Glass Canada

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Editorial: June 2009

The family is growing


June 16, 2009
By Chris Skalkos

Topics

The family is growing. No, not my family at home, I’m talking about the
family of columnists and regular correspondents who contribute to this
magazine.

The family is growing. No, not my family at home, I’m talking about the family of columnists and regular correspondents who contribute to this magazine.
 
This issue of Glass Canada welcomes a new columnist, Brian Burton, who will be combining his technical expertise and writing prowess in a regular column called Fenestration Forum. This subject is at the forefront of a technological explosion fuelled by the green wave of sustainable building design and I couldn’t have asked for a more qualified expert in the industry to take an in-depth look at the complexities of this industry and the opportunities it brings.

Burton joins the ranks of Frank Fulton and John Roper, who are also regular columnists. They each cover their own beats in their own ways. While Burton delivers his topic from a straightforward technical perspective, Fulton takes a comical quip about old-timers and old legends while Roper takes a stab at the window industry, as well as a few politicians, in Europe, making bold predictions about which trends will cross the Atlantic.

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The writing styles of Burton, Fulton and Roper vary, offering a dynamic mix of editorial and their combined years of experience in their industries is impressive. What’s more impressive is they want to share their knowledge with the readers of this magazine.

Take the time to send them your feedback or suggest a topic for a column. They would like to hear from you.

A sunny spot for the glass industry
Despite the current plant closings and recession woes there are some new and genuine advancements taking place in the glass industry. Although the topic of solar glass has been raging in Europe, with Glasstec featuring this new technology at the last show in Germany, it has been gaining ground as the technology improves, aesthetic options widen and manufacturers introduce economically viable systems to the market.

The role of glass is changing from a building material that controls the sun’s rays to an integrated element that harnesses solar radiation to channel it back to the building.
Glass machinery manufacturers have developed machines and plants that will make it possible to produce large format thin layer solar modules.
Thin film technology is also particularly interesting for glass machinery manufacturers because glass is used as the base material and to cover the solar cells. The production methods are very similar to those used when producing insulating glass, presenting a bright opportunity for the machinery sector.

As for the float glass manufacturers, they have already introduced new glass products tailored to the needs of the solar industry such as low-iron, textured or specially coated glass.

If this trend continues the increasing use of solar thin layer modules as façade and roofing elements will change the kind of work demanded from manufacturers of building components, and architectural firms and contract glaziers will have to adapt their techniques used in conventional façade cladding.

Whether or not this trend will take root in a country like Canada, where daylight comes at a premium, remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, the sun is shining on the glass industry and that’s a good thing.


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