Among exhibitors at GlassBuild America, which opened today in Las Vegas, hot topics have ranged from the obvious-the economy and lagging housing industry-to a move toward energy efficiency and “green” products.

Quaker Windows, for example, is pushing its commercial products at the show-though it does have a residential arm as well.

“Our business is going toward commercial, because that’s the way the industry is going,” says Jimmy Maasen, marketing and sales for the Freeburg, Mo.-based company. The company is hoping to meet contract glaziers at the show.

The Efficient Windows Collaborative also has added a commercial aspect to its work in promoting energy-efficient windows, with brochures now available for schools, storefronts and more.

One industry supplier, Tecniplast, is promoting its jamb extension boards during the show. Though these are designed for residential manufacturers and the company has stuck to this side of the business, company representatives report their U.S. business is down.

“I don’t think it can get worse,” says Jacques Millen, who says the company has seen an approximately 60-percent decrease in business in the United States since last year. He reports, however, that business in Canada remains strong.

While many are talking about the economy, an increased focus on energy efficiency is also prominent.

Teel Plastics, a first-time GlassBuild exhibitor, recently began manufacturing protruded fiberglass window profiles. Though 60 percent of its products still are focused on other industries, a company representative said the company moved into the door and window industry to meet a need for wood window manufacturers that offer aluminum-clad products.

“Manufacturers are looking for something with better thermal performance than aluminum,” said one company representative, noting that the revised ENERGY STAR® regulations currently under review will make the need for this even more imminent.

Electronic Design to Market Inc. has long been a manufacturer of products for proving energy efficiency, but now is finding the need for its products is growing at a rapid rate.

New at this show is the company’s WP4500, which is designed to show the energy performance (including percent of ultraviolet rays transmitted, visible light transmittance, infrared energy and solar heat gain coefficient) of a window that’s already been installed and is in use.

“It’s a much larger product, and it has a much wider opening,” says EDTM’s Mark Imbrock.

Though Imbrock calls this product an extension of what EDTM has been manufacturing in the past, he notes that lately customers are really looking for this type of product.

“All of our calls lately are, ‘what can I do to show energy efficiency?'” he says.

The GlassBuild America show continues through Wednesday, October 8.

Click on the video below to view live demonstrations from the show.

[flv:http://www.glass-digital.com/Video/Tara-day-one.flv 342 291]

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