triple-glazed units as it is the only way to meet net zero energy requirements.

They noted that the Department of Energy is starting to focus on this as well as they are funding research into emerging technologies (The DOE’s Richard Karney has been traveling to different industry events, reported in DWM magazine, and has indeed mentioned this research).

In China, there is a lot going on in the energy front as well. For example, China has certain cities that have mandated U-factors similar to that in the United Kingdom.

“They are designing LEED rated buildings over and over,” says Reichert. “They aren’t paying to certify these projects to LEED standards but they are following these standards.”

As DWM has reported heavily on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, I am pleased to learn that other countries are taking the initiative to build to these standards.

I also found another statement of Reichert’s to be particularly interesting. “China’s Minister of Construction has said that there is no alternative. People want to move where there is electricity and want to operate vehicles … They have no way of building enough new power plants to serve this increasing demand so the only way is to conserve energy as well.”

A statement, consumers everywhere should keep in mind.

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