January 22, 2007

Glass Does Have a Future!

By Paul Bieber

Last week, General Electric announced an 8.5 billion dollar purchase of divisions of Abbot Pharmaceuticals, as GE is growing its medical and diagnostic divisions. They also announced they saw limited growth in their plastics divisions.

What a relief. I have always admired GE as a company, ( I do own a few shares) and my recurring nightmare for the last twenty years is GE would reinvent Lexan sheets so they would be glass replacements, not merely great in just some areas, as is now.

Unbreakable, solar control, and handleable, that would be a combination. With this announcement, we can be comfortable that GE doesn’t have a breakthrough in the pipeline that will eliminate glass. I bet they are still trying, and if anyone can do it, GE will. But it doesn’t look like it will be announced in the near future.

So that leaves us with our current roster of glass types which seems to grow with a new tint or spectrally selective product being added regularly. These new glasses are always specified to be used over a low-e inboard lite.

Where we are building new storefronts and showing a client what tints and reflectives we have in stock is the time to promote the low-e as the inboard lite. Whether it is lami, heat-strengthend, tempered or annealed, every IG unit you can build, should be recommended with low-e.

So, don’t be afraid of polycarbonate taking over our industry. Glass will be the choice for a generation coming. It is our responisibility to make that glass as effecient as possible so some committee doesn’t mandate less glass. If we all used low-e, fenestration everywhere will be more efficient.