The recent events in Boston and Watertown remind us of how vulnerable we really are and how we take safety for granted. The whole idea behind domestic terrorism is to destroy that safe feeling that we have in our own neighborhoods and cities thereby instilling fear and paranoia among our society.

Indeed, how terrifying it must have been for the residents of Watertown knowing that terrorists were running through their own neighborhood shooting innocent people and throwing bombs and homemade grenades.

Recently, I blogged about natural disasters affecting our view of safety, and now, events like this one again bring into view the possibilities for laminated glass. I really do believe that high-performance glazing options will skyrocket as the economy recovers. Security, sound reduction and switchable privacy glass will all join thermal properties when it comes to defining state-of-the-art glazing options. These concepts will propel future sales in high-end fenestration products. Windows are just so important to us and the glass package is the heart and soul of any window.

In my younger days I was once a tire design engineer and the company I was working for experienced a tire recall. Tires were suddenly blowing out while passengers were driving causing crashes, some which resulted in severe injury and death. There was one tire company that offered superior technology in terms of what was then the “state-of-the-art” radial tire design. That company was Michelin. I remember analyzing their tire construction and noting how they used unique chemistry and tire cord design that resulted in tires which were exceptional strong and safe. Michelin seized a marketing advantage by emphasizing safety in their advertisements. Where other tire companies were running ads showing how economical their tires were, Michelin ran ads featuring the high performance aspects of their tires. It was a stroke of genius to feature ads with a baby inside a Michelin tire! Remember this ad? Suddenly, the premium price of a Michelin tire was not as difficult for a tire salesperson to overcome!

Well, we can have the strongest doors in the world but unwanted entry is oftentimes through windows and windows are only as strong as the glass that comprises them! If evil wants to enter your home, it wouldn’t take long to bust through annealed or even tempered glass and get to you. The technology to help prevent this is already here – laminated glass. I predict that over the next 20 years, laminated glass will take off much the same way that low-E glass has taken off over the last 20 years.

Laminated glass in the United States is nothing new, but compared to Europe, it is still considered much more of an option in terms of architectural specification. It has been a much more popular design tool in Europe. Europe’s experience with blasts and natural disasters has led many countries to elevate the importance of safety and security of their citizens, especially in public buildings. Standards may vary by country, but generally all government and public buildings including hospitals, daycare centers, airports, post offices and train stations, must be built to withstand blast.

In the residential market, laminated glass can not only significantly enhance the burglar- and blast-resistance of a home, but it can also greatly improve sound reduction. There are specific interlayers that can be used to absorb sound waves. Also, by combining glass lites of dissimilar thickness, sound transmission is reduced by reducing the buildup of harmonic waves. I was once in an office building in Belgium designed entirely with laminated glass. The CEO opened a window for me to hear the awful noise of heavy machinery operating right next door. I had not even known the noise was there until he opened that window!

So, if you are a window fabricator looking to expand your market possibilities, you don’t have to be in a hurricane market to consider laminated glass. There is a marketing pitch that will secure you a niche!

1 Comment

  1. Laminated glass, or other safety glass, does not provide any security if the window mechanism is not secure and can be knocked out with one foot kick

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